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

February 25th, 2012 Sears Homes No comments

On Friday, I posted a detailed blog about Addie’s deep roots in the Lake Mills community.

Addie Hoyt (1872-1901) was the granddaughter of Kimball Hoyt and his wife, Sally Sanborn Hoyt. The Hoyts first came to Jefferson County in 1843. When Sally Sanborn Hoyt died in June 1894, her obituary described her and Kimball as “pioneers” of the area. Click here to read more about that side of Addie’s family.

After that blog appeared, one of Addie’s many friends in Lake Mills contacted me and said, “Rose, don’t forget about the Hawleys. They were also pioneers in this county.”

Captain Hezekiah Beach Hawley and his wife, Theresa Hawley were Addie’s maternal grandparents. They were originally from New York, and I’m not sure when they arrived in Jefferson County, but by August 1, 1844, the Captain and his wife were the proud owners of 40 acres of the prettiest piece of farmland you ever did see in Milford, Wisconsin, purchased directly from the United States Government.

John Tyler was the president at the time (as is noted on the deed).  In 1843, one year earlier, some folks from Vermont had purchased some land not too far from the Hawleys. Their name was Mr. and Mrs. Kimball Hoyt.

The Hoyts had a little boy named Homer (born 1844), and the Hawleys had a little girl named Julia (also born 1844).

On October 16, 1861, Homer Hoyt married the Captain’s daughter, Julia Hawley. Oh, how I would love to know a little more about that courtship.

Captain Hezekiah Beach Hawley was an old sea captain, and I’m sure any landlubber who came calling for young Julia endured quite a grilling. Captain Hawley was 40 years old when Julia was born. By the time of her marriage, Hezekiah was 57 (and the newlyweds were 17!). Judging by look on his face in this old photo (below), it’d be safe to guess that the old captain didn’t soften with age.

Homer and Julia had three children, Anna (born 1866), Addie (born 1872) and Eugene (born 1875).  In 1877, Captain Hawley died. At least he got to meet his three grandchildren. And maybe by then, he’d even forgiven Homer for marrying his beautiful daughter.

One can hope.

In the social mathematics of the era that defined a woman’s worth, young Addie Hoyt had great value. According to information gleaned from the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper), Addie’s life was full of promise and potential. She was intelligent, witty, articulate, talented, sophisticated and accomplished.

Addie Hoyt had deep roots in her community, which - in Small Town America - added greatly to her social standing. On both her father’s side (the Hoyts) and her mother’s side (the Hawleys), Addie came from a “good old Wisconsin family.”

And yet, thus far, despite some pretty strenuous searching, I’ve been unable to find a single piece of information about either the Hoyts or the Hawleys from local libraries or historical societies or museums.

Addie’s grandparents - the Hoyts and the Hawleys - both moved to the area in the early 1840s and purchased quite a bit of land (more than 100 acres) from the government, and in time, both families became prosperous and wealthy. I am baffled as to why no one in Jefferson County seems to have a letter or a journal or any correspondence or information about these two important families.

One of the main reasons I keep writing about Addie is in the hopes that someone somewhere will come forward with some information that tells us exactly happened to Addie.

How did Addie’s life story - which started off so rich with hope and promise - end so tragically?

The cemeteries of Jefferson County are well populated with Hoyts and Hawleys. These “pioneer families” worked hard to build something that the settlers and other followers would enjoy in the decades ahead.

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Captain Hezekiah Beach Hawley looks like quite a character. He was the father of Julia Hawley (Addies mother) and Captain Hawley and his wife Theresa were two of the pioneers of Jefferson County.

Captain Hezekiah Beach Hawley looks like quite a character. He was the father of Julia Hawley Hoyt (Addie's mother). Captain Hawley and his wife Theresa moved into Jefferson County in the early 1840s, and they were two of the pioneers of that area.

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He was born in 1804 and died in 1877. Addie was five years old when The Captain died.

He was born in 1804 and died in 1877, when Addie was five.

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And the Captains wife, Theresa Hathaway Hawley. She outlived the Captain by 21 years, dying in 1898 in Dayton, WI.

And the Captain's wife, Theresa Hathaway Hawley. She outlived the Captain by 21 years, dying in 1898 in Dayton, WI. In fact, she outlived her daughter (Julia), her son-in-law (Homer), her granddaughter (Addie) and even her great-grandson (Ernie).

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He purchased land

Captain Hawley purchased 40 acres from the US Government in 1844.

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Close up of the

Close up of the paperwork. The date was August 1, 1844.

