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

February 24th, 2012 Sears Homes 4 comments

In the unspoken but ever-present caste system of Victorian America, 24-year-old Addie Hoyt was a socialite, and a woman of note. According to information gleaned from the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper), young Addie Hoyt possessed much promise and potential. She was intelligent, witty, articulate, talented, sophisticated, accomplished (as accomplished as polite society would permit) and she was beautiful.

And Addie Hoyt had deep roots in her community, which - in Small Town America - added greatly to her social standing.  She was the granddaughter of one of the “pioneer families” of Jefferson County (Wisconsin). Addie’s paternal grandparents (Kimball Hoyt and his wife, Sally Sanborn Hoyt) moved from Vermont to Jefferson County (Wisconsin) in 1843, and Mr. and Mrs. Kimball Hoyt were among the first families to settle the area.

And I also discovered an interesting item in the Lake Mills Leader where Robert Fargo (from another “original family”) recounts his memories of the Fargo family’s move to Jefferson County.

In that piece he states,

In 1844, my brother Lyman, like one of the Hebrew spies made a tour of Wisconsin with a view of establishing himself in business and decided Lake Mills was the ideal place in the new Eldorado. Two years from this time found him with Brother Enoch [Enoch B. Fargo, father of Enoch James] located and trading on the ground now occupied by Reed and Coombe under the firm name of L. & E. B. Fargo.

In other words, Addie’s family settled in Jefferson County in 1843, one year before the Fargos.

And yet, thus far, I’ve been unable to find a single solitary piece of information about Addie’s family from local resources in the Lake Mills area, such as the libraries or historical societies or museums.

Addie’s family moved to the area in 1843, purchased more than 100 acres of land from the government, and in time, they became prosperous and wealthy. I am baffled as to why no one in the county seems to have a letter or a journal or any correspondence or information on the Hoyt family.

One of the main reasons I keep writing about Addie is in the hopes that someone somewhere will remember a story they heard from their great aunt, or that someone will discover a scrap of paper or a journal or a letter that gives some insight into what happened to Addie.

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Five years later, shed be dead.

Addie's family was one of the first families to settle in Jefferson County. According to commentary found in the local newspaper, Addie Hoyt possessed much promise and potential. She was intelligent, witty, articulate, sophisticated and talented.

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Kimball

Addie's paternal grandmother, Sally Sanborn Hoyt, died June 1894. In a two-year period, six of Addie's closest family members died and her two siblings moved out of the area. The obit was an interesting read. It notes that the Hoyts were "pioneers" of Jefferson County.

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About 1889, Addies sister (Anna Hoyt) married Wilbur W. Whitmore, and the newlyweds moved out to Denver, Colorado.

About 1887, Addie's sister (Anna Hoyt) married Wilbur W. Whitmore, and the newlyweds moved away from Lake Mills, settling in Denver, Colorado. By 1894, they had three children, Ernie (six years old), Florence (age three) and Victor (age one).

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And then Ernie

In November 1894, the entire Whitmore family was stricken with Scarlet Fever. Julia Hawley Hoyt (Addie and Anna's mother) took a train to Denver to help the family and provide nursing duties. The day of her arrival into Denver, Ernie (shown above) died from the disease.

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In November 1894, Annas entire family was stricken with Scarlet Fever. s beloved nephew (Ernie) became ill with Scarlet Fever. Addies mother (shown above) rushed out to Denver to help her daughters family. Ernie died December 1st, the same day Julia arrived in Denver.

In February 1894, Addie's father (Homer Hoyt) had died suddenly in Washington State. In late 1894, Julia Hawley Hoyt traveled to Denver helping her daughter's family. Julia never returned to Lake Mills. She contracted Scarlet Fever and died six months later. Julia was 51 years old.

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Eugene

In May 1895, Eugene Beach Hoyt (Addie's brother) took a job with W. W. Ingram and moved to Chicago, about 125 miles southeast of Lake Mills. His timing wasn't good. Eugene departed for Chicago the same month that Julia (mother of Eugene, Addie and Anna) died from complications of Scarlet Fever. With Eugene's departure to the big city, Addie was now utterly alone in Lake Mills. She married Enoch James Fargo nine months later after her mother's death. Addie was 24 years old.

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Five years later, shed be dead, killed by her own husband.

Five years later, she'd be dead, at the age of 29.

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A Very Pretty Sears Kit Home in Lake Mills, Wisconsin

July 16th, 2011 Sears Homes 2 comments

In early September, I’ll travel to Lake Mills, Wisconsin to do research on my Aunt Addie’s alleged murder. In the meantime, I’ve learned that there are a few kit homes in Lake Mills, and a myriad of kind souls have taken photos of these kit homes and sent them along to me!

One of my favorite finds in Lake Mills is the Sears Newbury. During my virtual drive through Lake Mills (via Google), I didn’t see this one, but my friend Rebecca Hunter found it and then shared its address with me. And it’s a treasure!

In all my travels, I’ve seen only two Newburys and one was in Elmhurst, IL (near Rebecca’s home in Elgin), and Rebecca found that one, too!

To learn more about the other kit homes we’ve found in Lake Mills, click here.

Thanks to Sandra Spann for arising with the sun and getting these photos for me!

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Sears Newbury, as it appeared in the 1936 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

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This classic Dutch Colonial was really not that spacious.

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Notice the swoop in the roof as it extends over the wide front porch. On the rear, there's a small cornice return, and it's on a different plane that the front roof.

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The Newbury in Lake Mills is hard to see due to the mature vegetation, but that bellcast (swooping) roof is easy to spot. And you can see the small cornice return on the rear. Sears kit homes came with 12,000 pieces and the Newbury was "Ready Cut" meaning that all framing members were pre-cut and ready to nail into place. However, masonry was not part of the kit and was obtained locally. The catalog page shows a stone chimney but this Newbury has a brick chimney. That's an inconsequential difference. (This photograph is courtesy of Sandra Spann and can not be used or reproduced without written permission. Copyright 2011, Sandra Spann.)

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Sometimes, it's hard to get a good photo because of the trees. (This photograph is courtesy of Sandra Spann and can not be used or reproduced without written permission. Copyright 2011, Sandra Spann.)

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The Sears Newbury from the side. This angle really shows off that bellcast roof (on the front) and the little cornice return on the rear. (This photograph is courtesy of Sandra Spann and can not be used or reproduced without written permission. Copyright 2011, Sandra Spann.)

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Close-up on that cornice return. (This photograph is courtesy of Sandra Spann and can not be used or reproduced without written permission. Copyright 2011, Sandra Spann.)

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What an awesome house! Notice the swoop! (This photograph is courtesy of Sandra Spann and can not be used or reproduced without written permission. Copyright 2011, Sandra Spann.)

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The original catalog page with those two elements (cornice return and bellcast) highlighted.

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Here's a Newbury in Elmhurt, Illinois.

Amongst the pictures that Sandy sent me, I saw a picture of the garage. For a moment, I thought it might be a Sears garage, so I got out my early 1920s Sears Modern Garage catalog (true story), and saw a garage that was close…

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Oooh, could it be?

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Okay, so it's not a Sears garage, but whomever built this little jewel really showed a sensitivity to the period of the house and created a garage that really reflects the style of the Sears Newbury. In addition to the clipped gable, the roof pitch and eaves and soffit are also a good match. Very nicely done! (This photograph is courtesy of Sandra Spann and can not be used or reproduced without written permission. Copyright 2011, Sandra Spann.)

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The existing garage in Lake Mills looks a lot like this Sears kit garage, but it's enlarged a bit.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn about Aunt Addie’s unfortunate demise in Lake Mills, click here.

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