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Posts Tagged ‘anna hoyt whitmore’

Christmas at the Fargo Mansion

December 12th, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

It’s been about a year since I last stayed at the Fargo Mansion Inn in Lake Mills, Wisconsin but the many fond memories of that visit still remain. Many folks in that small, picturesque village showed me so many kindnesses. And two of the kindest, most sincere people I met during that trip were Tom Boycks and Barry Luce, owners of the Fargo Mansion Inn.

Were it not for these two, the 7,500-square foot Queen Anne mansion would have been reduced to several tons of construction debris at the county landfill. It was slated for demolition when they stepped in and bought it, sans heat, plumbing and electricity.

It’s been 25 years since those two saved this house, and today, it’s hard to imagine what Lake Mills would look like without this most impressive manse.

Since purchasing the solid-brick, 112-year-old house, Barry and Tom have poured their heart and soul (and a lot of money) into a thoughtful and thorough restoration. Visiting this house should be high on your “bucket list.” To make a reservation, click here.

The Fargo Mansion first came into my life in Summer 2011, shortly after my father’s death. Amongst his things, I found two old photo albums. One of the albums had an inscription: “Merry Christmas, Wilbur.”

Wilbur was my great-grandfather, but who was Addie Hoyt Fargo? Well, that’s a long story. To learn more about Addie Hoyt, click here.

To see pictures of Addie’s House, all dressed up for Christmas, scroll down!  (Thanks to Jan Vanderheiden for the photos!)

To read about Addie’s special Christmas present to Wilbur in 1900, click here.

To reserve a room at the Fargo Mansion (and see more gorgeous photos), click here.

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Addies house as it appeared in 1896, soon after a major remodeling.

Addie's house as it appeared in 1896, soon after a major remodeling.

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This beautiful house underwent a major remodeling in 1895 and 1896. Today, its a nationally known B&B. Addie would be proud!

This beautiful house underwent a major remodeling in 1895 and 1896. Today, it's a nationally known B&B. Addie would be proud! (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Inside, Tom and Barry have done a beautiful job of decorating the house for the holidays.

Inside, Tom and Barry have done a beautiful job of decorating the house for the holidays. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Addie also did a fine job of decorating, back in 1896.

Addie also did a fine job of decorating, back in 1896. This photo faces the same corner as the contemporary photo shown above. Sadly, that newel post light ("Our Lady of the Naked Light") disappeared in the intervening decades.

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Tom and Barry love this old house, and it really shows.

Tom and Barry love this old house, and it really shows. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Addie loved her house, too.

Addie loved her house, too. In the background, you can see that massive staircase and reception hall. Look at the fretwork and heavy curtains over the doorways.

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I love the vintage toys at the base of the tree. This tree sits at the base of the staircase. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Notice the magnolia leaves on the Electrolier!

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When my father died in June 2011, I found this photo album buried in an old nightstand. Apparently Addie gave this to her brother-in-law Wilbur Whitmore for a Christmas gift.

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Heres a picture of Addie with her older sister, Anna. Anna (born 1866) married Wilbur and moved to Denver. Wilbur and Annas families were both from Lake Mills and theyre my great-grandparents.

Here's a picture of Addie with her older sister, Anna. Anna (born 1866) married Wilbur and moved to Denver. Wilbur and Anna's families were both from Lake Mills and they're my great-grandparents.

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Wilbur and Anna about the time of their engagement (late 1880s).

Wilbur and Anna about the time of their engagement (late 1880s).

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To learn more about the Hoyts, click here.

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The Hoyts: One of the First Families of Jefferson County (Wisconsin)

February 24th, 2012 Sears Homes 3 comments

In the unspoken but ever-present caste system of Victorian America, 24-year-old Addie Hoyt was a socialite, and a woman of note. According to information gleaned from the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper), young Addie Hoyt possessed much promise and potential. She was intelligent, witty, articulate, talented, sophisticated, accomplished (as accomplished as polite society would permit) and she was beautiful.

And Addie Hoyt had deep roots in her community, which - in Small Town America - added greatly to her social standing.  She was the granddaughter of one of the “pioneer families” of Jefferson County (Wisconsin). Addie’s paternal grandparents (Kimball Hoyt and his wife, Sally Sanborn Hoyt) moved from Vermont to Jefferson County (Wisconsin) in 1843, and Mr. and Mrs. Kimball Hoyt were among the first families to settle the area.

And I also discovered an interesting item in the Lake Mills Leader where Robert Fargo (from another “original family”) recounts his memories of the Fargo family’s move to Jefferson County.

In that piece he states,

In 1844, my brother Lyman, like one of the Hebrew spies made a tour of Wisconsin with a view of establishing himself in business and decided Lake Mills was the ideal place in the new Eldorado. Two years from this time found him with Brother Enoch [Enoch B. Fargo, father of Enoch James] located and trading on the ground now occupied by Reed and Coombe under the firm name of L. & E. B. Fargo.

In other words, Addie’s family settled in Jefferson County in 1843, one year before the Fargos.

And yet, thus far, I’ve been unable to find a single solitary piece of information about Addie’s family from local resources in the Lake Mills area, such as the libraries or historical societies or museums.

Addie’s family moved to the area in 1843, purchased more than 100 acres of land from the government, and in time, they became prosperous and wealthy. I am baffled as to why no one in the county seems to have a letter or a journal or any correspondence or information on the Hoyt family.

One of the main reasons I keep writing about Addie is in the hopes that someone somewhere will remember a story they heard from their great aunt, or that someone will discover a scrap of paper or a journal or a letter that gives some insight into what happened to Addie.

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Five years later, shed be dead.