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A picture of young Homer Hoyt at the time of his marriage to Julia Hawley (in 1861). He was a dapper young fellow, wasnt he?

A picture of young Homer Hoyt at the time of his marriage to Julia Hawley (in 1861). He was a dapper young fellow, wasn't he?

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Homer Hoyt and Julia Hawley Hoyt had three children, Anna (1866), Addie (1872) and Eugene (1875).

Homer Hoyt and Julia Hawley Hoyt had three children, Anna (1866), Addie (1872) and Eugene (1875). Homer and Julia died within a year of each other (1894 and 1895). This picture was taken in 1888.

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What happened to Addie?

What happened to Homer and Julia's little girl, "Addie"? How did someone with such a bright future get tangled up with someone like Enoch?

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To learn more about Addie, click here.

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Historical Truth: Enoch Killed Addie

December 10th, 2011 Sears Homes 6 comments

Does the evidence found thus far against Enoch James Fargo rise to the level of proving him guilty in a criminal case? No, because the defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” We’re so far removed from 1901, that such a threshold is impossible to attain.

Does the evidence found thus far against Enoch James Fargo rise to the level of proving him guilty in a civil case? Perhaps so, because the rule is,”preponderance of the evidence.”

But that’s really a red herring, because we’re not preparing for a courtroom trial, we’re talking about history. And the question is, what would be sufficient evidence for historians?  As a general rule, historians consider many kinds of evidence that might not be admissible in court today.  Among the things considered by historians are oral traditions, and much of what we accept as historical truth could not be proven in a court of law today.

However, it’s important to note that in federal court, assertions of fact contained in “ancient documents” are admissible in evidence despite the fact that they are “hearsay.”  An “ancient document” is defined by the court as any document more than 20 years old. Citation: Federal Rules of Evidence 803 (16).

Thus, Mary Wilson’s statement in her book (The History of Lake Mills) that Enoch shot Addie may be considered admissible evidence. If a federal court would accept Mary Wilson’s “ancient document” as evidence, shouldn’t historians? And Mary Wilson was not just a local historian; she was Enoch’s own granddaughter.

From a historical reference point, the statement in Mary Wilson’s book, together with the report that her mother was the source, together with all the other evidence that’s been amassed provides an adequate foundation for the historical conclusion that, just as Mary Wilson told us, Enoch killed Addie.

(Many thanks to in-house counsel for providing legal terms and citations.)

To learn more about Addie, click here.

To see a short video about Addie, click here.

To learn more about Mary Wilson’s book, click here.

To sell or buy a copy of Mary Wilson’s book, click here.

Addie

Thanks to Mary Wilson, Elsie Fargo, and a whole slew of 21st Century friends (and a few miracles), Enoch did *not* get away with it.

Ada (Addie) Hoyt Fargo  1872-1901

Ada ("Addie") Hoyt Fargo 1872-1901.

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A Disrespectful Way to Treat a Young Woman’s Death

December 8th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Today, an article ran in the “Lake Mills Leader” (Lake Mills’ newspaper) which reads (and I quote), “Legend has it, Enoch knocked off Addie.”

If a young woman was murdered last week by her husband, would the newspaper editors present the story with such flippancy, and with such an utter lack of respect?

When will Addie Hoyt Fargo - the 29-year-old woman who was allegedly murdered by her 52-year-old husband, Enoch Fargo, be given a modicum of decency and respect by the press in her own home town?

Did Enoch murder my great Aunt? According to Mary Wilson, Enoch’s own granddaughter, Enoch killed Addie. Read more here. (”The History of Lake Mills, 1983, page 274.)

We do know that Addie did not die of diphtheria, as is stated on her death certificate. We do know that Addie’s death certificate was falsified and we do know those involved in the cover-up violated Wisconsin state law when they did not obtain the necessary burial permit. And we know that Addie’s obituary was fabricated. Which begs the question, what happened to Addie 110 years ago, that those present at her death felt they had to falsify documents and create this fantastic cover-up, all in an effort to hide the truth? What was the truth that they were hiding?

And now,  even 110 years after this 29-year-old woman died under a cloud of suspicious circumstances and events, the Lake Mills newspaper still thinks it’s acceptable to treat Addie’s death in a sophomoric, flippant, irreverent manner.

I wonder if they’d feel the same way if this was their relative?

Because Addie is my relative, and I deeply resent their flippancy.

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Enoch Fargo and his bride, Addie Hoyt Fargo. This is labeled as their wedding photo from 1896.

