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. 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.
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)
Anna (left) was 44 in this photo. Addie (right) was 24 in this photo.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Addie, the papers dutifully recorded, died within 24 hours of her "sickness."
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).
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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