Addie's family was one of the first families to settle in Jefferson County. According to commentary found in the local newspaper, Addie Hoyt possessed much promise and potential. She was intelligent, witty, articulate, sophisticated and talented.

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Kimball

Addie's paternal grandmother, Sally Sanborn Hoyt, died June 1894. In a two-year period, six of Addie's closest family members died and her two siblings moved out of the area. The obit was an interesting read. It notes that the Hoyts were "pioneers" of Jefferson County.

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About 1889, Addies sister (Anna Hoyt) married Wilbur W. Whitmore, and the newlyweds moved out to Denver, Colorado.

About 1887, Addie's sister (Anna Hoyt) married Wilbur W. Whitmore, and the newlyweds moved away from Lake Mills, settling in Denver, Colorado. By 1894, they had three children, Ernie (six years old), Florence (age three) and Victor (age one).

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And then Ernie

In November 1894, the entire Whitmore family was stricken with Scarlet Fever. Julia Hawley Hoyt (Addie and Anna's mother) took a train to Denver to help the family and provide nursing duties. The day of her arrival into Denver, Ernie (shown above) died from the disease.

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In November 1894, Annas entire family was stricken with Scarlet Fever. s beloved nephew (Ernie) became ill with Scarlet Fever. Addies mother (shown above) rushed out to Denver to help her daughters family. Ernie died December 1st, the same day Julia arrived in Denver.

In February 1894, Addie's father (Homer Hoyt) had died suddenly in Washington State. In late 1894, Julia Hawley Hoyt traveled to Denver helping her daughter's family. Julia never returned to Lake Mills. She contracted Scarlet Fever and died six months later. Julia was 51 years old.

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Eugene

In May 1895, Eugene Beach Hoyt (Addie's brother) took a job with W. W. Ingram and moved to Chicago, about 125 miles southeast of Lake Mills. His timing wasn't good. Eugene departed for Chicago the same month that Julia (mother of Eugene, Addie and Anna) died from complications of Scarlet Fever. With Eugene's departure to the big city, Addie was now utterly alone in Lake Mills. She married Enoch James Fargo nine months later after her mother's death. Addie was 24 years old.

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Five years later, shed be dead, killed by her own husband.

Five years later, she'd be dead, at the age of 29.

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And Then Julia Contracted Scarlet Fever…

February 23rd, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

Thursday evening, after some diligent searching, I found the obituary for Julia Hawley Hoyt, Addie’s mother. The microfilm was so badly faded that the text was barely legible, but I did find it.

As I expected, Julia Hawley Hoyt never made it back to Lake Mills after November 30, 1894. She left her home in Lake Mills, Wisconsin after Thanksgiving to rush out to Denver, Colorado. Her eldest daughter (Anna Hoyt Whitmore) was sick with Scarlet Fever, as was Anna’s whole family (husband and three children, ages six, three and one).

The trek from Chicago to Denver took 26 hours. Julia would have arrived into Denver on December 1st. That was the day that little Ernie, Anna’s eldest child, died from the Scarlet Fever.

According to the obituary I found in the Lake Mills Leader Julia Hoyt contracted Scarlet Fever while she was there in Denver, and died in May, almost six months later.

Obituary

Died, at San Mateo, California, May 9th (1895), Mrs. Julia Hoyt of Lake Mills, Wisconsin at the age of 51 years. Mrs. Hoyt was born in Milford, Jefferson County in 1844 where she grew to womanhood. She was married to Mr. Homer Hoyt on October 16, 1862 at Milford.  She was the mother of three children, two daughters and one son,  Mrs. Wilbur Whitmore, Denver Colorado, Eugene B. Hoyt, and Miss Addie Hoyt of Lake Mills, all of whom survive to mourn the loss of a gentle and loving mother.


The funeral took place at San Mateo, California May 12th and the deceased was buried beside her father and sister. Mrs. Hoyt was called to Denver about last Thanksgiving time to assist her daughter in the care of her children who were sick with Scarlet Fever and during these tender ministrations contracted the disease, which at last resulted in dropsy causing her death.


As a devoted wife, a kind and loving mother, and a true neighbor, Mrs. Hoyt will long be remember, and her numerous friends will be moved with tenderest sympathy for the mourning children, who must sustain through grief and sorrow their irreparable loss.

“No more to hear her voice of love,

Nor feel her touch so kind,

waiting until the shadows move,

Revealing the beyond.”

From what I can glean, Addie was not able to attend her mothers funeral in San Mateo. That would also have been difficult. Addie last saw her mother around Thanksgiving 1895, when Julia Hoyt went to Denver to help Annas family deal with Scarlet Fever.

Addie last saw her mother around Thanksgiving 1894, when Julia Hoyt (shown here in 1888) went to Denver to help Anna's family deal with Scarlet Fever. Julia never returned to Lake Mills. While providing nursing duties to her family in Denver, she contracted Scarlet Fever which developed into "dropsy" or severe swelling, most likely occasioned by heart or kidney failure. This was a common cause of death from Scarlet Fever. Julia died May 1895, six months after her visit to Denver.

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How did beautiful young Addie end up with a troll like Enoch? Thats a good question. Losing her mother must have been tough, and in 1893, 94 and 95, there were a lot of losses for Addie. Perhaps she was so stricken with grief, she couldnt think clearly.

How did beautiful young Addie end up with a troll like Enoch? That's a good question. Losing her mother must have been tough, and in 1893, 94 and 95, there were a lot of losses for Addie. Perhaps she was so stricken with grief, she couldn't think clearly. Addie is shown here with her sister, Anna (right), who moved to Denver in 1887.

