Eliza became a school teacher while in Malone, New York. When the Wilders moved west from Malone, New York to Spring Valley, Minnesota, Eliza followed and taught in the Spring Valley school during 1877 and 1878. In 1879 Eliza accompanied her brothers Royal and Almanzo to De Smet, South Dakota where they each took claims. While tending to her claim, Eliza taught the school term which Laura Ingalls writes about in "Little Town on the Prairie." Later, she relocated to Washington D.C. where she became a "Governor Girl" working for the Department of Interior.
At the age of 42, Eliza Jane married Thomas Jefferson Thayer, a twice-married Spring Valley merchant with six children. In June of 1894, Walcott Thayer was born, named after his father Thomas, whom was nicknamed Wilder. In 1899, Thomas died, with his estate being left for Etta, a daughter from his second marriage. It was at that time when Rose, Laura Ingalls' daughter, stayed with Eliza to continue school in Crowley, Louisiana. In 1904, Eliza married Maxwell Gordon, whom she later separated from. Eliza Jane died in Lafayette, Louisiana and is buried there.
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