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Posts Tagged ‘murder in lake mills’

500,000th Visitor To This Website!

December 16th, 2012 Sears Homes 5 comments

Yesterday, this website had its 500,000th visitor.

That’s pretty exciting news.

Since 1999, I’ve been writing and talking about Sears Homes. In August 2010, I started “blogging regularly” at this site. And then in June 2011, a new topic appeared: Addie Hoyt Fargo. She was my great Aunt, who died under very suspicious circumstances in Lake Mills, Wisconsin in 1901.

Apparently, folks share my interest in these topics, and for that, I’m very grateful.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

To read about my beautiful aunt Addie, click here.

Interesting in learning more about the rich and complex funeral customs of the late 19th Century? Click here.

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Addie Hoyt Fargo and Anna Hoyt Whitmore were sisters. Anna Hoyt was my great-great grandmother, and the Hoyt family moved to Lake Mills in the early 1840s.

Addie Hoyt Fargo and Anna Hoyt Whitmore were sisters. Anna Hoyt was my great grandmother. The Hoyt family moved to Lake Mills in the early 1840s. Anna was born in 1866 and Addie was born in 1872. In this photo (taken about 1889), Addie is on the left.

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This picture was taken on Addies wedding day in February 1896. Was this photo taken on the same day as the first photo shown above (with the cape)? I dont think so, but its hard to know for sure.

This picture was taken on Addie's wedding day in February 1896.

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This photo, taken in 1894, really showcases Addies elegance and sophistication. She came from a wealthy family.

This photo, taken in 1894, really showcases Addie's elegance and sophistication. She came from a wealthy family.

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I love it that theres a mink *in* her hat.

I love it that there's a mink *in* her hat.

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A photo of Addie in her bedroom at the Fargo Mansion (Lake Mills) in the late 1890s.

A photo of Addie in her bedroom at the Fargo Mansion (Lake Mills) in the late 1890s.

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This photo was taken in the early 1890s in Lake Mills. It was titled Addie and her pony. I found it at the Lake Mills Library.

This photo was taken in the early 1890s in Lake Mills. It was titled "Addie and her pony." I found it at the Lake Mills Library during a research trip in November 2011.

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A photo of Addie

As shown in this photo, Addie was a snappy dresser.

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To read about Addie’s exhumation, click here.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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And Then Julia Contracted Scarlet Fever…

February 23rd, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

Thursday evening, after some diligent searching, I found the obituary for Julia Hawley Hoyt, Addie’s mother. The microfilm was so badly faded that the text was barely legible, but I did find it.

As I expected, Julia Hawley Hoyt never made it back to Lake Mills after November 30, 1894. She left her home in Lake Mills, Wisconsin after Thanksgiving to rush out to Denver, Colorado. Her eldest daughter (Anna Hoyt Whitmore) was sick with Scarlet Fever, as was Anna’s whole family (husband and three children, ages six, three and one).

The trek from Chicago to Denver took 26 hours. Julia would have arrived into Denver on December 1st. That was the day that little Ernie, Anna’s eldest child, died from the Scarlet Fever.

According to the obituary I found in the Lake Mills Leader Julia Hoyt contracted Scarlet Fever while she was there in Denver, and died in May, almost six months later.

Obituary

Died, at San Mateo, California, May 9th (1895), Mrs. Julia Hoyt of Lake Mills, Wisconsin at the age of 51 years. Mrs. Hoyt was born in Milford, Jefferson County in 1844 where she grew to womanhood. She was married to Mr. Homer Hoyt on October 16, 1862 at Milford.  She was the mother of three children, two daughters and one son,  Mrs. Wilbur Whitmore, Denver Colorado, Eugene B. Hoyt, and Miss Addie Hoyt of Lake Mills, all of whom survive to mourn the loss of a gentle and loving mother.


The funeral took place at San Mateo, California May 12th and the deceased was buried beside her father and sister. Mrs. Hoyt was called to Denver about last Thanksgiving time to assist her daughter in the care of her children who were sick with Scarlet Fever and during these tender ministrations contracted the disease, which at last resulted in dropsy causing her death.


As a devoted wife, a kind and loving mother, and a true neighbor, Mrs. Hoyt will long be remember, and her numerous friends will be moved with tenderest sympathy for the mourning children, who must sustain through grief and sorrow their irreparable loss.

“No more to hear her voice of love,

Nor feel her touch so kind,

waiting until the shadows move,

Revealing the beyond.”

From what I can glean, Addie was not able to attend her mothers funeral in San Mateo. That would also have been difficult. Addie last saw her mother around Thanksgiving 1895, when Julia Hoyt went to Denver to help Annas family deal with Scarlet Fever.

Addie last saw her mother around Thanksgiving 1894, when Julia Hoyt (shown here in 1888) went to Denver to help Anna's family deal with Scarlet Fever. Julia never returned to Lake Mills. While providing nursing duties to her family in Denver, she contracted Scarlet Fever which developed into "dropsy" or severe swelling, most likely occasioned by heart or kidney failure. This was a common cause of death from Scarlet Fever. Julia died May 1895, six months after her visit to Denver.

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How did beautiful young Addie end up with a troll like Enoch? Thats a good question. Losing her mother must have been tough, and in 1893, 94 and 95, there were a lot of losses for Addie. Perhaps she was so stricken with grief, she couldnt think clearly.