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This notice appeared in the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper) on December 6, 1894.

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Anna Hoyt Whitmore had three children, two of whom survived their bout with Scarlet Fever. Ernie did not, and he died on December 1, 1894.

Anna Hoyt Whitmore had three children, two of whom survived their bout with Scarlet Fever. "Ernie" did not, and he died on December 1, 1894.

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Ernie

Ernie's obit was published in both the "Denver Rock Mountain News" and the "Lake Mills Leader."

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Victor survived

Florence Whitmore and her baby brother "Victor" both survived Scarlet Fever in 1894. They're shown here in 1895, one year after Ernie's death.

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How did Addie

Between 1893 and 1895, Addie lost six of her closest family members to death, and her brother and sister moved out of the area. These eight losses left Addie isolated and alone and vulnerable. Nine months after the last death (her mother's passing in May 1895), Addie married Enoch. It was a mistake that would have fatal consequences. And Addie's "aloneness" in the world made it easier for Enoch to get away with murder - literally.

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“Every funeral tradition of the time was violated by this burial” (Yes, it’s really as interesting as it sounds).

To read more about little Ernie, click here.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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Little Ernie Whitmore: The Story of a Very Short Life

February 23rd, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

After my father passed on in June 2011, I was cleaning out his assisted living facility and that’s when I discovered two photo albums from the late 1800s, belonging to Addie Hoyt, my great, great Aunt. In that same old shoe box, I also found - laying loose in the box - a professionally done photograph of a young boy, about five years old. The back of the photo said the child’s name was Ernie Eugene Whitmore, 1888 - 1894.

Ernie was the eldest child of Anna Hoyt Whitmore and Wilbur W. Whitmore (my great-grandparents, and Addie’s sister and brother-in-law). Anna and Wilbur had three children, Ernie, Florence and Victor. Florence was my grandmother, and she was born in 1891. Her brother Victor was born in 1893.

Looking at these pictures of this little boy, I wondered, what happened to Ernie? He looks healthy and strong.

If you look closely at his folded hands, you’ll see the dirty fingernails of a young boy who loves to play outside and does not love to wash his hands! Ernie did not look like a frail little boy.

His small hands are clasped so tightly, it looks like he was struggling mightily to sit still on picture day! As a mother of three girls (one of whom was a real “wiggle worm”),  it’s easy for me to imagine that day at the photographer’s studio in 1893.

“Mrs. Whitmore, I can not get a good picture if that boy does not stop his squirming!”

I can imagine Grandmother Whitmore leaning toward Ernie, and - for the umpteenth time - admonishing her little boy to be still.

“Ernie, you must do as you’re told and sit still. If you’re a good boy, we’ll stop by the confectionery on the way home and I’ll let you pick out a treat.”

Ernie clutches his hands tightly together, desperately yearning to keep the inner wiggle worm still for just a few…more…seconds.

Finally, after a few shutter clicks and blinding flashes of light, young Ernie is released from this torturous stillness.

Ernie was not quite five years old when that photo was taken in June 1893. It was to be his last photo.

What happened to Ernie? How did his life end so quickly?

On February 22, 2012, I learned the rest of the story.

While reading my way through ten years of the Lake Mills Leader (the newspaper of Lake Mills Wisconsin), I found a little snippet in the corner of the page for December 1894. It said that Julia Hoyt (of Lake Mills) had rushed off to Denver to be with her daughter’s family (Anna Hoyt Whitmore and her husband, Wilbur).  Julia Hawley Hoyt was Ernie’s maternal grandmother.

The entire household had contracted Scarlet Fever, one of the most terrifying disease of that time.

Julia caught the express train from Chicago to Denver, rushing out to help her daughter’s young family. Julia left on November 31st, 1894 and arrived 26 hours later, on December 1st. That was to be the day that six-year-old Ernie died.

There’s no word that Julia ever returned to Lake Mills. Perhaps she did, but if she did, it was never recorded in the newspaper. Six months later, Julia Hoyt died in San Mateo, California (Alameda County). She was 51 years old.

UPDATED:  Julia Hoyt contracted Scarlet Fever during her stay in Denver, and died six months later in San Mateo.

Learning about Addie’s life in Lake Mills has been fascinating, and learning more about the rest of the Hoyt Family has been an unexpected bonus.

To read more about Julia Hoyt, click here.

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I find this photo of Ernie (taken June 1893) to be utterly captivating.

This photo of Ernie (June 1893) is enchanting.

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Look at those hands!

Look at those dear little hands - and the lace on his cuffs and shirt!

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And he had a very sweet expression.

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Addie thought so, too. She called him, Aunties Sweetheart.

Addie thought so, too. Written on the back of the photo is an inscription (written by Addie) where she called him, "Auntie's Sweetheart."

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He was 10 monhts old

Ernie was 10 months old in this photo.

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Scarelt

On December 6, 1894, the Lake Mills Leader reported that Julia Hoyt had left one week prior (November 31st) to be with Anna Hoyt Whitmore and her family, all of whom were afflicted with Scarlet Fever. The next day, Ernie would be gone.

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And December 1st 1894, young Ernie died of Smallpox.

December 1st 1894, Ernie died of Scarlet Fever. It's difficult for me to think of a child - a six year old - being described as "a brave, beautiful example of Christian fortitude," while he lays dying.

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Despite a whole lot of searching, I have not been able to find an obit for Julia Hawley Hoyt, my great-great grandmother.

Despite a whole lot of searching, I have not been able to find an obit for Julia Hawley Hoyt, my great-great grandmother. She died less than six months after little Ernie. She was 51 years old. This photo was taken in 1888.

