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Posts Tagged ‘the history of lake mills’

“Every Funeral Tradition of the Time Was Violated By This Burial…” (Part II)

February 13th, 2012 Sears Homes 3 comments

“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,’” said Marty Mitchell, Funeral Director of Mitchell Funeral Home in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Marty has extensive knowledge of turn-of-the-century burial customs, and has an amazing collection of artifacts from that period.

“Addie’s immediate burial - dead at 2:00 a.m., and buried by 10:00 a.m. - would have been quite a scandal,” he told me. “People in town would have been wondering what in the world was going on.”

Based on my reading of more than 75 obituaries from that time period, Marty is (pardon the pun), “dead on.”

For the last few days, I’ve been methodically reading the Lake Mills Leader newspaper on microfilm. Thus far, I’ve read from 1894-1898. And how many of those 75+ obituaries had same-day burials (as in, within 24 hours)?

NONE.

Not one.

Although I’ve not yet sat down and tallied up the precise numbers, there were a few deaths from typhoid, pneumonia, grippe (flu), and consumption (TB), all of which were considered communicable diseases. All of those folks - rich and poor - had proper funeral services, spanning a period of two, three or four days (from death to burial).

Not one of these obituaries tell a bizarre story like Addie’s, of dying in the wee hours and being buried the same morning. Then again, none of these people were married to Enoch James Fargo.

To learn more about Victorian-era funeral customs, click here.

Addies

Addie was buried on June 19th, 1901 in a shallow, hastily dug grave. On November 3, 2011, her body was exhumed. Her remains are now in Norfolk, VA (with her family).

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This obit from September 1898

Charles Ives died from Typhoid in September 1898. It was also considered a highly contagious disease, and yet he was transported by train and buried three days after death.

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Oatway

At the time of Addie's death (June 1901), Oatway was still a neophyte. He'd been a doctor for 2-1/2 years in June 1901 (when Addie died) He'd started his practice the year before in Waterloo.

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Good old genial Dr. Oatway.

Good old genial Dr. Oatway.

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As mentioned in another blog, the anti-toxin was in use by 1895. If Addie *did* have diphtheria - which she did NOT - this anti-toxin had already proven itself to be a good remedy.

As mentioned in another blog, the anti-toxin was in use by 1895. (The article above is from the "Lake Mills Leader," December 19, 1895.) If Addie *did* have diphtheria - which she did NOT - this anti-toxin had already proven itself to be a good remedy. About 90% of the adults who contracted diphtheria survived it. The 10% who perished typically died when the bacteria made its way to their heart or lungs. No one - young or old - died from diphtheria in 15 hours. It took several *days* for the diphtheritic membrane to form, and it was the formation of the membrane (and obstruction of the airway) that killed children.

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When diphtheria was present in a community, the news spread far and wide.

When diphtheria was present in a community, the news spread far and wide, and not surprisingly, it was found in batches. In all my reading, I've yet to find a report of a single isolated case of diphtheria. As mentioned elsewhere, in 1901, the mortality rate for an adult with diphtheria was 9.1%. Almost 90% of the people who contracted diphtheria (more than six and less than 40 years old) survived it. This snippet appeared October 1896.

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Addie and Annie, about 1887. Addie was 15 years old, and her life was half over.

Addie and Annie, about 1887. Addie was 15 years old here, and her life was half over.

To read more about Addie, click here.

To read more about what Elsie Fargo told her daughter, click here.

To learn more about Victorian-era funeral customs, click here.

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The Fargo Mansion in The News - Then and Now

February 11th, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

In the early 1980s, the Fargo Mansion Inn was slated for demolition. The two men who purchased it and saved it (Tom Boycks and Barry Luce) have done a remarkable job of restoring it.

This weekend, this wonderful house (and one of the Innkeepers, Tom Boycks) were featured in the news.

And it’s a very photogenic house. I’ve given 200 lectures in 25 states, and I’ve stayed in a lot of B&Bs, and I can honestly say that the Fargo Mansion Inn was my favorite. Perhaps part of the reason is my family connection. The house belonged to my great, great Aunt Addie and her husband, Enoch J. Fargo. As mentioned in other blogs, the current owners have done a first-class job of restoring this beautiful 7,500-square-foot Queen Anne manse.

In the last few days, David Spriggs and I have been slowly working our way through old editions of the Lake Mills Leader (newspaper) and in the process, we found some fascinating historical tidbits about the grand old house. On a personal note, one of the most interesting tidbits was discovering that my grandmother visited “Aunt Addie’s house” when she was six years old.