Enoch Fargo and his young wife, Addie Hoyt Fargo. This is labeled as their wedding photo from 1896. Addie was 22 years younger than Enoch. According to Mary Wilson (Enoch's granddaughter), Enoch murdered Addie.

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Addie

Addie in 1894, about two years before she married Enoch Fargo of Lake Mills.

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Addie married Enoch Fargo.

Enoch James Fargo, who allegedly murdered his second wife. His granddaughter (Mary Wilson) speaks plainly in her book (The History of Lake Mills) when she says, "Enoch shot Addie!"

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Addie’s Exhumation: Do I Regret Having Done All This?

November 28th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

The number one question I’m asked again and again is, “Now that the the autopsy findings are in, and they’re inconclusive, do you regret having done all this?”

The answer is, no, not at all. In fact, based on what was discovered, I’m reassured that I made exactly the right choice.

If it hadn’t been for the exhumation, we never would have known that Addie was buried in a shallow grave. A 34″ deep grave is not a proper burial. Addie’s remains have now arrived at my home in Norfolk, and she will be given a Christian funeral.

Secondly, without the exhumation, we would never have known that she was buried in her dress shoes. That is a powerful bit of evidence, and provides yet another proof that the official story (diphtheria) is pure fiction.

Thirdly, knowing that she did not die of diphtheria, and knowing that there was probably foul play involved, and knowing that she was not given a proper burial at a proper depth and that there was no burial permit (a violation of state law), it feels like a good decision to move her remains out of the plot in Lake Mills.

Do I regret having gone through all the time, trouble and expense of exhuming a body to learn more about a 110-year-old murder mystery?

Nope. Not at all. It was a good decision. I’m confident that Addie would be pleased.

To see the article (and video) that appeared in Thursday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, click here.

To read more about Addie, click here.

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The digging started at about 8:45 am.

Shallow

Addie's remains were found at 34" of depth.

Addies exhumation shallow

This photo shows how shallow the grave was.

Robin

Rose examines some of the remains that were unearthed.

Addies helpers

Addie's helpers searching for skeletal remains.

Addie

The story of Addie's mysterious demise seems to captivate everyone.

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Funeral director Dave Olsen stands in the background (orange shirt), ready to transport Addie's remains to the Medical Examiner's office in Milwaukee. Throughout this experience, Addie's remains were treated with the utmost respect. And Dave Olsen was one of the angels that helped me navigate the labyrinthine and complex process of disinterment.

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Another view of the grave site.

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UPDATE: Did Mattie P. Fargo Give That Talk on June 20, 1901?

November 18th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

Updated!  See highlighted text below!

According to the Lake Mills’ High School program, Mattie P. Fargo (Addie’s step-daughter) was scheduled to give a talk at the commencement, June 20, 1901. Her step-mother - Addie - had died the day before (June 19th).

Mattie’s scheduled talk was “The New Pilgrim’s Progress.”

When I was in Lake Mills recently, I read 15 months worth of the Lake Mills’ Leader. After I got home and really studied a few of these newspaper clippings, I realized I had the answer to this question about Mattie at my fingertips - sort of. In my zeal to copy articles about Addie, I copied the June 27, 1901 front page (where the ladies at the DAR that expressed their sadness at Addie’s sudden departure), but I didn’t notice the little nuggets just to the side.

On the right side of the newspaper’s front page was a detailed synopsis of the students’ talks at the commencement one week prior, complete with a summary of the young people’s public speaking abilities.

UPDATE!  Thanks to a friend in Lake Mills, we don’t know if Mattie was in attendance at her graduation, but according to the newspaper article that appeared the next week (June 27, 1901), her essay appeared in the Lake Mills Leader with a small note that said, “Essay of Mattie P. Fargo, not read at commencement exercises.”

Mattie

Was Mattie there, on June the 20th?

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Did she deliver her prepared talk on "The New Pilgrim's Progress"?

Matties graduation picture

Mattie's graduation picture from 1901.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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The Five Reasons

September 28th, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

Addie’s story has been picking up steam and gaining a wider audience. This ustream video - a recording of a talk I gave in Lake Mills - has had more than 700 hits (as of September 28, 2011).  In the last month, more than 7,000 people have come to my website to read about Addie.

It’s reassuring to know that so many people care about my great Aunt Addie, a beautiful 29-year-old woman, who was murdered by her husband in 1901.

And I’d like to share - with my readers - the reason that *I* am so interested in getting to the bottom of this story.

There are five primary reasons.

For starters, I’m a nut about history. And early 20th Century America is my favorite time period. When I wrote The Houses That Sears Built, I spent four years, buried in library basements across the Midwest doing research. And I loved it.