To learn more about Addie Hoyt, click here.

To learn more about the kit homes of Lake Mills, click here.

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Dr. Oatway, Why *Were* You in Such a Hurry?

November 23rd, 2011 Sears Homes 6 comments

Doctor Oatway must have been in quite a hurry when he filled out Addie’s death certificate, for he made a number of mistakes on the form.

1)  Addie’s name. Oatway wrote “Adelina,” which he apparently assumed was Addie’s given name. It was not. Her real name was Ada, and on her own marriage certificate (dated February 1895), Addie gave her legal name as “Addie.” You’d think Oatway would have asked the bereaved husband about the recently deceased’s real name, but apparently Enoch was busy doing other things at the time.

2)  Addie’s birth date. For Addie’s birth date, Oatway put down 1872. That’s just sloppy. Addie’s birth date was January 22, 1872. Why didn’t Oatway ask Enoch or one of the girls about Addie’s birthday? One would have to guess that Enoch wasn’t very good at remembering Addie’s birthday.

3)  Addie’s age. Okay, so he got the year right (1872), but how did he come up with 29 years and 1 month as her age? It was probably just a wild guess. Oatway apparently reasoned that no one was going to examine this document too closely. There’s a line on the form for years, months and days. He left the “days” blank, and took a stab at the “months.”

4)  Mother and Father’s name. Oatway listed them as “Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt.” That’s rather pathetic. Couldn’t he ask Enoch about this one? I guess not. Apparently Enoch was busy doing other things.

5) Mother and Father’s birthplace. Oatway listed both parents as being from Wisconsin. Ding, ding, ding, wrong answer for Father! Homer was from Vermont.

6)  Birthplace of deceased: Wisconsin. Given the extra long line at this entry, I think the preparers of this form are asking for a CITY or county, not just the state. But I suspect Oatway was in quite a state himself, and this was the best he could do. Addie was born in Milford. At least Oatway got it right on the obituary.

7)  Cemetary? Okay, this isn’t a true mistake but it’s an interesting aside. Oatway misspelled “cemetery.” He spelled it, cemetary. You’d think that in his line of work, he had probably spelled out that word a few times in past years. Was it stress? Or was he just a lousy speller?

8 )  Burial permit. He said Addie’s burial permit had been obtained, and it was burial permit #32. This was not true. There was no burial permit for Addie. Burial permit #32 belonged to Alinda Hornickle, who died March 1902. The burial permit was a state document, and Dr. Oatway was a county official, falsifying a state record. Now that’s bad. And yet later, when he filed his report to the State Board of Health, he said there were no deaths from diphtheria in Lake Mills in 1901. To learn more about why this is so important, click here.

9) Funeral director: Given the tremendous haste with which Addie was allegedly buried (and the fact that she wasn’t even buried to a proper depth), it’s not likely that a funeral director had any involvement in this. Had he been involved, he would have been at risk for incurring the wrath of state officials for participating in a “wee hours”  burial with no burial permit. As mentioned elsewhere, the burial permit was a state record, and to be a party to this chicanery could have caused the funeral director to lose his license.

10)  Cause of death: Diphtheria. This is the principle reason that this death certificate is such a farce. Oatway said that Addie died when the diphtheric membrane broke off in her throat and strangled her. According to the CDC, it takes 2-3 days for that membrane to form. There are entire blogs written about why this is such a farce, but in short, when children perished from the growth of this diphtheria membrane, they typically died 4-5 days after onset of the disease. According to Oatway’s own report, Addie died 16 hours after a slight sore throat began. To read the full story as to why this is such nonsense, click here, here or here.

How did Oatway ever end up as County Health Officer?

And I’d love to know the precise circumstances under which this was written. Was he sitting on the top step at the Fargo Mansion, bearing down on his knee as he tried to calm his nerves and scribble out something in a hurry?

To learn more about Addie, click here.

Addie was born into wealth and privilege, and its mighty hard to understand how this beautiful, smart, vivacious woman ended up dead at 29, buried in a shallow grave.

Addie was born into wealth and privilege, and it's mighty hard to understand how this beautiful, smart, vivacious woman ended up dead at 29, buried in a shallow grave. And you can see here, she was a snappy dresser by the age of two.

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This is my favorite Addie photo. It really bespeaks her station in life.

This is my favorite Addie photo. It really bespeaks her station in life, and it shows her elegance and poise. Given the pose struck here, one wonders if she was a model.

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But it all ended tragically when she ended up dead at 29.

But it all ended tragically when she ended up dead at 29. As mentioned above, this death certificate is rife with errors. Look at the name: Adalina? Where'd he come up with that?

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Note the "name of mother" and "name of father," and also Addie's age (line 7). She was born on January 22, 1872, and her age would have been 29 years, four months and 27 days.

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Burial

Burial permit #32 belonged to Alinda Hornickle who died March 26, 1902 at 3:00 am. This is very damning evidence that Oatway did falsify this document. Addie's burial permit should have been number 22 (based on the date of her death).

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This report (shown above) appeared in the "Report of the State Board of Health" for Wisconsin and covered the the time period during which Addie Hoyt allegedly died of diphtheria. You'll note, there's no mention of any deaths (or even cases) of diphtheria in Lake Mills in 1901.

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This statement, taken from the above text and penned by Oatway, says that if there was a case of diphtheria in his town (Lake Mills), it *would* be reported.

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Unless you're paid off to falsify a death certificate...

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Stats on diphtheria deaths, as seen in the 1899-1900 "Report of the State Board of Health." In smaller towns, the mortality rate from diphtheria was much less than the statewide average of 13%, and was closer to 9%. In Milwaukee (Wisconsin's largest town with 280,000 residents), the mortality rate was closer to 16.75%.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

Please leave a comment below!