How did beautiful young Addie end up with a troll like Enoch? That's a good question. Losing her mother must have been tough, and in 1893, 94 and 95, there were a lot of losses for Addie. Perhaps she was so stricken with grief, she couldn't think clearly. Addie is shown here with her sister, Anna (right), who moved to Denver in 1887.

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Apap

This notice appeared in the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper) on December 6, 1894.

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Anna Hoyt Whitmore had three children, two of whom survived their bout with Scarlet Fever. Ernie did not, and he died on December 1, 1894.

Anna Hoyt Whitmore had three children, two of whom survived their bout with Scarlet Fever. "Ernie" did not, and he died on December 1, 1894.

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Ernie

Ernie's obit was published in both the "Denver Rock Mountain News" and the "Lake Mills Leader."

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Victor survived

Florence Whitmore and her baby brother "Victor" both survived Scarlet Fever in 1894. They're shown here in 1895, one year after Ernie's death.

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How did Addie

Between 1893 and 1895, Addie lost six of her closest family members to death, and her brother and sister moved out of the area. These eight losses left Addie isolated and alone and vulnerable. Nine months after the last death (her mother's passing in May 1895), Addie married Enoch. It was a mistake that would have fatal consequences. And Addie's "aloneness" in the world made it easier for Enoch to get away with murder - literally.

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“Every funeral tradition of the time was violated by this burial” (Yes, it’s really as interesting as it sounds).

To read more about little Ernie, click here.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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“Every Funeral Tradition of the Time Was Violated By This Burial…”

February 9th, 2012 Sears Homes 6 comments

“In 1901, a death in a small town was a community event, and in a town with only 1800 people, death was a big event.”

That’s one of about three dozen amazing tidbits I learned about funeral customs during my conversation with Marty Mitchell, Funeral Director of Mitchell Funeral Home in Marshalltown, Iowa. Marty has a special interest in early 20th Century burial customs, and has an amazing collection of artifacts from that period.

A social slap in the face to the community.

“The funeral of this young wife of the town’s most prominent citizen would have been a very elegant and elaborate affair,” he told me. “Addie’s sudden death would have captured the whole town’s interest, and everyone would have turned out for the viewing and then later, attended the funeral. The lack of a proper funeral for this 29-year-old woman - who died so suddenly - would have been a social slap in the face to the community.”

Mr. Mitchell couldn’t understand how all this could have transpired in less than eight hours.

“It would have been totally unacceptable for a community to wake up the next the day and find out, ‘Enoch’s wife died last night and Addie’s already in the ground.’ The immediate burial - dead at 2:00 a.m., and buried by 10:00 a.m. - would have been quite a scandal. People in town would have been wondering what in the world was going on.”

Diphtheria equals fast burial? Not really.

I asked about the claim that a communicable disease prompted the fast burial. Mr. Mitchell made the point that a century ago, it was contagious disease that usually took the lives of children, and yet they were not tossed into the ground immediately and unceremoniously. In fact, their funerals were also fairly elaborate affairs with embalming, wakes, viewing, and finally a burial. Typically, a Victorian-era funeral spanned about three days, from death to interment.

Arsenic and old lead.

In 1901, embalming fluid was made with arsenic and lead, and it was a powerful disinfectant.

“The funeral director would never even have questioned the family about the embalming, like we do today,” he told me. “They just would have set up the embalming fluid and started right in. And there’s a fair chance he wouldn’t have even asked about the cause of death.”

Addie’s black shoes.

As I suspected, Addie’s black dress shoes were also a point of interest.

In 1901, a woman’s shoes were removed when their body was prepared for burial, and “burial slippers” were then placed on their feet. Mr. Mitchell explained that burial slippers were made of CLOTH, not leather, and they would not have endured through the years.

Remembering the remnants of black leather lace-up shoes found in Addie’s grave - with their 1-1/2″ heel - I asked Mr. Mitchell, “Is it possible that burial shoes would have had a heel?”

His reply was, “No, there was no heel. In fact, these shoes didn’t have soles, like you’d find in a pair of everyday shoes, but just cloth bottoms. And the bottoms were just a piece of fabric that was sewn on. These slippers had a type of elastic band so you could slip them easily onto the deceased’s feet.”

“Your aunt must have died in those black boots and was then carried right out to the grave,” he told me, “because if a funeral director was involved in preparing her body, those shoes would have been removed, and the burial slippers would have been put on her feet. She would not have been buried in walking shoes. There’s just no way.”

Addie was murdered.

The black shoes prove that Addie was murdered, and that old Enoch didn’t even have the decency to give his young wife a proper burial. If Addie was sick, those shoes would have been removed when she went to bed. If her body was prepared for burial, those shoes would have been removed and burial slippers put on in their place.

Ah, but there’s still more.

“Addie should have been buried in the best casket that was available,” he told me. “From what you’ve described, it sounds like an oak coffin, which was not the best. Mahogany and cypress would have been higher end. It doesn’t sound like Addie’s coffin was either one of those, because they don’t rot.” (All that remained of Addie’s coffin were small slivers of wood inside the sterling silver coffin handles.)

Cast-iron caskets.