Reason #2: I grew up without grandparents or cousins or aunts or uncles (they all lived 3,000 miles away in California), and my whole life, I’ve yearned to know what it’s like to be part of an extended family. Learning about Addie and her family (my family) has helped assuage that powerful longing. Solving her murder (or at the very least, discovering the truth about this old legend) will also be very satisfying.

Reason #3: “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.” While it’s true that all the principals in this 110-year-old murder mystery are dead and buried, it’s also true that evil (especially something as dark and horrific as murder) needs to be exposed to the sunlight of truth. This evil has hidden in the dark shadows for long enough. It’s time to drag it out into the bright light and learn the truth and settle the question. Evil, regardless of its specific guise, needs to be unmasked and uncovered and destroyed.

Reason #4: Addie was my great-grandmother’s little sister, and she was also the youngest daughter of Homer and Julia Hoyt, my great, great grandparents. If someone I loved had been harmed or hurt (like Addie), I’d hope and pray that there’d be someone in the world who loved family enough and/or loved me enough to take on the task of uncovering the truth about their demise. Addie was a 29-year-old woman when she was murdered. She was still a young girl. I have children that age.

Reason #5: It’s the right thing to do.

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Addie

Whenever I start to wonder if I'm doing the right thing, I revisit this picture. It always re-inspires me to push forward with Addie's case.

Close-up of Addies face

When I look at her face, and see the swollen lips, twisted nose and puffy eyes, I am reminded that Addie's life could not have been an easy one.

Addie

Life before and after Enoch. These photos were taken less than five years apart. She was 29 in the photo on the right.

Addie

Her life ended when she was 29 years old.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman.

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Addie in her wedding gown?

Addie in her wedding gown.

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My favorite photo of all.

My favorite photo of all. I love the detail and the beauty and the opulence.

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Close-up of the bed.

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Close-up of my great, great Aunt Addie Hoyt Fargo

Close-up of my great, great Aunt Addie Hoyt Fargo

Another

Another view of the lavish interiors of the Fargo Mansion.

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Not sure who this is, but she sure is happy!

Addie's bright-white dress looks almost ethereal in this photo.

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Look at that waist-line!  Good thing I wasnt around then. That wasp-waist thing wouldnt have worked for me. Id have to say that my shape is more reminiscent of an egg than a wasp.

I'm comforted to know that Addie had happy days at the mansion.

These were fancy people living a fancy life. As my daughter Crystal pointed out, even the horse is wearing a doily!

The fam departing on a buggy ride.

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I just love it that she's wearing a sailor suit.

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With a matching cap...

With a matching cap.

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Old Enoch didn't age well.

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The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enochs two daughters are Elsie and Mattie.

The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enoch's two daughters are Elsie (top right) and Mattie (lower right). Elsie (1876-1959) married a McCammon. Mattie (1883-1956) became Mattie Fargo Raber.

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close-up

close-up

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Fluffy plays with Addie

Addie loved cats.

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Talk about a feather in your cap!

And the cats tolerated her.

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Unknown person

Addie preparing for a trip.

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Not sure who this is, either.

Addie in profile.

Tennis anyone?

Tennis anyone?

cap

The Fargo Mansion, as photographed in 1896, 15 years after it was built.

To learn more about the mysterious death of Addie Fargo, click here.

If you have any information to add, or if you’d like to express an opinion, please leave a comment below.

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The Murder of Addie Hoyt Fargo

September 28th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

On June 19, 1901, 29-year-old Addie Hoyt Fargo - a beautiful, intelligent, gregarious young woman - was allegedly shot and killed by Enoch Fargo, her wealthy, powerful, 51-year-old husband. But Enoch was never punished for this crime. According to local lore and two published reports (and now, contemporary evidence), Enoch bribed a local doctor (William Oatway) to falsify Addie’s death certificate, so that no one would ever know the truth.

And what could his motive have been? Enoch found someone he liked better, and was remarried (his third marriage) in February 1902, a mere eight months after Addie’s death. In Victorian times, the period of mourning was 12 months. To remarry during the mourning period would have been scandalous.

Enoch had married his second wife (Addie Hoyt) in Chicago on February 19, 1896. Mr. and Mrs. Fargo lived in one of Lake Mills‘ most grandiose homes, The Fargo Mansion.

Addie Hoyt Fargo’s death certificate lists “diphtheria” as the cause of death, but according to The History of Lake Mills, Dr. Oatway openly admitted in later years, “No one was fooled” by this falsified document.

