Home > Uncategorized > An Amazing Discovery in an Old Shoebox (Updated!)

An Amazing Discovery in an Old Shoebox (Updated!)

This blog was written June 26, 2011. Since then, I’ve learned many new facts. Please click here to read the latest.

Two weeks ago, I cleaned out the apartment at my father’s assisted living facility and found an old shoe box. Inside was a photo album from the late 1800s, full of people that I didn’t recognize. The most significant clue was these few words scribbled on the back of one photo (first photo below). It said, “Enoch and Addie Hoyt Fargo on their wedding day, 1896.”

My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Hoyt, so I figured I had to be related to these folks - somehow.

I thought “Fargo” was the location. Later, I learned it was the last name of Addie’s new husband, and that Enoch was a direct descendant of the same Fargo that started the big bank with his friend Mr. Wells.

I posted the photos on Facebook, asking for ideas or suggestions on where to learn more. That was Friday morning (June 24, 2011). By Friday evening, I had learned a lot, thanks to my friend and local historian David Spriggs. He dug around a bit and found old census records and much more.

Enoch was 22 years older than his second wife, Addie Hoyt. In fact, one of Addie’s two step-daughters was only four years younger than Addie! This was Addie’s first marriage and it would be her last. She died in 1901, a mere five years after her wedding day. Born in 1872, she was only 29 years old when she died.

There were rumors that Addie did not die a natural death, but that Enoch may have helped speed things along because he was in love with Addie’s cousin (Martha). She was 23 years younger than Enoch. Seems he had a thing for the young women. It was Martha who provided nursing duties, and sat at Addie’s bedside as she lay dying.

Six weeks after young Addie died, Enoch married Martha, Addie’s cousin. It caused quite a scandal at the time.

UPDATED!  Aunt Addie was apparently shot in the head by her loving husband! Click here for the latest!

Martha fared better than the first two wives, and she outlived Enoch by 40 years. Enoch died in 1921. Martha, born in 1873, died in 1964. I do not have a maiden name for her.

As to my familial connection, Addie Hoyt and Anna Hoyt were sisters, and Anna Hoyt was my great-grandmother, so Addie Hoyt Fargo was my great, great Aunt. Anna Hoyt ended up marrying Wilbur W. Whitmore and landed in Denver, Colorado. This photo album that I found amongst my father’s treasured possessions was inscribed, “A Merry Christmas, to Wilbur, from Addie.” I’m not sure why she gave a photo album to her brother-in-law, but apparently she did.

Thanks to David Spriggs’ amazing sleuthing, I learned that this house is in Lake Mills, WI and is still standing. In fact, it’s now a Bed and Breakfast. And thanks to Mark Hardin for finding those birth/death dates!

Last night, I talked with the owners of the B&B and told them about my amazing shoebox discovery! They provided some history on the family and Enoch’s three wives. And as always, please leave a comment if you know anything more!

To read more about Addie and Annie Hoyt, click here.

Enoch Fargo and his bride, Addie Hoyt Fargo. This is labeled as their wedding photo from 1896.

Enoch Fargo and his bride, Addie Hoyt Fargo. This is labeled as their wedding photo from 1896. Addie was 22 years younger than Enoch. This was her first marriage, his second. He had two daughters, the oldest of which was four years younger than Addie. Addie died a mere five years after this picture was taken. Addie Hoyt Fargo would have been my great-great Aunt. I wish Uncle Enoch had remembered (or foreknown me) in his will!

*

Addie

When I first started looking at these photos, I thought that Addie had it all. Here she was, a beautiful young woman married to an older wealthy gent. He moved her into the family home, a Victorian manse built in 1881. Hers was a life of wealth, privilege, comfort and opulence - for a time. According to local lore, Addie's death was suspicious, and Enoch was in love with Addie's cousin, Martha. The fact that he remarried six weeks after Addie died is more than a little questionable. Addie died at 29 years old.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman, but I don't know about that chair. It has a face carved into the arm. That's just a little troubling.

*

Addie in her wedding gown?

Addie in her wedding gown?

*

My favorite photo of all.

My favorite photo of all. I love the detail and the beauty and the opulence.

*

pic

Close-up of the bed. Love that pillow sham!

*

Close-up of my great, great Aunt Addie Hoyt Fargo

Close-up of my great, great Aunt Addie Hoyt Fargo

Another

Another view of the lavish interiors of the Fargo Mansion.

*

Not sure who this is, but she sure is happy!

Not sure who this is, but she sure is happy!

*

Look at that waist-line!  Good thing I wasnt around then. That wasp-waist thing wouldnt have worked for me. Id have to say that my shape is more reminiscent of an egg than a wasp.

Look at that waist-line! Good thing I wasn't around then. That wasp-waist thing wouldnt have worked for me. I'd have to say that my shape is more reminiscent of an egg than a wasp.

*

These were fancy people living a fancy life. As my daughter Crystal pointed out, even the horse is wearing a doily!

These were fancy people living a fancy life. As my daughter Crystal pointed out, even the horse is wearing a doily!

*

j

I just love it that she's wearing a sailor suit.

*

With a matching cap...

With a matching cap...

*

j

Old Enoch didn't age well.

*

The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enochs two daughters are Elsie and Mattie.

The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enoch's two daughters are Elsie (top right) and Mattie (lower right). Elsie (1876-1959) married a McCammon. Mattie (1883-1956) became Mattie Fargo Raber.

*

close-up

close-up

*

Fluffy plays with Addie

Sylvester plays with Addie. Tweety has been turned into a hat.

*

Talk about a feather in your cap!

Talk about a "feather in your cap!"

*

Unknown person

Unknown person with a snazzy dress.

*

Not sure who this is, either.

Not sure who this is, either.

Tennis anyone?

Tennis anyone?

cap

The Fargo Mansion, as photographed in 1896, 15 years after it was built.

Another view of The Fargo Mansion

Another view of The Fargo Mansion, built 1881.

If you know any more about these people, please leave me a note!

To read about Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

* * *

  1. Dave Spriggs
    June 26th, 2011 at 08:37 | #1

    As I read the story, it struck me that Enoch’s story was not unlike that of King Henry VIII. Was Enoch hoping for a male heir to his fortune, which his first and second wives did not give him. Neither did his third wife, Martha (enumerated as Matti), who had one previous marriage (1910 census).

    Addie’s demise occurred under mysterious circumstances. I would like to know how Enoch’s first wife died.

  2. Cynthia Ward
    June 26th, 2011 at 14:45 | #2

    These photos are WONDERFUL Rose! What a treasure for you to have found. Any chance on getting a copy of her death certificate? That would give cause of death. And keep in mind, her death may have caused people to whisper if it was a suicide and not a murder. Young bride discovers her older husband is in love with a family member, might have caused her to down a bottle of something. We had a similar story here in Anaheim, very sad. But those photos are amazing, and it is so rare to get candid shots, as well as interiors. Wow!

  3. Sam Swauger
    June 26th, 2011 at 23:00 | #3

    Hello Rose! While trying to track down Wayne, I found your site and have enjoyed reading your postings. Thanks! Sam.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Additional comments powered by BackType