Many similarities exist between Great-Grandma Della and Laura. They were homesteaders on the prairies. They both cut their bangs in what was then called, "the lunatic fringe" by older adults who criticized this new style. These adorable little bangs are curled around their foreheads almost identically. According to Laura, they used pencils heated up over a kerosene lamp to achieve this style.
Both girls have the typical high-necked and proper dresses of the period. Laura and Della are wearing their best (and probably only) piece of jewelry.
Pa Ingalls and John Hurd must have had a lot in common. He must have had that wanderlust like Pa. John, Bruce's second great grandfather, started out in Ohio and ended up in Thedford, Nebraska territory. This was the time when the federal government was encouraging homesteading.
As an aside, and in what I think is one of the coolest things EVER, my mother-in-law, Della's granddaughter, grew up in a sod house like the Little House book, "On the Banks of Plum Creek."
Della's daughter Irma taught in a one-room schoolhouse on the prairie, just like Laura. Only Irma supervised recess with a rifle over her lap ready to kill rattlesnakes if need be.
Irma's grandson and my husband, Bruce, teaches Alternative Energy Systems on the college level, among other courses. One topic explored is modern uses of sod houses to conserve energy. It's just in his DNA, I guess.
I think Della was just a tiny bit prettier in her picture, but I'm not objective.