Enoch’s own granddaughter stated (in The History of Lake Mills), “A number of persons who knew [Enoch Fargo] will tell the same story - he shot Addie.”

The local newspaper account (below) states that Addie was first stricken with illness on Tuesday morning, June 18th 1901, and was dead by 2:00 am Wednesday morning, or about 18 hours after the first symptoms appeared.

That doesn’t make much sense.

The progression of this disease - from onset to death - typically took a minimum of 6-8 days and more often, the progression was measured in weeks and arose from complications involving the brain and heart. Diphtheria was not an automatic death sentence. It was the young and elderly that perished. It was expected that otherwise healthy adults would survive this disease.

Addie came from hardy stock. Her sister (Anna Hoyt Whitmore) lived to be 99 years old.

In the early 1900s, the fatality rate for diphtheria was 5-10% for people Addie’s age (more than five years old and less than 40). The higher death rate (less than 20%) applied to those who were under five years of age and more than 40. [Source: College of Physicians of Philadelphia, History Project.]

Was this “Diphtheria” story Oatway’s way of giving us a subtle clue in this murder mystery? Was he trying to tell someone, “This is all a contrivance. Healthy 29-year-olds don’t die in 18 hours from diphtheria.”

Let’s set all that aside for a moment. There’s another tough sell in this story.

The timing.

Addie dies at 2:00 A. M.

The doctor is summoned to pronounce her dead.

The undertaker is summoned and a coffin is selected.

The coffin is taken to the house and up to the second floor.

Her body is respectfully laid out in the coffin, behind closed doors, and carried outside to a waiting hearse.

The body is taken to the undertaker.

The undertaker requests a burial permit from the cemetery’s secretary (Robert Fargo).

Addie’s body is prepared for burial.

Grave diggers are summoned and hired to prepare a grave, and it’s likely - given the timing - that this was done in the dark.

The death certificate is completed by Dr. Oatway as attending physician.

The death certificate is certified as true by the County Health Officer, who just happens to be…

Dr. Oatway.

Addie is “laid to rest” is 10:00 A.M. the next morning.

Not a visitation, but “laid to rest.” The casket is never opened - allegedly because of the grievous fears of contagion.

Soon after 10:00 A.M., we can assume that her body is lowered into the soft earth of a waiting grave.

Eight hours after her death.

As my friend David Spriggs said, “All that in one day for an unexpected death? It’s almost as if they knew that it was going to happen and had already made preparations.”

And while they were in a hurry to get this done, they were not in a hurry to tell the family. I’ve found notes, apparently penned by my Great Grandmother (Anna Hoyt Whitmore), that suggest that - as of 1904 - she assumed that her sister Addie was still alive and well in Lake Mills.

Now that’s disturbing.

Shortly before Addie died, she sent a picture of herself to her sister and brother-in-law in Denver (Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur W. Whitmore). In that picture, Addie’s eye, lips and nose are swollen and distorted. She doesn’t even look like the same woman shown in those wedding photos, taken five years earlier. I believe this last photo was Addie’s “SOS” to her family, and that Addie knew that Enoch was going to kill her. (See photo below.)

Did he shoot her? Or maybe he just went too far one night when he was beating her. Or maybe he put a pillow over her face and suffocated her, which would be a good fit with the diphtheria story (published as her obituary).

There’s another piece of this puzzle that’s especially compelling: There’s no burial permit for Addie. And that tells us that when Dr. Oatway filled out the death certificate, he did not represent the facts honestly, for this death certificate (completed and certified by Oatway) states that a burial permit was obtained, and it’s listed as permit #32. In fact, the impeccable records of the city cemetery shows that Addie’s burial permit would have been #22, but there is no permit for Addie in the city’s ledger of burial permits.

None.

And permit #32 belongs to Alinda Horniley, who died in October 1902.

And yet, burial permits were required - by law - for every grave that was opened in the cemetery.

In his mad rush to get the death certificate filled out, Oatway apparently “guessed” at which number was coming up on the burial permit ledger. He guessed wrong. He never figured anyone would go behind him and double-check.

Besides, Enoch Fargo was an important, wealthy powerful man. Addie Hoyt was a 29-year-old girl, whose parents were dead and her only family - a sister and brother-in-law - lived  far away in Denver. Addie was alone in the world, and when Enoch killed her, no one dared ask too many questions.

Enoch successfully used his power and privilege to get away with the murder of his young wife.

Above the mystery of it all, there’s another fact. Addie was my great Aunt, and the baby sister of my great-grandmother.