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The Four Most Haunting Photos of Addie

October 30th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

My involvement in Addie’s story began on June 13, 2011 when I was cleaning out my late father’s apartment and found a couple old photo albums amongst his possession. Inside the old albums were pictures of people I knew nothing about, and a couple photos were dated 1896. I would later learn that these were photos of my great Aunt Addie, born in 1872, married in 1896, and dead - at the age of 29 - in 1901.

I’ve posted dozens of pictures but of all the pictures I’ve posted, there are four photos that I find especially haunting. I’ve included them below.

To learn more about Addie’s story, click here.

Addie

This is a photo of Addie's home in Lake Mills, known as The Fargo Mansion. The handwriting on this photo is now confirmed to be that of Anna Hoyt Whitmore, Addie's sister.

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So what makes this so haunting? Addie died in 1901. When did her family find out she was dead? Apparently, not until 1904.

My fathers twin brother - Ed Fuller - is still alive and well and possesses an impressive degree of mental accuity.

My father's twin brother - Ed Fuller - is still alive and well and living on the West Coast. For a man of 92, he still possesses an impressive degree of mental acuity. Despite some rigorous questioning, the fact is he knew nothing of Addie Hoyt Fargo. What makes this even more incredible is that Addie's sister - Anna Hoyt Whitmore (Ed's grandmother) - lived with Ed for a time. Anna Hoyt lived to be 99 years old, and was sharp as a tack right to the end of her life. This story of Addie Hoyt Fargo was apparently one family secret that was never discussed. Which brings me back to the original question: When did the family - then living in Denver - first learn that Addie Hoyt Fargo was dead? Because judging by this photo, it appears that she was assumed alive as late as 1904.

Addie

There's a sweetness and naivete on this young woman's face that is wholly compelling. She was just a girl - 24 years old - and full of hope and dreams and ideas. Perhaps she'd planned on having a whole passel of children or maybe she was looking forward to being a socialite, carrying the torch for whatever causes that filled her heart with passion. She's so young and sincere-looking in this photo. So untarnished by the world. And five years later, she'd be dead, murdered (allegedly) by the man that had promised to love her for the rest of his life.

Addie

The most haunting photo of them all, is this one. It's a comparison of Addie's wedding photo with the last known photo taken sometime in late 1900. This photo presents an argument that Addie was sickly at the end of her life. There's also a swollen lip and other distortions around her nose. I can't help but wonder if this photo - sent to her brother-in-law Wilbur Whitmore - was a plea to save her what might have been a hellish marriage - before it was too late.

Contrast

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).

To read Part VI, click here.

To read the latest, click here.

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Addie: Someone’s Beloved Little Girl

October 30th, 2011 Sears Homes 3 comments

Often people ask me why I care about pursuing this old Addie story. After all, she’s been dead 110 years, and everyone who knew her is dead. What’s the point?

My oft-repeated response is this: “Addie was someone’s beloved little girl.

Recently, I found new photos of Addie, and these are photos of her childhood. They touched my heart, and I hope they’ll touch yours.

In June 2010, my father moved from his 2,000-square foot home to a 400-square foot assisted living facility. During that move, we found an old photo album with a red velveteen cover. I glanced through the pages, but I had no idea who these people were, and the photos dated back to the mid and late 1800s. There was no information on the pictures, so there were no clues.

I didn’t know what to do with the old album, so I put it into the growing pile of “things to save and store somewhere.”

After my father was moved into his new apartment at the facility, my brother Tom asked that I ship a few items out to him, because he has a really big basement at his home in Illinois. I was delighted to have a place to send all this “old family stuff that probably should not be thrown out.” The red velveteen photo album was shipped to my brother, Tom.

In October, I visited Tom and his wife, and I asked to see that red photo album. I was hoping against hope that maybe there were more pictures of Addie and her family in this old photo album. After all, I’d had no idea that there was an Addie Hoyt Fargo until after my father died (June 10, 2011), and I discovered two photo albums devoted to Addie and her life in Lake Mills. Learn more about that discovery here.

He found the photo album on a Saturday night and by Sunday morning (about 5:00 am), I was laying on the floor of their spare bedroom, studying the photos. There were several photos of Addie - I thought - but the photos lacked any written clues. Using a sharp knife, I removed these photos from their sleeves, and their on the backs of each photo, I found incredibly detailed descriptions of the people and their relationship to Anna Hoyt Whitmore (who wrote the descriptions). Finding absolute evidence of  her handwriting was also important. Read why it matters here.

And it was also interesting to discover that Addie was apparently from a very wealthy family. The clothes and professional photography make that very clear!

Below are those photos.

the

Early Sunday morning, I took a sharp knife and performed a "photo-ectomy" on the old photo album that we'd found at my father's house in 2010. It had been shipped to my brother's house in Illinois. Slicing and dicing that old album was a good decision, as there was much information contained on the back of these photos, written in my great-grandmother's hand. Finding absolute evidence of her handwriting was also a good discovery.

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Often, people ask me why I care about pursuing this old story of an alleged murder. I often tell them the same thing: Addie was someone's beloved little girl. Here is photographic proof of my oft-repeated sentiment. She was someone's precious, and much beloved child. Does time lessen the importance of righting a wrong? I don't think it does.

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Note the incredible clothing. Addie was a snazzy dresser by the age of two!

Addie

Addie. No age is given, but I'd guestimate that she's about 9 or 10 in this photo.

Addie was born in 1872, so this photo was about 1882.

Addie was born in 1872, so this photo was about 1882.

