Jed was almost married at some point in his earlier years to woman but the engagement was broken off. Jed had been a gold prospector for most of his adult life and doing it for so long had made him sick with a persistent cough, and was known to come on when he got bad news. (Episode 815: Uncle Jed) After the death of James and Cassandra parents Charles found out who and where he was and offered him custody of the children. Though he felt for his now orphaned kin, he was far to run down and poor to assume the responsibility of their care and did not take custody of them but instead decided to continue looking for gold. (Episode 721: The Lost Ones (Part 1)
Within a year of seeing Charles for the first time, he hit upon a big strike and became very rich and bought a home complete with servants in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Realizing that he was old and alone now, he traveled to Walnut Grove in search of Charles and his nephew and
niece for visit. When he arrived, he stayed in the hotel at Walnut Grove and spent much time alone with the children telling them all the things he wanted to give and show to them, and they took to him right away. During his stay, Jed also became highly respected in the community donating money to the Church. Things changed when Jed, not wanting to face being alone soon made it clear to Caroline and Charles that he intended to take the children. Charles and Caroline resisted.
Jed, refusing to back down resorted to legal means bringing in a judge to adjudicate and a lawyer to represent him at a hearing. The judge ruled in his favor but the children, especially Cassandra resisted. Jed attempted to console them but it was no use. Jed soon became sick with his cough and had to go to the doctor. He found out that he had tuberculosis and could not go through another Minnesota winter and was advised by Dr. Baker to move west. After paying Dr. Baker more then he owed, he left and took counsel within himself and realized that he was wrong about taking the children.
After a long night, he came to the Ingalls house and made his announcement that he would not be taking the children because of his illness. He also admitted that he had been selfish about the whole thing and should not have demanded the children against their wishes, just because he didn't want to be alone. James and Cassandra immediately took to him again and loved him. Charles and Caroline also thought better of him and forgave him and were quite moved by the children's mending with their uncle. Jed whereabouts are unknown but presumably he eventually moved west to a dryer climate. (Episode 815: Uncle Jed) It is not known if James or Cassandra ever saw him again.