“And if Enoch was claiming that diphtheria was the cause of death, her casket should have been either metal or cast iron. And I’m sure that a funeral home would have recommended a vault for someone of Addie’s prominence.”

According to Mr. Mitchell, vaults were widely used in this time period, commonly made of metal or brick. Less commonly, pre-formed concrete slabs were inserted into the grave. The vaults had no bottom, just sides and a top. They were expensive, so it was the well-to-do who had vaults for their loved ones.

And what about Addie’s shallow grave? Mr. Mitchell explained that traditional grave depth was planned to provide a minimum of three feet of earth atop the casket. Adding in the casket’s height and a domed vault, created a grave depth of about six feet.

When I told him that Addie’s remains were found at 34″, he said, “Wow, that’s a very, very shallow grave.”

He explained: “One of the reasons that we make sure there’s three feet of earth on the casket is because of animal intrusion. Given the other facts in this burial, I almost wonder if that was intentional. Once animals invade a grave, they’ll divide up the body and carry it off.  Our funeral home is right in the middle of Iowa, and years ago, we had a grave with a crushed lid, and the animals dug into it and they took everything off in different directions. There was nothing to re-inter. I almost wonder Enoch buried her in a shallow grave intentionally, thinking that animals would deal with her remains.”

In conclusion, I think Mr. Mitchell is right. I think an animal did deal with Addie’s remains, but it was the two-legged kind.

To read part II of this blog, click here.

Dr. Peterson

This photo really shows the shallowness of Addie's grave. The day of exhumation, we arrived with buckets and ladders and ropes and shovels, ready to dig down to six to eight feet. This grave is just beyond knee-deep.

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Dr. Fred Anapol and a student examine Addie's remains.

exhume

Dr. Peterson and Dr. Anapol carefully extricate old bones from the grave site.

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Addie's days in a shallow grave are now over.

Addie on her wedding day, February 1896. She was 24.

Addie on her wedding day, February 1896. She was 24.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

To see Addie in her beautiful dresses, click here.

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What The Medical Examiner Told Me About Addie…

December 3rd, 2011 Sears Homes 21 comments

Addie was exhumed on November 3, 2011, and taken to Milwaukee for an autopsy. To read why this was done, click here. To read the latest, click here.

Two weeks after the exhumation, I talked with the medical examiner by phone, and he gave me a full report.

Perhaps the most important thing that needs to be known is that the autopsy results were inconclusive.

Inconclusive.

Based on the email and the comments received, a lot of people are very fuzzy on what that means.

It means this:  The autopsy did not prove that Addie was murdered (due to both the lack of skeletal remains and their poor condition), and it did not prove that she was not murdered.

Let me share something else the medical examiner told me in that conversation on November 17th at 10:28 in the morning. He said, and I quote, “We didn’t have a lot of [Addie's] skull.”

While her lower jaw was found, with several teeth still in place, her upper jaw and teeth were not found. Nor was her face (the skull bones underlying her face). Nor were a few other pieces and parts.

That’s one of the reasons that the results were inconclusive. You can’t make a definitive finding when there’s a lack of physical evidence.

That’s the first important point, and here’s the second. In Mary Wilson’s book (The History of Lake Mills), she writes, “A number of persons who knew Mr. Fargo will tell the same story - he shot Addie!” (page 274).

Mary Wilson doesn’t say, Enoch shot Addie in the head. She says, Enoch shot Addie.

I asked the medical examiner, if there’d be any evidence now - 110 years later - of a gunshot wound to the chest, and he said no.

Further, he said that “most of Addie’s ribs were broken,” (that’s another direct quote), and it’s likely that the breaks happened post-mortem, but it’s impossible to know for sure. Her remains were in very poor condition, and that made it difficult to test for much of anything.

Poor Addie, buried in that shallow grave - above the frost line - was not far from returning to dust.

“It hard to make sense of whether or not there was foul play,” he told me.

And he added, forensic science “is like a camera. The further away you get from the subject, the harder it is to see.”

And 1901 is a long, long way from 2011.

He added, “That’s the problem with these contemporary criminal dramas like CSI. They create unrealistically high expectations.”

In conclusion, Addie’s autopsy was inconclusive.

Again, that simply means that the autopsy did not prove that Addie was murdered (due to both the lack of skeletal remains and their poor condition), and it did not prove that she was not murdered.

Several people have sent thoughtful emails saying that they’re sorry I wasn’t able to get “closure,” and while I appreciate their kindness, the fact is, I’m glad I did this. Finding her buried in a shallow grave, coupled with the discovery that she was wearing dress shoes was enough for me to know - I did the right thing.

Further, I’ve also received many notes from people who knew Mary Wilson personally, and they affirm that she was a trustworthy source, and that she would not have fabricated such a fantastic story.

Did Enoch murder Addie? Mary Wilson certainly thought so.

The autopsy was inconclusive, but based on the amazing paper trail that Oatway left behind, it is clear that Addie Hoyt did not die of diphtheria, which begs the question, what happened to Addie, that those present at her death felt they had to fabricate the story of diphtheria. What were they trying to cover up? And there is also the fact that Enoch remarried seven months after Addie died, and in fact, he married the woman that had been living in the Fargo Mansion when Addie died.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

You can find Addie on Facebook. Search for Addie Hoyt Fargo in Lake Mills.

To learn about Addie and Annie (her sister), click here.

