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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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Was Aunt Addie Shot in the Head? (Part VIII)

August 24th, 2011 Sears Homes 6 comments

In a handful of days, I’m headed to Lake Mills, and yet I still don’t know where Dr. Oatway lived in the early 1900s!

There’s a reason that this is so very important.

My great Aunt (Addie Hoyt Fargo) died on June 19, 1901, allegedly from a gunshot wound to the head, delivered by her ever-loving husband, Enoch Fargo. Her 51-year-old husband (Enoch Fargo) had fallen in love with Maddie Hoyt (no relation to Addie), and wanted to marry Maddie.

According to local lore and two published accounts, Dr. William H. Oatway (Enoch’s personal physician and the attending physician at Addie’s death) openly stated years later, “No one was fooled” by his alleged falsification of Addie’s death certificate (showing diphtheria as the cause of death). Folks knew Enoch had killed his young wife as she lay sleeping in her bed. More on that here.

Thanks to Heather Lukaszewski, we’ve now got an obituary for Doctor Oatway (from 1944).

I’m publishing the obit here in the hopes that someone might find some additional clues that I have overlooked. It’s happened before! I hope it’ll happen again!  :)  And maybe - just maybe - someone has a photo of Dr. Oatway!

The obituary, as it appeared in the Waukesha Daily Freeman on  January 3, 1944.

Wauckesha - Dr. William H. Oatway, 72, prominent Waukesha physician, who practiced here for 30 years, died Sunday afternoon at his home, 144 S. East Avenue. Dr. Oatway had been ill for several months and last June submitted to an operation.

After a short rest, he returned to his office in the Putney block but a month ago was forced to his home again because of illness.

Funeral services will be held for Dr. Oatway Tuesday afternoon at 2 pm in the Presbyterian church. The Reverend L. E. Bradfield will officiate. Interment will be in Prairie Home cemetery. Dr. Oatway was born in Carlston Place, Ontario, Canada and was educated in Canada at MacGill university. He graduated in medicine from the Milwaukee Medical College, which later became Marquelle University in 1897, and practiced general medicine in lake Mills for 15 years.

He specialized in eye, ear, nose and throat treatments, and held degrees from the Polyclinic in New York and from Vienna Austria. He began his practice in Waukesha in 1913. Dr. Oatway held memberships in the Waukesha county, the state, and the American Medical Societies and at one time, held the presidency of the Waukesha County Medical society. He was a Mason, a member of the Elks Country Club and was a charter member of the Kiwanis club here.

During World War 1, Dr. Oatway served on the state draft board of appeal and later was a consultant staff member of the government hospital at Resthaven. He is survived by his wife, Alice Hanlon Oatway, a son, Dr. William H. Oatway of Tuscon, Arizona; a daughter, Mrs. Charles Dornbusch, Chicago, and a grandson, William H. Oatway III of Tuscon.

Friends may call at the family resident, 144 S. East Avenue. The Randle Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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.

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 in 1896 at the time of their wedding. Addie was 22 years younger than Enoch. He allegedly murdered Addie so that he could marry Maddie Hoyt (no relation).

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Addie Hoyt Fargo in 1896. She would have been a mere 24 years old in this photo.

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Addies death certificate, allegedly falsified by Dr. Oatway.

Addie's death certificate, allegedly falsified by Dr. Oatway. The lower portion shows that the death certificate was certified on June 19, 1901.

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On October 2, 1913, the Waukesha Freeman (newspaper) reported that Dr. Oatway was moving from Lake Mills to Waukesha to open a new office there.  Interesting that, years after establishing a successful practice in Lake Mills, hed up and move to Waukesha.

On October 2, 1913, the Waukesha Freeman (newspaper) reported that Dr. Oatway was moving from Lake Mills to Waukesha to open a new office there. Interesting that, years after establishing a successful practice in Lake Mills, he'd up and move to Waukesha.

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

Addie, in the bedroom where she was allegedly shot by her husband, Enoch Fargo.

Addie, in the bedroom where she was allegedly shot by her husband, Enoch Fargo.

Addie, about 1899.

Addie, about 1899.

And heres Maddie, the woman Enoch was (allegedly) willing to kill for.

And here's Maddie, the woman Enoch was (allegedly) willing to kill for. Contrary to local lore, she was not related to the Hoyts of Lake Mills in anyway. Maddie Louise Harbeck Hoyt Fargo was born seven years before her mother (Marie Harbeck) married Henry Hoyt. In 1880, Maddie (then seven years old) was living with her grandparents in Lake Mills. Her grandmother was Elizabeth Fargo Harbeck.

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

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