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Addie about 10 years old. Professional photograph taken in Lake Mills.

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Addie at about 14. This photograph was done by "E. M. Ray" in Lake Mills.

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Close-up of Addie about 1886.

Addie

My favorite photo: Addie and Anna, dated 1887. Addie would have been 15 years old here. Anna would have been 21 years old. Addie looks so petite.

Close-up of the two sisters.

Close-up of the two sisters.

Addie as a debutante?

Addie as a debutante?

Addie

Look at the star on her forehead. Also notice the detail on the outfit.

Was Addie from an extremely wealthy family? Id say YES.

Was Addie from an *extremely* wealthy family? I'd say YES. Remember, this was in the 1880s.

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Close-up of Addie, dressed in some pretty fine clothes.

Of all the photos, this was one that tugged at my heart-strings the most. It shows that it was taken in Lake Mills, which is curious, because Anna (mother of the boy shown here), was living in Denver at the time. Apparently, they went back east for a visit to Lake Mills, and had this photo done. This was Ernie Eugene Whitmore, and he would have been Addies nephew. He died in 1894, the same year that Addies father died.

Of all the photos, this was one that tugged at my heart-strings the most. It shows that it was taken in Lake Mills, which is curious, because Anna (mother of the boy shown here), was living in Denver at the time. Apparently, they went back east for a visit to Lake Mills, and had this photo done. This was Ernie Eugene Whitmore, and he would have been Addie's nephew. He died in 1894, the same year that Addie's father died.

This inscription on the back - written in Addies hand - was what brought a tear to my eye.

This inscription on the back - written in Addie's hand - was what brought a tear to my eye. It says, "Auntie's Sweetheart. June 6, 1893, Lake Mills, Wis."

There are many more photos, but I do not have time to post them now.

Check back later for more.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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Dr. Oatway, Your Slip is Showing!

October 13th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

Dr. Oatway misrepresented the facts on Addie’s death certificate. Or he misrepresented the facts to the state board of health. Either of which tell us, Dr. Oatway filed a false report - with someone.

In 1876, Wisconsin (and many other states) created a “State Board of Health” that compiled facts and stats on communicable diseases. “Health Officers” were appointed (and paid) by the state, and it was their job to help track, record and monitor the prevalence and severity of the dreaded scourges of the day such as diphtheria, small pox, consumption, cholera and typhoid.

Each year, these health officers filed a report with the state, wherein they answered several specific questions. Two of the most interesting questions they were asked were, “Are the laws regarding birth certificates and burial permits enforced in your community?” and “What’s the incidence of communicable disease in your community?”

As mentioned in a prior blog, I was fascinated to see that it wasn’t death certificates the state was interested in, but burial permits. More on that here.

God bless the great state of Wisconsin, which not only preserved these reports, but has put them online. And thanks to Mark Hardin, for finding these reports.  Full text here.

The report referenced in this blog covers the time period during which Addie Hoyt Fargo allegedly died of diphtheria (”Nineteenth Report of the State Board of Health to Wisconsin” for 1901/1902).

And the health officer that filed the report for Lake Mills was our Dr. Oatway. The same Dr. Oatway that attended to Addie as she lay dying from diphtheria. The same Dr. Oatway that filled out her death certificate, and certified it as true, and falsified the burial permit number. The same Dr. Oatway that allegedly falsified this death certificate and later admitted, “No one was fooled.”

In the report he filed with the state of Wisconsin, Oatway stated, “the law requiring the report of dangerous contagious diseases is observed with regard to small pox, diphtheria and scarlet fever only.”

Reporting as the health officer, he mentions the deaths from a number of diseases but he says nothing about any cases of diphtheria in Lake Mills, or deaths from diphtheria in Lake Mills.

But wait, why did he sign (and certify) on Addie’s death certificate that she died of diphtheria?

That’s a pretty big inconsistency. Did he lie on the death certificate, or did he lie when he filed his report with the state?  Because Oatway DID lie, and the question is WHERE?

As my brother Ed would say, “This certainly puts another wheel on the wagon…”

And it gets even better. Further on in the report, Oatway says that “the laws requiring the issuing of burial permits are observed.”

Oh really?

Then why isn’t there a burial permit for Addie? Why did he lie on the death certificate and say there was a burial permit, when there was not? Why did he lie to the state? How many lies did this man tell?

Did Addie die of diphtheria? According to the report he filed with the state of Wisconsin, she did not.

More happy news can be found on page 15 of this report, which states that the deceased victims of diphtheria and other communicable diseases were to be placed in “sturdy coffins.” When Addie’s disinterment day arrives, that could be a real blessing.

To read more about Addie, click here.

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This snippet appeared in the 1902 "Report of the State Board of Health" for Wisconsin and covered the the time period during which Addie Hoyt allegedly died of diphtheria. How did Oatway forget about Addie's horrible diphtheric death?

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This statement, taken from the above text and penned by Oatway, says that if there was a case of diphtheria in his town (Lake Mills), it *would* be reported.

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Unless you're paid off by Enoch Fargo to falsify a death certificate...

Addies death certificate, allegedly falsified by Dr. Oatway.

Under the date (June 1901), Addie's death certificate reads, "Burial Permit #32." State law demanded accuracy in reporting of birth certificates and burial permits. He would be required to lie again when he submitted his written report to the state of Wisconsin.

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Addie's obituary as it appeared in the local paper, soon after her death.

To read more about Addie’s death, click here.

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Addie and Annie: The Hoyt Sisters

September 28th, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

My adventure into this Addie Hoyt story began with an ending: My father’s.

June 10, 2011, my father passed on. He was 91 years old.