Addie in 1894, two years before she married Enoch.

Addie in 1894, two years before she married Enoch.

Addie

Addie (left) was 15 when this photo was taken (in 1887), and her life was already half over. She was 29 years old when she was killed. On the right is Addie's sister, Anna Hoyt (my great-grandmother). Anna (right) was 21 and was already married to Wilbur Whitmore and living in Denver, Colorado.

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Addies foot stone still remains at her empty tomb.

Addie's head stone in Lake Mills is now a cenotaph. Her remains are now in Norfolk with me, and the rest of her family. No more shallow graves for Addie.

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Some of the nasty notes I get from anonymous nuts purport to tell me that this is not a shallow grave.  Given that the frost line is 3-4 feet, and given that the traditional burial depth is 6-8 feet, Id have to say that this picture is worth a whole lot of words.

Some of the nasty notes I get from anonymous trolls try to tell me that this is not a shallow grave. Given that the frost line in Wisconsin is 3-4 feet, and given that the traditional burial depth is 6-8 feet, I'd have to say that this picture is worth a whole lot of words.

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Turns out, we didnt need those ladders and buckets and ropes to excavate the grave. It was knee-deep in places.

Turns out, we didn't need those ladders and buckets and ropes to excavate the grave. It was about knee-deep in places. This was alarming. Assuming a coffin height of 18", the top of Addie's coffin was only about 16" below the grass.

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And there is now enough circumstantial evidence that one thing is clear; Diphtheria was not the cause of death.

Enoch was so arrogant he didn't even worry about getting caught in his lies. Despite strongly worded state laws, the Fargo Mansion was never quarantined or fumigated, following the "tragic loss" of Addie to diphtheria. You'd think that he'd at least follow the law, to create the appearance of diphtheria, especially since he'd lost his nine-year-old daughter (Myrtle) in 1887, when quarantine laws were not followed expeditiously. Myrtle (born 1878) contracted Typhoid (and died from it) when she got into a neighbor's burn pile and played with an infected doll. She was nine years old.

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Addie, shortly before her death.

Addie, shortly before her death.

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Addie in 1895, and in 1901. Life with Enoch was very, very hard.

Addie in 1896, and five years later, 1901. Life with Enoch was very, very hard.

Was she beaten? Its certainly possible. Look at her lip and her nose and her right eye.

Was she beaten? It's certainly possible. Look at her swollen lip and her nose and her right eye.

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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.

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

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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 Beautiful Emails from Beautiful People

September 18th, 2011 Sears Homes 5 comments

Since Addie’s story appeared on a popular genealogy blog, the readership at my website has gone way up, and in five days, I’ve had more than 7,000 new visitors, which is a lot. The great majority of the comments and emails I’ve received from the new readers were supportive, but some of them were just filled with vitriol and hatred. Really bad stuff.

I’ve now learned that two of the nastiest comments came from two someones who subscribe to the Crab Theory, better known as Schadenfreude.  (By the way,  you know who you are, and I do too, and we’ll be praying that the light of God’s love will shine into your dark, troubled soul and bring you peace.)

But let’s get back to those beautiful emails!

One of the best (and most well thought out) comments came from Susan Waggoner of New York.

A friend in Lake Mills sent me the link to the Sears site, because she knows I’m a history and architecture buff. I was sad to read that Addie died so young. But even before I learned of all the suspicions surrounding that, I thought it was an odd death because I’d thought of diphtheria as a killer of children and the elderly.

After reading everything else Addie-related here, I looked up diphtheria. For someone of Addie’s age, the mortality rate was only between 5 and 10%! Moreover, diphtheria has a short incubation period, then rapid onset that peaks quickly, so any prolonged “mystery illness” would have been unrelated. I didn’t see any mention in the obits about a diphtheria epidemic going on concurrently, and if there wasn’t, how would she have gotten it, since the Fargos hardly lived in squalid, third world circumstances.

I wish I knew more about Martha (”Maddie”).  If Addie was 29, Martha would have been 28. A woman 28 and unmarried in that era didn’t have a lot of options, other than office work, and these people seem too upper class for that. She might have been quite jealous of Addie and eager — or desperate — to take her place. Perhaps it was she who gave Addie a not-so-gentle shove into eternity.

If EJ Fargo was already having an affair with Martha, what would his motive be for something as high-risk as killing Addie? There were lots of what were referred to as “odd women” — i.e., spinsters (”odd” as in odds and evens, not peculiar) — in that era, and it was seen as something of a masculine duty to take on a wife’s unmarried sister or close female relative.

Lots of men in the Victorian era (including Freud and Dickens) had their wives’ sisters living with them. No one batted an eye, so the arrangement could have gone on indefinitely on whatever terms it was. If, however, Martha killed Addie, EJ would probably have pressured the doctor to falsify the death certificate in order to avoid scandal and be left with at least one wife.

Another consideration with Martha — arsenic would have been more of a woman’s method than a man’s. Men don’t have the patience for it. And a wealthy man like EJ buying it would have raised eyebrows, whereas women, even well-off ones, would buy it to control kitchen rodents.

Susan, your comment above is the VERY reason I started blogging about Addie in the first place! One, I wanted to share her story so that this beautiful, intelligent and interesting 29-year-old woman wouldn’t be forgotten, and two, I was hoping the smart women in the world would take an interest in this story and provide fresh insight and new information. I know a lot about old houses, but not so much about arsenic, diphtheria and high society in the late 1800s.

