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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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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