Three days later, I was cleaning out the apartment at my late father’s assisted living facility and found a book of old photos. The most significant clue was this lone sentence on the back of a wedding photo: “Enoch and Addie Hoyt Fargo on their wedding day, 1896.”

Thanks to David Spriggs (a local historian), I learned that Enoch and Addie lived in Lake Mills, WI, and that Addie was my great, great Aunt.

Addie was 22 years younger than Enoch and she was his second wife. She was 24 at the time of her marriage to Enoch, and only four years older than Enoch’s eldest daughter (Elsie Fargo). This was Addie’s first marriage and it would be her last. Five years later, she was dead. According to Enoch’s own granddaughter (Mary Wilson), Addie was murdered by Enoch. Addie was only 29 years old.

Seven months after young Addie died, Enoch married his third wife, Martha Hoyt (no relation to Addie) in February 1902.

A proper period of mourning in the Victorian era was a minimum of twelve months. Remarriage during the period of mourning would have been scandalous.

Maddie (wife #3) died in 1964, having outlived Enoch by 40 years. Enoch died in 1921 in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Anna Hoyt was my great-grandmother, and Anna and Addie were sisters. 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.” (To see photos of Anna and Wilbur, click here.)

Anna and Addie had a baby brother, Eugene B. Hoyt (1874-1950) that never married. Anna (my great-grandmother) died four months shy of her 100th birthday (1866-1966).

Anna was a real card and whenever the 90-something woman had a chance, she’d surreptitiously slip out the door of her daughter’s home in Santa Monica (where she was living at the time), and catch a bus to Vegas where she’d play the slots.  As told by my eldest brother Tom, our grandparents hired a fierce German “housekeeper” whose real job was to keep an eye on Anna Hoyt Whitmore (who would have been my grandmother’s mother).  Tom relates,

This worked for a few weeks but Anna Hoyt Whitmore heard the casino’s siren call once too often. One afternoon, she suddenly began choking and gasping and wheezed out the message, “Quick. Get my medicine!”

There was none of that medicine in the medicine cabinet (per Anna’s plan) so Brunhilda dashed off to the neighborhood drug store. A minute later Anna  snatched her already-packed suitcase from under her bed, caught the Greyhound bus at the corner, and was on her way to Las Vegas. It was masterpiece of theater and logistics.

The housekeeper returned minutes later to discover an empty house. She searched every room, the yard, and neighboring yards, terrified that she would find the expired elderly woman under the next bush. When she finally reached our grandparents, she was beside herself with fear and guilt.

They laughed and said, “Well, I guess Mother’s done it again.” Brunhilda quit on the spot, saying they couldn’t pay her enough to go through that again.

Some years later, Anna told her grandson (Thomas Hoyt Fuller, our father), that she was done with “that clip joint” (Las Vegas) forever.

Dad wondered if someone had taken her money. It turned out that she had lost money for the first time ever. Actually she had won some money, but had not won enough to cover bus fare, lodging, and meals. This apparently was the first time she had not won enough to cover all her expenses. According to Dad, she was as good as her word, and never returned to Nevada (Reno or Las Vegas) again.

My great-grandmother (right) was Anna Hoyt Whitmore. Shes pictured here with her sister, Addie. Addie would have been about 15 in this photo (born 1872) and Anna would have been 21.

My great-grandmother (right) was Anna Hoyt Whitmore. She's pictured here with her sister, Addie (Ada) Hoyt. Addie (born January 22, 1872) would have been about 15 in this photo and Anna (born December 1, 1866) would have been 21.

Addie Hoyt Enoch was my grandmothers sister. Heres a picture of Annie Hoyt Whitmore from 1910. Annie, born in 1866, would have been 44 years old in this photo. This picture hangs in my formal dining room.

Anna Hoyt Whitmore lived to be 99 years old, and when she was in her 90s, she would often sneak away to Las Vegas where she played the slots. Addie Hoyt Fargo and Anna Hoyt Whitmore were sisters, and Anna Hoyt Whitmore was my great-grandmother. Here's a picture of Anna Hoyt Whitmore from 1910. Anna, born in 1866, would have been 44 years old in this photo.

Close-up of Anna Hoyt (sister of Addie)

Close-up of Anna Hoyt (sister of Addie)

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Anna (left) was 44 in this photo. Addie (right) was 24 in this photo.

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Anna Hoyt Whitmore (Addie's sister) had three children, and this is one of them (Ernie Eugene Whitmore). Ernie (born 1888) would have been Addie's nephew, and she was 16 when he was born. This photograph was taken a few weeks before his death. He was six years old. In 1894, Anna Hoyt Whitmore buried her six-year-old son, and seven years later, her baby sister died at the age of 29.

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This photo - from 1922 - shows Wilbur and Anna Hoyt Whitmore taking their twin grandsons out for a ride. My father is sitting with Wilbur and my Uncle Ed is sitting with his maternal grandmother, Anna Hoyt Whitmore (Addie's sister).

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Anna Hoyt Whitmore (left) holds Edgar A. Fuller (Junior) and Wilbur holds Thomas (my father). This picture is about 1921. At this time, Anna Hoyt Whitmore was still living in Denver. It's incredible to think that Anna Hoyt Whitmore lived another 45 years after this photo was taken. After her husband Wilbur died in 1939, Anna moved to California.

The Fargo Mansion in 1896, soon after my Great, Great Aunt Addie moved in with her new husband, Enoch Fargo.  Enoch was 22 years older than Addie.

The Fargo Mansion in 1896, soon after my Great, Great Aunt Addie moved in with her new husband, Enoch Fargo. Enoch was 22 years older than Addie.

