Interview with Cap's Great-Neice,
Mary Dawley Fugate

September 2000

By Sophie Anne Stott
© 2000, 2001 Sophie Anne Stott

This interview may not be reproduced or placed on another website.
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Thank you to Mary Dawley Fugate for doing this interview.

Question #1: What, personally, do you think about Cap? Do you feel he did actually go and get the wheat, or do you think Laura made it up?

Answer: I think he was an adventurous, fun-loving young man who probably would have taken that trip to get the wheat. But I don't think that getting it was a town-saving feat. Perhaps it seemed like that to a young girl who heard the adults in town talking about it. The reason I think that is that in our family there was never a story about Cap's having done anything "heroic", and I think if it had been as important an event as Laura describes it, there would have been some family memory of it.

Question #2: Did you always know your great-uncle was famous? When did you find out?

Answer: No, because he (or rather his name) wasn't "famous" until the books came out.
 I remember my father's bringing me "The Long Winter" and showing me his mother's and uncle's names. I was born in 1931, so the books were published about the time I was ready to read them.  But my dad didn't have any stories to add to what was in the book except that Cap had been killed as a young man.

Question #3: Do you ever plan to write anything about Cap?

Answer: Only an article for the "Lore" (The "Laura Ingalls Wilder Lore is a twice-yearly newsletter published by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society in De Smet) on Grandma Garland, his mother, who was really the "hero" of our family.

Question #4: Did you read Laura's books yourself, as a girl?

Answer: Yes. And quizzed my dad about the people in them.  He remembered "Blind Mary" as he called her from church, but none of the others.  He was born in 1900.

Question #5: Are you a fan of the biographies on Laura, and have you helped in any way to provide the details about Cap?

Answer: I haven't read them.  I'm really more interested in the history of DeSmet, not limited to the Ingalls family. Both my grandparents were also 1880 pioneers who lived through the hard winter and helped build the town, and I wanted to know about them and their friends.

Question #6: Do you have anything you'd like to add to my page on Cap?

Answer: You have done a very good job. I think I sent you most of the comments I have on that page. If I think of more, I'll let you know.

Question #7: A person on the Internet said they were informed that Cap's real name was Oscar Edmund Scott, by a library in South Dakota, I've never heard this. Could you tell me if it's true?

Answer: I can tell you that it ISN'T true.  The name "Scott" isn't even in our family, except as the second wife of a great-great-uncle.

Please send all comments or queries

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