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