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Addie Hoyt Fargo: 1872-1901

Did Enoch kill Addie? According to Enoch’s own granddaughter, the answer is a simple “yes.”

Did Enoch beat Addie? That’s unknown, but I do know that Addie’s face is badly bruised in this photo, the last known photo of Addie, taken a few weeks before she died.

To understand all that this photo represents, you need to think about a woman’s life 100 years ago in America. Women were considered to be more like children than equal partners.

Think about the word “hysterectomy,” as one tiny example.

One hundred years ago, the uterus was considered to be the source of a woman’s hysteria and in removing the uterus, a woman would be shed of her proclivity for hysteria, hence the term, hysterectomy.

One hundred years ago, if a woman “got out of line,” it was her husband’s prerogative - perhaps even his duty - to smack her around a little bit.

And judging by these photos, Enoch did just that. In this photo, it appears that her nose may have been broken. The philtrum (indent between upper lip and nose) is no longer centered on the upper lip (as it was in the wedding photo). Symmetry is part of what makes a human face beautiful, and in the wedding photos, Addie had perfectly symmetrical lips.

That’s no longer the case. The lower lip is significantly swollen, and the cupid’s bow on her upper lip is also misaligned, with Addie’s right side being much larger than the left. The area under her right eye is also swollen.

Addie

This was the last known photo of Addie Hoyt Fargo. She was 29 years old here, but looked to be a woman in her 40s. Addie bears little resemblance to the beautiful young girl of 24 (photos below) that married Enoch in February 1896. This photo album was full of happy photos of Addie as a beautiful young girl, with this one lone exception. In this photo, she looks awful. She gifted this photo album to her brother-in-law Wilbur Whitmore, and it was inscribed, "Merry Christmas, from Addie to Wilbur." I believe that she was trying to tell them, "Look at me. I will not survive in this marriage. Help me."

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Look in her eyes. That sweetness and naivete, present in those early photos is gone.

Addie

Twenty-nine year old Addie looks radically different from 24-year-old Addie because her hairline has receded dramatically. In the wedding photo, Addie's hairline follows a smooth contour around her forehead with a slight widow's peak at the top. Now her hairline (especially across her forehead) is a ragged edge. When I googled "arsenic poisoning," receding hairline and hairloss was one of the first hits.

Addie

Darker image of Addie. Note the lip, philtrum and nose, and also the receding hair line.

Addie

Comparison of Addie's wedding photo with the older photo. Notice the eyebrows (missing on the right). Most pronounced is that hairline. Plus, her hair has thinned out and is more wiry on the right.

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This shows the remarkable difference in the hairline.

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Comparison of Addie's lips, showing the swelling and misalignment (on the latter photo on right).

This appeared in the local paper about three weeks after Addies death. The legend tells that diphtheria provided Enoch with just the excuse he needed to get Addie in the ground immediately, before anyone discovered that shed died from a gunshot wound. Her funeral was held at 10:00 am the morning after shed been shot. Supposedly, she died around 2:00 am. Pretty fast burial.

This appeared in the local paper about three weeks after Addie's death. Local lore says that the pronouncement of diphtheria provided Enoch with just the excuse he needed to get Addie in the ground that same night - before anyone discovered that she'd died from a gunshot wound. Her funeral was held at 10:00 am the morning after she'd been shot. Supposedly, she died around 2:00 am. Pretty fast burial. It's also interesting to note that this was *NOT* the typical progression of this disease.

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This appeared on the "Society Page" several days after Addie's death.

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Addie's death certificate, signed by William H. Oatway. As public health officer, Oatway also certified the truth of the facts on this certificate. He also couldn't be bothered to fill out the date of birth (beyond the year). Parents' names were listed as Mr. Hoyt and Mrs. Hoyt. To say that he did this in a mad rush, would be an understatement. It is shameful.

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My great-grandmother (Anna Hoyt Whitmore) was 44 in this photo. Anna (left) and Addie (right) were sisters. Addie was 29 in this photo. In addition to the two Hoyt sisters, there was a brother (Eugene) but he never married or had children, living in boarding houses and moved around seeking work as a machinist. I've posted this photo to show what Addie might have looked like as she aged. Anna Hoyt Whitmore (left) lived to be 99 years old.

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Addie was a beautiful young woman.

My favorite photo of all.

Addie Hoyt's room, where she was allegedly killed.

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. This photo was captioned, "All of us." Date of photo is not known.

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

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The Fargo Mansion today in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson and may not be reproduced without written permission.

On Sunday, September 4th, I’ll be giving a talk about Addie in Lake Mills. To learn more, click here.

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  1. Debbie
    September 2nd, 2011 at 09:29 | #1

    If you want to narrow down dates further on some of these photos, there are lots of websites for dating old photos. Cyndislist has some links. Also, Maureen Taylor is a noted authority on old photos. If you know the photographer, that might help. Also, the type of backing or card used on the photos might narrow it down a bit. Maybe you will find some additional photos as you research in WI.

    http://www.cyndislist.com/photos

  2. Debbie
    September 4th, 2011 at 10:38 | #2

    Here’s another WI genealogy link. http://www.genealoger.com/wisconsin/wisconsin_genealogy.htm

    I think they have some Waukesha County records here. http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/arch/

  3. Linda
    September 6th, 2011 at 16:28 | #3

    I think the people who did the program Paranormal State would be interested in this house and the ghost that lives there. Paranormal State is no more, but Ryan, the lead, has another program (don’t know the name of it). It would be interesting to look into this more.

  4. Linda
    September 6th, 2011 at 16:36 | #4

    I think the people who did the program Paranormal State (Penn State University) would be interested in this house and the ghost that lives there. Paranormal State is no more, but Ryan Buell, the lead, has another program (don’t know the name of it). It would be interesting to look into this more.

  5. Clare
    September 15th, 2011 at 11:39 | #5

    The death of a young wife is always tragic. The progress and eventual outcome of this story will be of interest to many genealogists, historians, family members and others. My concern is that it is beginning to consume the beautiful Sears Homes website. In my opinion, a link to a separate website for Addie would be helpful to your Sears readers. The Sears Homes site stands alone as an outstanding accomplishment, and a tribute to your years of research and hard work.

  6. September 15th, 2011 at 13:48 | #6

    @Clare
    Thanks, Clare. Unfortunately, I do not currently have the financial wherewithal to launch another website. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep posting stories on Sears Homes. Two weeks ago, I spent a week in Lake Mills, so Addie has been very much on my mind. :)

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I’ve spent 10 years researching Sears Homes, and I’d hate to think of how many hours I’ve spent creating (and uploading) content to this site.

    Rose

  7. brenda
    August 3rd, 2012 at 00:53 | #7

    @Linda
    I also to think this home would be a great host for paranormal investigation!

    It may also help Addie be at peace and get her story out the only way she can.

    I my self can not stop thinking about Addie! And how she must felt,and the truth be told and found out for Addie!

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