I’ve no doubt that it’ll take indefatigable persistence to get to the bottom of this mystery, and answer the question - once and for all - of what happened to my beautiful, intelligent, gregarious Aunt Addie, whose life ended abruptly when she was 29 years old. And I am an indefatigable and persistent soul. I will see this through to the end.

To read more about Addie’s amazing story, click here.

To see the talk Rose gave in Lake Mills, click here.

To read the newspaper article that appeared most recently, click here.

To read the story of my finding these photo albums, read 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).

And perhaps

Addie at age 24 (left) and age 29 (right). Life with Enoch was hard. On the right, notice the swollen lip, skewed nose and puffy eyes. She hardly looks like the same woman.

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Addies death certificate, allegedly falsified by Dr. Oatway.

Addie's death certificate, falsified by Dr. Oatway. Under the date (June 1901), it reads, "Burial Permit #32." Apparently, Oatway did this in a big rush, and figured that no one would ever know if he just made up a permit number.

word

This burial permit (#21) is dated May 1st, and the death occurred the day before - April 30th.

word

Addie's should have been permit #22 (judging by the date). But "John Smith" died on June 26th, and this burial permit was dated June 27th. Addie died on June 19, 1901.

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As mentioned above, burial permits were required for every grave that was opened. This burial permit was for a stillborn baby (unnamed). As cemetery sexton Bill Hartwig explained, a burial permit was required for every grave - no exceptions. This was the only permit I saw that had the same permit date and death date. In the case of an unnamed, stillborn child, the logistics involved in burial were very different.

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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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the

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.

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

Addie

Her life ended when she was 29 years old.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman.

Addie in her wedding gown?

Addie in her wedding gown.

Look at that waist-line!  Good thing I wasnt around then. That wasp-waist thing wouldnt have worked for me. Id have to say that my shape is more reminiscent of an egg than a wasp.

I'm comforted to know that Addie had some happy days at the mansion.

The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enochs two daughters are Elsie and Mattie.

The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enoch's two daughters are Elsie (top right) and Mattie (lower right). Elsie (1876-1959) married a McCammon. Mattie (1883-1956) became Mattie Fargo Raber.

close-up

close-up

Fluffy plays with Addie

Addie loved cats.

Talk about a feather in your cap!

And the cats tolerated her.

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Unknown person

Addie preparing for a trip.

Addie, about 1899.

Addie, about 1899.

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

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

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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The Fargo Mansion: An Architectural Gem in Wisconsin

September 16th, 2011 Sears Homes 7 comments

During my stay in Lake Mills in early September (2011), I was invited by gracious innkeepers Tom and Barry to be their guest at the Fargo Mansion Inn. So for two glorious days and two restful nights, I lived and moved and had my being inside the walls of this unspeakably beautiful old manse on Mulberry Street.

I’m an architectural historian. I’ve seen plenty of old houses. If I had a nickle for every old house I’ve seen…

However, the Fargo Mansion is in a class by itself. It’s an extraordinary building that’s been meticulously and faithfully restored to its former splendor. And it’s massive, with 7,500 square feet of architectural grandeur. Every single spot where your eyeballs happen to rest is a new view of opulence and magnificence and Victorian luxuriance.

When the Fargo Manse came into Tom and Barry’s life in the early 1980s, it was slated for demolition with a failing roof (and rain water infiltration), boarded up windows, frozen and busted pipes  (radiators and domestic water) and many of the fireplace mantels and moldings were gone. In anticipation of the home’s demolition, all utility connections had been removed from the building. Built in 1881, it’s a classic Queen Anne house, with towers and turrets and Victorian refinements and frippery and fretwork.

It’s disturbing to think that Wisconsin nearly lost this architectural gem.

In addition to its being a real gem, this was my great Aunt Addie’s home. Judging by the many photos I have of her in this house, this was a happy home for Addie - for a time. She moved in as a bride of 24 years old, and she died there, five years later.

This is one of those times when words are inadequate, so feast your eyes on the photos below. And if you’re ever within 100 miles of The Fargo Inn Mansion, you really should treat yourself to a night or two at the Inn. And did I mention, the breakfast that Tom served was one of the Top 15 Best Breakfasts I’ve ever had in my 52 years? And that morning memory was sweetened ever more when Tom brought in a small painted porcelain vase and set it down beside me on the table.

“This was your Aunt Addie’s,” he said softly. “I knew you’d like to see it.”

He was right.


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.

Addie in front of the Fargo Mansion.

Addie in front of the Fargo Mansion.

The fam

The fam sits on the front step of the Fargo Mansion. Addie is on the lower left, with Enoch seated above her. Elsie (born 1876) is on the upper right and Mattie (born 1884) is on the lower right. Elsie was a scant four years younger than her new step-mother, Addie.