So first, thank you for your wonderful note! And all the facts that you’ve stated above are concurrent with what I’ve learned.

Secondly, I’ve also wondered if Maddie was complicit in Addie’s death. Maddie’s life was not an easy one, to say the least. If you click here, you’ll see the talk I gave in Lake Mills, where I discuss Maddie’s past in some detail.

Here’s the short version.

“Maddie” (Martha Harbeck Hoyt Fargo) was born August 12, 1873 to 19-year-old Marie Harbeck of Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Marie was the daughter of William and Elizabeth (Betsy) Harbeck. From what we can glean from old records, Marie was not married at the time of Maddie’s birth, which in 1873 would have been quite remarkable (okay, scandalous).

In 1879, Marie (mother of Maddie) married Henry Hoyt and moved out of her parent’s home in Lake Mills. Marie Harbeck and Henry Hoyt had four children together (born from 1881-1891). According to census records, Marie’s first child (young Maddie Harbeck) remained behind with her grandparents. For a little girl growing up in small-town 1870s America, this must have been devastating.

In the eyes of Victorian society, this child was “illegitimate” (a term I personally disdain), and that must have been hard, but that pain must have been multiplied when her mother remarried, created a new family, and then left Maddie behind with the grandparents.

It was in later years that Maddie took on the name “Hoyt,” but in fact, she was not blood kin to the Hoyts. Further, Henry Hoyt (Maddie’s step-father) and Addie Hoyt (my aunt) are not related. So the four children of Henry Hoyt were not related to the children of Homer Hoyt (father of Addie and Anna), and Maddie was not blood kin to either Henry Hoyt or Homer Hoyt.

What is truly incredible is Maddie’s grandmother’s (Elizabeth Harbeck’s) maiden name:  Fargo.

There’s an old story that Maddie Harbeck and Addie Hoyt were cousins, but (as mentioned above), that’s not true. However, it’s certainly possible that Elizabeth Fargo Harbeck and Enoch J. Fargo were related and perhaps even cousins. That’s conjecture. I don’t really know.

Back to Maddie:  Her early years could not have been easy ones. The 1900 census shows 28-year-old Maddie living with her mother and step-father (Henry Hoyt) at their home in Lake Mills. It’s then that Maddie’s name appears as “Hoyt,” and her relationship to “head of household” is listed as “step-daughter.”

Sometime before Addie’s death (June 1901), Maddie allegedly moved into the Fargo Mansion. I don’t have any written documentation on that, but it’s part of the old story.

For about three months, I’ve studied and even memorized these old pictures from Addie’s two photo albums, but just four days ago I glimpsed something that I had missed before.

Addie trusted Maddie.

There are about 30 photos in these albums, depicting Addie’s life in Lake Mills. The only human beings shown in this album are Addie, Enoch, and Addie’s two step-children (Elsie and Mattie), and…

Maddie.

I just don’t think Addie would have gone to the trouble and expense of including a photo of Maddie in her photo album - a photo album she sent home to her family in Denver - unless Maddie was someone important in her life. I think Maddie was a friend to Addie.

And I think that there’s a fair chance that your theory about Maddie is correct, which is very sad.

If you were Maddie, and your own mother had walked out of your life when you were six years old, and this wealthy older gent shows up and promises the moon and the stars to you when you’re in your late 20s, unmarried, living an unsatisfying, lonely life, there’s a chance you’d do anything and everything to become part of his life, to have a home of your own, and to have one chance at the “happy ever after” you’ve seen pass by too many times to count.

It’s a theory.

Maddie and Enoch were married February 17, 1902, a scant eight months after Addie’s death (June 19, 1901). Victorian (Edwardian?) mourning rituals required a mourning period of 12 months. It would have caused quite a stir for a marriage to take place during the mourning period.

Enoch died in 1921 in Tarpon, Florida. Originally, I’d believed that Maddie was living in California at the time, but I’ve discovered new evidence that suggests she was in Lake Mills at the time of Enoch’s death. I’m still trying to sort that out. I do know that Maddie remained in Lake Mills until her death in 1964.

I wish I knew more about Maddie, but that’s everything I’ve got.

In addition to Susan’s email (quoted above), I’ve received many others - as powerful and beautiful and insightful  - and I’ll write about those in a few days.  :)

Addies friend, Maddie Harbeck Hoyt (no relation to Addie), who became Enochs third wife eight months after Addie died.

Addie's friend, Maddie Harbeck Hoyt (no relation to Addie), who became Enoch's third wife eight months after Addie died.

Maddie

Love the dress!

Maddie - close up.

Maddie - close up.

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Maddie and Enoch were married eight months after Addie's death.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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Addie Hoyt Fargo: 1872-1901

September 2nd, 2011 Sears Homes 7 comments

Did Enoch kill Addie? According to Enoch’s own granddaughter, the answer is a simple “yes.”

Did Enoch beat Addie? That’s unknown, but I do know that Addie’s face is badly bruised in this photo, the last known photo of Addie, taken a few weeks before she died.

To understand all that this photo represents, you need to think about a woman’s life 100 years ago in America. Women were considered to be more like children than equal partners.

