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Gravedigger's Daughter - Growing up Rural

First Edition, November 1, 2022

Wisconsin Writers Association Press

Subjects: General Biography, Memoir, Family and Relationships, House and Home

Trade 6x9, 334 pp.

Print paper ISBN 978-1-0879-6002-9

Print hardcover ISBN 979-8-9863365-0-3

Electronic ISBN 978-1-0879-6017-3

Library of Congress Control Number: 2022939782


Ordering information:

Contact Wisconsin Writers Association Press, LINK

Available through Ingram


  • Paperback: $29.95
  • Ebook: $8.99
  • Cloth with dust jacket: $39.95

Visit the Author profile for additional purchase outlets

Gravedigger’s Daughter – Growing up Rural is a collection of short stories and essays based on actual events in the 1950-1970s in northern west-central Wisconsin. Little Elk Creek is a tightly knit community of Norwegian immigrant farm families who assist one another at harvest time and share their skills so all could succeed.

Debra Raye King shares her remembrances from an era when her father was the local gravedigger at the local church cemetery and it wasn’t unusual for a daughter to help shovel. Moms were mostly homemakers, dads wage earners, and the children attended Farmers Union Camp, 4H, and the Luther League when not in school or helping with chores. In this small community, Debbi and her twin Sue were the only students in first grade at the one-room eight-grade schoolhouse two miles away from home. Shopping was done in Menomonie where highlights of the trip included a visit to the Farmers Store, a meal out at the Dew Drop Inn, and guessing in winter when the clunker would fall through the ice.

Relish the aroma of fresh baked bread and pies, share giggles and games with the cousins and neighborhood kids, feel the wind in your hair at the top of the windmill, and relive the joy of nature.

Experience the grit, heartache, joy, and innocence of growing up rural with these tales of one family farm in Wisconsin.

Author Debra Raye King is a retired college dean and university administrator. Daily, she cares for her flock of registered Icelandic sheep, and takes long forest trail hikes with her loving husband, Tom. When not writing, Debbi is active with complex knitting and sewing, and creating new wearable fiber art. She sings and plays percussion with the folk group HALLBJORN, is a karate black belt, an active skier, and an enthusiastic skater on Upper St. Croix Lake. Debbi and Tom have two grown sons, a daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters.


“A love letter to childhood in the rural Midwest, told with grace, heart, and humor.” --Brian Freeman, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep, Deep Snow

Debra’s descriptions and stories of growing up on a small farm in rural northern Wisconsin describe the memories and adventures of a whole generation of country kids that will never be experienced again. --Mark Liebaert, Farmers Union president, and Douglas County Board chair

As an old farm boy, this well written book was a memory jogger.  So many of Debra Raye King’s stories are similar to my stories—except I had no experience digging graves. --Jerry Apps, Author of Settlers Valley and several other novels and nonfiction books about country life

Reading Debbi King’s book Grave Digger’s Daughter – Growing Up Rural was a true sensory experience. --Dean Kallenbach, Senior Regional Manager Emeritus, Wisconsin Public Radio

Wisconsin Writers Association is proud to help keep these memories alive as part of our mission to provide a structured fellowship of amateur and professional writers who support and assist fellow writers with all phases, types, and categories of writing. We strongly encourage documentation of personal, family, regional, and cultural stories both fiction and nonfiction, and offer informational educational services to writers and to the general public. Find more at

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