The same spot, 110 years later.

The same spot, 110 years later.

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Addie prepares to board the train. According to Mary Wilson's book ("The History of Lake Mills"), Addie was inspired to start a local chapter of the DAR when she met Mrs. James Sydney Peck on a train ride, coming home from Sparta. Note the traveling bag at Addie's side.

Just inside the main entry is this small (and high) window. Notice the beveled glass and ornate quartersawn oak trim. At first glance, I thought this was a mirror. I thought Id joined Addies world when I stood in front of this mirror and no one was looking back!

Just inside the main entry is this small (and high) window. Notice the beveled glass and ornate quartersawn oak trim. At first glance, I thought this was a mirror. I thought I'd joined Addie's world when I stood in front of this "mirror" and no one was looking back!

Interior shots of the mansion. This is the music room.

The music room inside the Fargo Mansion. I believe this is Mattie (seated with book), Addie at the piano and Elsie standing (far right).

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The grand staircase in the front reception hall. The woodwork is beautifully sculpted.

Close-up of the newel post.

Close-up of the newel post.

This is a shot from the foyer looking into the music room. If you look closely, youll see a guitar in the background.

This is a shot from the foyer looking into the music room. If you look closely, you'll see a guitar in the background. Note the newel post on the right.

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This is a closer view of the "music room" (seen above) taken from the stairs, but it shows the horse-hair bench that sits within the rounded tower. According to Innkeeper Tom Boycks, this bench is original to the house.

Looking into the dining room

This tiled "solarium" sat at the edge of the expansive dining room. Tom explained that with its southern exposure, it made the perfect spot for growing plants and other greenery. The floor inside the massive bay window is tiled. At the far left was a small sink (cold water and a drain) for watering the plants, which was removed in later years.

Close-up  of the tiled floor

Close-up of the tiled floor, which is in beautiful condition. The floors throughout the Fargo Manse are maple, upstairs and downstairs, and they're in stunningly beautiful condition.

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Notice the massive windows in the front parlor. As Tom pointed out, it's a tough house to decorate. It's all windows and doorways and radiators and fireplaces.

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Detail of the oak trim and frieze in the front parlor.

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This shot was taken from the steps, looking down toward the front door. Notice that curved wall by the front door. And all that wainscoting and trim is quartersawn oak. See that radiator to the far right? Every radiator throughout the house was destroyed when the house endured a Wisconsin winter with no heat. Tom and Barry sought out and found salvaged radiators for every room in this 7,500 square foot house. That's what's so remarkable about the Fargo Manse. To look at it today, you'd never guess that they started with a shell of a building, and brought it back to life.

Another view of this incredible staircase

Another view of this incredible staircase (second floor).

Curved hallway on the second fllor.

Curved hallway on the second floor.

Addies room is at the top of the stairs.

Addie's room is at the top of the stairs.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman. She was 24 here.

Addie in her wedding gown?

Addie in her wedding gown.

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My favorite photo of all.

My favorite photo of all. I love the detail and the beauty and the opulence. This was Addie in the master bedroom, now known as the Enoch Fargo room.

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Close-up of the bed.

Happier times at the Fargo Mansion

Addie loved her cats. Judging by the look on this one's face, I'm not sure the feeling was mutual.

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Addie stands in a bower of flowers on the grounds of the Fargo Mansion.

The Fargo Mansion today (or yesterday, actually).

The Fargo Mansion as it appears today. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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

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This grandiose Victorian manse was built in 1881 and extensively remodeled about three or four years later. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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The porch of the Fargo Mansion. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

Mattie

Addie sits with someone (Elsie?) on the front porch of the house. The original fretwork and railings are still evident in the contemporary picture (above).

Addie in front of the house

Addie standing in the home's side yard.

Tall tower

Tall tower of the Fargo Mansion. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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Porte Cochere on the Fargo Mansion. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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A view of the home's rear. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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Addie's obituary.

If you’ve any information to share, please leave a comment below.

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Was Aunt Addie Poisoned With Arsenic?

July 9th, 2011 Sears Homes 12 comments

Was Addie poisoned by her husband, Enoch Fargo?

Her remains are in Milwaukee being autopsied, and we’ll soon know for sure.

An Amazing Discovery in an Old Shoe Box

June 25th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

Recently, I’ve learned all kinds of new facts. Click here to read the updated version of this post!