Think about the word “hysterectomy,” as one tiny example.

One hundred years ago, the uterus was considered to be the source of a woman’s hysteria and in removing the uterus, a woman would be shed of her proclivity for hysteria, hence the term, hysterectomy.

One hundred years ago, if a woman “got out of line,” it was her husband’s prerogative - perhaps even his duty - to smack her around a little bit.

And judging by these photos, Enoch did just that. In this photo, it appears that her nose may have been broken. The philtrum (indent between upper lip and nose) is no longer centered on the upper lip (as it was in the wedding photo). Symmetry is part of what makes a human face beautiful, and in the wedding photos, Addie had perfectly symmetrical lips.

That’s no longer the case. The lower lip is significantly swollen, and the cupid’s bow on her upper lip is also misaligned, with Addie’s right side being much larger than the left. The area under her right eye is also swollen.

Addie

This was the last known photo of Addie Hoyt Fargo. She was 29 years old here, but looked to be a woman in her 40s. Addie bears little resemblance to the beautiful young girl of 24 (photos below) that married Enoch in February 1896. This photo album was full of happy photos of Addie as a beautiful young girl, with this one lone exception. In this photo, she looks awful. She gifted this photo album to her brother-in-law Wilbur Whitmore, and it was inscribed, "Merry Christmas, from Addie to Wilbur." I believe that she was trying to tell them, "Look at me. I will not survive in this marriage. Help me."

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Look in her eyes. That sweetness and naivete, present in those early photos is gone.

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Twenty-nine year old Addie looks radically different from 24-year-old Addie because her hairline has receded dramatically. In the wedding photo, Addie's hairline follows a smooth contour around her forehead with a slight widow's peak at the top. Now her hairline (especially across her forehead) is a ragged edge. When I googled "arsenic poisoning," receding hairline and hairloss was one of the first hits.

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Darker image of Addie. Note the lip, philtrum and nose, and also the receding hair line.

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Comparison of Addie's wedding photo with the older photo. Notice the eyebrows (missing on the right). Most pronounced is that hairline. Plus, her hair has thinned out and is more wiry on the right.

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This shows the remarkable difference in the hairline.

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Comparison of Addie's lips, showing the swelling and misalignment (on the latter photo on right).

This appeared in the local paper about three weeks after Addies death. The legend tells that diphtheria provided Enoch with just the excuse he needed to get Addie in the ground immediately, before anyone discovered that shed died from a gunshot wound. Her funeral was held at 10:00 am the morning after shed been shot. Supposedly, she died around 2:00 am. Pretty fast burial.

This appeared in the local paper about three weeks after Addie's death. Local lore says that the pronouncement of diphtheria provided Enoch with just the excuse he needed to get Addie in the ground that same night - before anyone discovered that she'd died from a gunshot wound. Her funeral was held at 10:00 am the morning after she'd been shot. Supposedly, she died around 2:00 am. Pretty fast burial. It's also interesting to note that this was *NOT* the typical progression of this disease.

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This appeared on the "Society Page" several days after Addie's death.

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Addie's death certificate, signed by William H. Oatway. As public health officer, Oatway also certified the truth of the facts on this certificate. He also couldn't be bothered to fill out the date of birth (beyond the year). Parents' names were listed as Mr. Hoyt and Mrs. Hoyt. To say that he did this in a mad rush, would be an understatement. It is shameful.

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My great-grandmother (Anna Hoyt Whitmore) was 44 in this photo. Anna (left) and Addie (right) were sisters. Addie was 29 in this photo. In addition to the two Hoyt sisters, there was a brother (Eugene) but he never married or had children, living in boarding houses and moved around seeking work as a machinist. I've posted this photo to show what Addie might have looked like as she aged. Anna Hoyt Whitmore (left) lived to be 99 years old.

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Addie was a beautiful young woman.

My favorite photo of all.

Addie Hoyt's room, where she was allegedly killed.

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. This photo was captioned, "All of us." Date of photo is not known.

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

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The Fargo Mansion today in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. Photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson and may not be reproduced without written permission.

On Sunday, September 4th, I’ll be giving a talk about Addie in Lake Mills. To learn more, click here.

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Was Aunt Addie Shot in the Head? Part IV - UPDATED

July 22nd, 2011 Sears Homes 6 comments

When I started writing these blogs in late June 2011, I was still learning vast amounts of new information every day.

The original blog that appeared on this page has been revised and updated, and below you’ll find a plethora of the most up-to-date information that I have available.

So, was Aunt Addie shot in the head? According to Mary Wilson’s book (A History of Lake Mills, published 1983), Addie was murdered by her husband, Enoch J. Fargo. A cover-up story was contrived (diphtheria) to hide the truth. Wilson also states that Addie’s physician, William Oatway, participated in the cover-up, falsifying Addie’s death certificate.

That’s the story. To read more about the background of this story, click here. (The autopsy was inconclusive. To read about that, click here.)

It looks like Mary Wilson was right. Below are the facts that we’ve discovered along the way.

1) Addie Hoyt Fargo was buried without a burial permit, and this was a violation of Wisconsin state law. The county health officer was Dr. Oatway, and as county health officer, he knew that failure to obtain a burial permit was a direct violation of state law. These laws had been created specifically to help track and mitigate the spread of contagious disease.

