Minnie Freeman: Hero of the Frontier Schoolhouse

A scene from TV’s “Little House on the Prairie” was inspired by Minnie Freeman and the Children’s Blizzard of 1888. -- Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.

The prairie states always get their share of blizzards, but the blizzard of 1888 was like no other. With hurricane force winds and icy temperatures this brutal storm, which began on January 12, 1888, raged for 18 hours and resulted in the deaths of approximately 230 people. The majority of these victims had been trying to seek shelter when the blinding wind and snow hit, only to become lost and disoriented in the swirling snow. Sadly, several people were found dead within a few yards of shelter. One story from Nebraska, however, had a much happier ending. It was the story of a teenage schoolteacher who led her students through the blizzard to safety. This is the story of Minnie Freeman, heroine of the schoolhouse blizzard.