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Two weeks ago, I cleaned out the apartment at my father’s assisted living facility and found an old shoe box. Inside was a photo album from the late 1800s, full of people that I didn’t recognize. There was only one clue scribbled on the back of one photo (first photo below). It said,  “Enoch and Addie Hoyt Fargo on their wedding day, 1896.”

My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Hoyt, so I figured I had to be related to these folks - somehow.

I thought “Fargo” was the location. Later, I learned it was the last name of Addie’s new husband, and that Enoch was a direct descendant of the same Fargo that started the big bank with his friend Mr. Wells.

I posted the photos on Facebook, asking for ideas or suggestions on where to learn more. That was Friday morning (June 24, 2011). By Friday evening, I had learned a lot, thanks to my friend and local historian David Spriggs. He dug around a bit and found old census records and much more.

Enoch was 20 years older than his second wife, Addie Hoyt. In fact, Addie’s new step-daughters were only two and four years younger than Addie! This was Addie’s first marriage and it would be her last. While still a young woman, she became ill and her cousin came to sit by the bed and take care of her. Enoch apparently took a shine to Addie’s cousin. Six weeks after young Addie died, Enoch married Addie’s cousin who was 40 years younger than Enoch!

There was talk that Addie did not die a natural death, but that Enoch may have helped speed things along because he was in love with the younger cousin.

As to my familial connection, Addie Hoyt and Anna Hoyt were sisters, and Anna Hoyt was my great-grandmother, so Addie Hoyt Fargo was my great, great Aunt.

Thanks to David Spriggs’ amazing sleuthing, I learned that this house is in Lake Mills, WI and is still standing. In fact, it’s now a Bed and Breakfast. Contemporary photos can be seen the B&B’s website.

Last night, I talked with the owners of the B&B and told them about my amazing shoebox discovery! They provided some history on the family and Enoch’s three wives. I still would love to learn when Addie passed on, and when old Enoch passed on.

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. This is labeled as their wedding photo from 1896. Addie was 20 years younger than Enoch. This was her first marriage, his second. He had two daughters, the oldest of which was two years younger than Addie. The young woman picture here would have been my great-great Aunt. I wish Uncle Enoch had remembered (or foreknown me) in his will!

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Addie

When I first started looking at these photos, I thought that Addie had it all. Here she was, a beautiful young woman married to an older wealthy gent. He moved her into the family home, a Victorian manse built in 1881. Hers was a life of wealth, privilege, comfort and opulence - for a time. According to local lore, Addie's death was suspicious, and Enoch was in love with Addie's cousin. The fact that he remarried six weeks after Addie died is more than a little questionable.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman, but I don't know about that chair. It has a face carved into the arm. That's just a little troubling.

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Addie in her wedding gown?

Addie in her wedding gown?

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My favorite photo of all.

My favorite photo of all. I love the detail and the beauty and the opulence.

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Close-up of the bed. Love that pillow sham!

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Close-up of my great, great Aunt Addie Hoyt Fargo

Close-up of my great, great Aunt Addie Hoyt Fargo

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Not sure who this is, but she sure is happy!

Not sure who this is, but she sure is happy!

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Look at that waist-line!  Good thing I wasnt around then. That wasp-waist thing wouldnt have worked for me. Id have to say that my shape is more reminiscent of an egg than a wasp.

Look at that waist-line! Good thing I wasn't around then. That wasp-waist thing wouldnt have worked for me. I'd have to say that my shape is more reminiscent of an egg than a wasp.

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These were fancy people living a fancy life. As my daughter Crystal pointed out, even the horse is wearing a doily!

These were fancy people living a fancy life. As my daughter Crystal pointed out, even the horse is wearing a doily!

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I just love it that she's wearing a sailor suit.

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With a matching cap...

With a matching cap...

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Old Enoch didn't age well.

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The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enochs two daughters are Elsie and Mattie.

The fam sitting in front of the house in Lake Mills, WI. Enoch is at the top, with Addie below him. Enoch's two daughters are Elsie and Mattie.

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close-up

close-up

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Fluffy plays with Addie

Sylvester plays with Addie. Tweety has been turned into a hat.

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Talk about a feather in your cap!

Talk about a "feather in your cap!"

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Unknown person

Unknown person with a snazzy dress.

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Not sure who this is, either.

Not sure who this is, either.

Tennis anyone?

Tennis anyone?

And the house. Built in 1881, its now known as The Fargo Mansion.

And the house. Built in 1881 by Uncle Enoch, it's now known as The Fargo Mansion.

Another view of The Fargo Mansion

Another view of The Fargo Mansion

If you know any more about these people, please leave me a note!

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