Yet on Addie’s death certificate, Dr. Oatway stated that a burial permit had been obtained, and it was “burial permit #32″ (see below). Permit #32 belonged to Alinda Hornily who died on March 26, 1902 (these permits were in chronological order).

The absence of a burial permit is very compelling evidence, and tells us, a) Oatway did falsify the death certificate, b) Oatway knowingly violated state law by signing off on the death certificate and then certifying it as true (while knowing it was false), c) A funeral director was not involved in Addie’s burial (or if he was, he was also complicit, because he knew the death certificate was a falsified document because there was no corresponding burial permit).

2) The burial permit was a STATE document, but the death certificate was NOT a state document. If a burial permit had listed diphtheria as the cause of death, the state *may* have investigated. When a contagious disease occurred, there were protocols required to prevent the spread of disease. For instance, state law required that a home be fumigated after death from contagious disease had occurred and personal possessions be burned or buried. A burial permit listing diphtheria as the cause of death would have raised a red flag. Oatway, entrusted with the position of County Health Officer knew this, so he lied on the death certificate and never obtained a burial permit for Addie. Doing this meant that the diphtheria story stayed local, and the information would probably not reach the state.

3) The State Board of Health (in Wisconsin) was formed in 1876 to track and mitigate the spread of contagious disease. Each county health officer had to answer this statement in his annual report: “Are the laws requiring the issuance of burial permits enforced?” Oatway, in 1901, stated that yes, the laws requiring the issuance of burial permits were enforced in Lake Mills.

4) Oatway, being a county health officer, also certified Addie’s death certificate, meaning he swore that it was true and accurate. That’s especially egregious.

5) In Addie’s obituary (probably written by Oatway), he goes on at length, describing Addie’s fast-acting Ninja Stealth Diphtheria as the most virulent, fast-acting strain he’d ever seen, that prevailed even in the face of aggressive treatment and modern medical care. It’s quite a prosaic obit, and the doctor is the saddened hero in the story.

6) SO it’s the most virulent strain, the fastest-acting strain, and no modern treatment could bring it into subjugation. And Addie was married to Lake Mill’s wealthiest resident, largest employer, and they were living in Lake Mills’ largest mansion. Yet a few months later, in his capacity of County Health Officer, when Oatway files his report with the State Board of Health, he reported that there were no cases of diphtheria in Lake Mills in 1901 (the year Addie died), and no deaths from diphtheria in 1901. Did Oatway lie when he wrote up Addie’s death certificate, or did he lie to the State Board of Health?

7) In the obit, Oatway opines that Addie probably contracted diphtheria during a recent trip to Portage. The newspaper reported she’d traveled to Portage for a convention on June 4th, 1901. Diphtheria germs don’t last longer than 1-4 days. And the county health officer in Portage reported that there were no case of diphtheria in Portage in 1901. There’s that stealth component again. Addie contracted diphtheria in a town with no diphtheria.

8 ) In the obit, Oatway says that Addie died 15 hours after onset, when the membrane formed in her throat, broke off and suffocated her. In the progression of diphtheria, this membrane doesn’t even start to form until 2-3 days after onset (according to the CDC), and children (its most frequent victims) died 4-6 days after onset (if the membrane was the cause of death). Typically, diphtheria killed adults when it settled into their heart and/or brain.

9) Diphtheria was not an automatic death sentence: Far from it, in fact. In 1900, in the state of Wisconsin, the death rate for a diphtheria victim was 13% state-wide, and 9% in small towns (population less than 2,000) and that number included children. If you could take children out of the mix, the rate would probably be less than half that. Children more than five, and adults under 40 had the best chance of surviving a bout of diphtheria. In other words, people Addie’s age (29) had the best chance of surviving diphtheria.

10) During the exhumation, we found that Addie was buried at 34″ which is incredibly shallow. This tells us that Addie’s grave was dug by someone who was not a professional grave digger, in part because of the depth, and in part because there was no burial permit. Before the exhumation, I consulted with several professionals in the funeral business, and they told me that I should be prepared to dig to 6-8 feet to find Addie’s remains. The “freeze line” in Wisconsin is 3-4 feet, and in case of contagious disease, periodical literature recommended that a grave be dug “extra deep” as a protection. Plus, grave robbing was a problem in the late 1800s, and the six-foot depth offered some protection against that.This was NOT a professional grave digger. It’s more likely that this was someone’s hired man, who got tired and stopped at 34″ (or as the sun was rising). On June 19th, 1901, the sun rose at 4:11 am. A professional grave digger would not have stopped at 34″. But whomever buried Addie, put her coffin in the dirt as soon as there was enough clearance to put a layer of topsoil over the grave. After all, who would ever know?

11) The most compelling piece: Addie was wearing her shoes in that grave. The obit says she died at 2:00 am after a valiant struggle with this awful disease and was buried immediately. How many people wear shoes in their sick bed?

12) And a bonus question. If you look at the burial permits (pictured below), you’ll see that the secretary of the cemetery was Robert Fargo (aka “Uncle Bob”). He also happened to be one of Enoch’s neighbors there on Mulberry Street. It would have been very easy to rouse Uncle Bob from his bed at 2:00 am and tell him, “Addie has died. We need to bury her before the sun rises. Can you get us a burial permit immediately?”