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Fargo Mansion in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

Adie

Addie in 1896 (left) and in 1901 (right), shortly before she died. She was 29 years old in the photo on the right. Five years with Enoch had taken its toll on dear Addie.

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Addie, the papers dutifully recorded, died within 24 hours of her "sickness."

sElise Fargo (Mccammon) at the Fargo Mansion sometime in the late 1890s. Elsie was one of three daughters born to Mary Rutherford Fargo (Wife #1) and Enoch Fargo. Elsie was the eldest, and it was Elsies daughter (Mary Mccammon Wilson) who wrote The History of Lake Mills. Its in that book that Mary Wilson states plainly, [Enoch] shot Addie! (p 341).

Elise Fargo (Mccammon) at the Fargo Mansion sometime in the late 1890s. Elsie was one of three daughters born to Mary Rutherford Fargo (Wife #1) and Enoch Fargo. Elsie was the eldest, and it was Elsie's daughter (Mary Mccammon Wilson) who wrote "The History of Lake Mills." It's in that book that Mary Wilson states plainly, "Enoch shot Addie!" (p. 275).

Maddie.

Here's Enoch's third wife, "Maddie." The legend is that Maddie was a cousin to Addie, but this doesn't appear to be correct. Genealogical research shows that Maddie Louise Hoyt (given name "Martha") was *no* blood relation to Addie Hoyt. Maddie's mother was Marie Harbeck, who married Henry Hoyt in 1880. Maddie was born in 1873, and was listed in the 1890 census as the step-child of Henry Hoyt. Incredibly, Maddie's grandmother (Elizabeth "Betsy" Harbeck) was also a Fargo. Maddie died in 1964.

To read more about Addie Hoyt’s murder, click here.

To learn about the kit homes in Lake Mills, click here.

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Who Cares About Addie?

September 15th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

Addie’s story sure has people stirred up. I’ve been a writer for 20 years, and I’ve never been the recipient of so many negative and ugly emails in my entire life.

On September 14th, I wrote a long and detailed blog explaining why I care  about Addie and her mysterious death.

One of first comments on that blog came from Bobbi, who said, “I think that the criticism comes from people who do not take the time to find out the whole story…”

I was gratified to see Bobbi’s comment, and she is right. The people with the least information are the very ones who like to criticize the most.

This morning, I logged onto my website and found this new comment from “S”:

Actually, Bobbi, the criticism comes from those who DO know the whole story, and find a total lack of evidence to support the legend.

So below is my reply for “S” and all his ilk.

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WOW, “S,” if you knew “the whole story,” why haven’t you spoken up before now? Why have you remained silent when you have the power to shed some truth on this 110-year-old murder mystery?

It’s taken me and a handful of amazing and interested friends untold hours of research to dig up old death certificates, marriage certificates, city records, census records, newspaper articles, obituary notices and more. It has been an exhaustive, time-consuming and untiring effort! So here - all along - you knew “the whole story”?

Wow, oh wow.

SO, where is your evidence?

Have you not noticed that when I post information, I include the supporting documentation? That’s what research look like. I am sharing what I’ve learned and providing the references and  accompanying documents, so that others can follow-up on my findings.

By the way, I’ve been a researcher and professional writer for 20 years. I’ve written for newspapers, magazines and trade publications. I’ve written eight books and have been interviewed by 500 publications (or more).  And, my name is Rosemary Thornton and I stand behind every word I’ve written and every claim I’ve made on this website.

What’s your name? Who are you? Where do you live?

Please - share your credentials. Please, tell us what you know. What is your evidence? Do you have letters written by Enoch Fargo or  William Oatway squirreled away in your attic? I’d love to see them. How did you learn what you know? What are your sources?  Why have you remained silent for the last 11 decades?  Do you also have photos of Addie? Have you spent a couple grand of your own hard-earned dollars striving to learn what happened at the Fargo Mansion Wednesday morning at 2:00 am on June 19th 1901?

I’m guessing you have not.

I’m so weary of people jumping in the fray, who know nothing or next to nothing and could not care less about a 29-year-old woman who died  110 years ago in a tiny town in Wisconsin.

And yet - these people who don’t care and don’t care to learn - are the very ones adamantly declaring that I am wrong, wrong, wrong.

Despite their declarations, they offer no proof, no paperwork, no documents and not even any intelligent counter-argument to my research.

They just know that I am wrong.

Or as my mother used to say, “If you don’t have something useful to add to the discussion, it’s better to remain quiet.”

To see a video of a talk I gave last weekend in Lake Mills, click here.

To read about the falsified death certificate, click here.

To read Part IX, click here.

To read Part VIII, click here.

To read Part VII, click here.

To read Part VI, click here.

To read Part V, click here.

To read Part IV, click here.

To read Part III, click here.

To read Part II, click here.

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Happier days at the Fargo Mansion: Addie stands  amongst a bower of flowers.

Happier days at the Fargo Mansion: Addie stands amongst a "bower of flowers."

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Is this Addie? I think so. Nice bike, too!

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Addie in a hot dress. Hot, as in, unbearably warm on a summer's day.

Close-up of the Fargo Mansion

Close-up of the Fargo Mansion

View of the Lake

View of the Lake

Lake

Close-up of the person by the lake.

Addie on the front porch, playing poker

Addie on the front porch, playing poker

Addies sister, my great-grandmother Anna Hoyt Whitmore

Addie's sister, my great-grandmother Anna Hoyt Whitmore

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Addie's obituary as it appeared in the local paper, soon after her death.

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This obituary attempted to explain her fast death from a slow disease process.

I bet Addie was "very much shocked" too.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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