Surely, Uncle Bob could have arranged that.

Why didn’t Enoch do that?

To read more about Addie’s exhumation, click here.

To read more about how we know she did NOT die of diphtheria, click here.

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This snippet appeared in the "Report of the State Board of Health" for Wisconsin and covered the the time period during which Addie Hoyt allegedly died of diphtheria.

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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 to falsify a death certificate...

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Stats on diphtheria deaths, as seen in the 1899-1900 "Report of the State Board of Health." In smaller towns, the mortality rate from diphtheria was much less than the statewide average of 13%, and was closer to 9%. In Milwaukee (Wisconsin's largest town with 280,000 residents), the mortality rate was closer to 16.75%.

Addie

Actually, Addie was born in January 1872. Sheesh.

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At the bottom, it does say Addie had a funeral, but that would have been logistically problematic. Dead at two, buried by 10, how did they notify people? Typical Victorian funerals were grandiose affairs; the wealthier the better! More on that below.

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

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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.

Page one of Dr. Bentleys report from Portage, WI. This covered all of 1901.

From the State Board of Health Report, this is the first page one of Dr. Bentley's report from Portage, WI. This covered all of 1901. Page two continues below.

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Dr. Bentley's report on Portage, second page (see top).

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Theres no doubt that life with Enoch took a toll on Addie.

Life with Enoch took a toll on Addie. She was 29 here.

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And why would a woman - who prided herself on her appearance - send this photo to her brother-in-law in Denver? I am confiident she wanted them to know what was happening to her in Lake Mills.

And why would a woman - who prided herself on her appearance - send this photo to her family in Denver? Did she want them to know what was happening to her in Lake Mills?

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Addie: Before and After Enoch. The photo on the right was taken five years after her marriage to Enoch. She was 29 years old, and shed be dead soon after this photo was taken.

Addie: Before and After Enoch. The photo on the right was taken five years after her marriage to Enoch. She was 29 years old, and she'd be dead soon after this photo was taken. Look at her receding hairline and swollen lower lip. Her "cupid's bow" is now misaligned, and there's pronounced puffiness under her right eye.

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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 some happy days at the mansion.

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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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Addies little

Was this what the well-dressed, sick-in-bed diphtheria patient wore in 1901? Based on the remnants found in Addie's grave, these were probably similar to the shoes that Addie was wearing (and was buried with) when she died in June 1901.

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Addie was exhumed on November 3, 2011. She will not be returning to Lake Mills.

Addie was exhumed on November 3, 2011. She will not be returning to Lake Mills. After the autopsy is complete, Addie's remains will be coming home with me.

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Addies grave was empty by 12:00 noon.

Addie's grave was empty by 12:00 noon.

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Addie in 1886 (about 14 years old).

Addie in 1886 (about 14 years old).

Addie - close-up

Addie - close-up

Addie and her sister, Anna Hoyt (my great-grandmother).

Addie and her sister, Anna Hoyt (my great-grandmother).

Addie in 1894, about 18 months before she married Enoch.

Addie in 1894, about 18 months before she married Enoch.

Addie in her traveling clothes

Addie in her traveling clothes

To read more about Addie’s death, click here.

Update as of 11:33 pm on November 24, 2011: Click here and read the comment by SteveWO:

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The Fargo Mansion: A Glimpse Into Another Time

July 9th, 2011 Sears Homes 5 comments

This 1890s photo album was discovered amongst my late father’s treasures and it’s filled with amazing photos.  At first, I had no idea who these people were, but after some digging, I learned these were photos my great Aunt Addie, sister of my great-grandmother. They’re beautiful photos with an amazing bit of detail.

To see a cluster of amazing photos from another time, scroll on down.

To learn more about Addie’s murder, click here.

Please leave a comment if you enjoy the photos!  Thanks to Brice Anderson for running up to Lake Mills, Wisconsin to snap a few photos of the old home place.  All color photos are courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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 with her new husband, Enoch Fargo. Enoch was 22 years older than Addie.

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.

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Contemporary photo of those same steps. The old steps have sunk into the ground a bit. For reasons I don't fully seem able to explain, this photo seems especially haunting. This photo is also courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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Addie should have taken her little traveling suit and bag and made a run for it. In 1901, Enoch shot Addie in the head as she lay sleeping in her bed.

Daughter Elsie beside the stone steps.

Daughter Elsie beside the stone steps.

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).

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.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman, but this is a not-so-beautiful chair. It has faces on the arms and back.

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 her bedroom - where she was shot by her not-so-loving husband.

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Close-up of the bed.

Happier times at the Fargo Mansion

Happier times at the Fargo Mansion

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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 today (or yesterday, actually). 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. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

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View from the street. 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).

Maddie

Maddie (shown above) was Enoch's third wife. He married Maddie seven months after Addie Hoyt's death. If I were Maddie, I would have slept with one eye open. Maddie was said to be a frequent overnight guest at the Fargo Mansion.

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, the papers dutifully recorded, died within 24 hours of her "sickness." In the end, it was lead poisoning that did in Addie, delivered via a revolver at close range.

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Addie Hoyt and Enoch Fargo on their wedding day, 1896.

To learn about my suspicions that Addie suffered from arsenic poisoning, click here.

To read about Addie’s death and hasty burial, click here.

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

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