To read about the murder of Addie Hoyt, click here.

To learn more about the Fargo Mansion, click here.

To book a room at this magnificent B&B, click here.

Newspaper

Enoch married Addie on February 11, 1896. This notice about the remodeling of the Fargo Mansion appeared in the newspaper on August 13, 1896.

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more here

The same newspaper (August 13, 1896) said that the Fargos had moved into their "cottage by the lake." You might think that was so the work could be done to the "big house" and yet the article says that the Hubbs family had moved in!

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House

On August 27, 1896 the paper said that Mr. Henningson was making good progress on the remodeling of the Fargo Mansion.

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house

As of October 29, 1896, Enoch and Addie's home was "nearing completion."

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house house

On November 12, 1896, Addie and Enoch moved into a corner of the house.

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house warming

The big housewarming was on July 8, 1897, almost a full year after the work had started.

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Florence

In 1887, Anna Hoyt (Addie's sister) married Wilbur Whitmore and moved away from Lake Mills, settling in Denver, Colorado. Anna's first child died at the age of six. Anna's second child ("Florence") was born in 1891. Florence Whitmore (my grandmother) was six years old when she went east to visit "Aunt Addie" in Lake Mills. This item appeared in the Lake Mills Leader on July 8, 1897. Little Florence had traveled - by train - alone from Denver for Addie's big house-warming party.

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My grandmother, Florence Whitmore (Fuller).

My grandmother, Florence Whitmore (Fuller). It was quite something to think that my grandmother had visited Addie and Enoch at their home in Lake Mills.

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Florence

Florence didn't return to Denver until October 26, 1897. This snippet (above) appeared on October 27th. Florence was with her Auntie in Lake Mills for almost four months (from early July to late October . Perhaps even more interesting, six-year-old Florence traveled *alone* from Chicago to Denver. I'd imagine that Auntie took little Florence to Chicago, because there was "non-stop service" from Chicago to Denver.

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Apparently Florence survived that long train ride in 1897.

Apparently little Florence survived that long train ride in 1897. "Grandmother Fuller" lived into her 90s, passing on in 1985. I wish I'd known to ask Florence about Addie.

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Fargo Mansion

Addie put together a photo album for her sister (living in Denver), and in that photo album, there were several pictures of the Fargo Mansion.

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Addie

This was a rarity for this time period: A photo of the bedroom. One of my friends (who's well versed in the ways of Victorian women) asked me, "Was Addie pregnant here?" I told her, "I don't think so." She replied, "This photo really makes me wonder. The rocking chair, the fluffy dress, and the needlework, plus it was very unusual for a woman to permit a professional photographer to take pictures of her in the bedroom."

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Addie in front

Addie in front of the Fargo Mansion.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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Lake Mills Cemetery and Addie’s Family

December 26th, 2011 Sears Homes 9 comments

On November 3, 2011, Addie Hoyt’s remains were exhumed and taken to Milwaukee for an autopsy. Read about the results of that autopsy here.

When I was in Lake Mills (early September and then again in late October), I walked the full breadth and length of the cemetery, looking for my (and Addie’s) relatives. (Addie Hoyt Fargo was my great, great aunt.)

I found more than a few family headstones. And I also found that I have a few questions.

Addie Hoyts remains were removed on November 3rd, 2011. She was Enoch Fargos second wife. According to Enochs granddaughter (Mary Wilson), Enoch killed Addie.

Addie Hoyt's remains were removed on November 3rd, 2011. She was Enoch Fargo's second wife. According to Enoch's granddaughter (Mary Wilson), Enoch killed Addie.

Addies sister (right) was Anna (1866-1966), and Anna married Wilbur W. Whitmore. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Denver.

Addie's sister (right) was Anna (1866-1966), and Anna married Wilbur W. Whitmore. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Denver. Anna is buried in Denver with her husband (1865-1939) and their young son (Ernest Eugene Whitmore, 1888-1894).

Eugene Beech Hoyt was a fairly dapper-looking fellow.

Addie's brother was Eugene Beach Hoyt. He was a fairly dapper-looking fellow.

Addie and Annie had a brother, Eugene.

Is Eugene buried here in Lake Mills, or is this simply a memorial marker?

Homer

Homer Hoyt (the father of Addie, Annie and Eugene) is not buried in Lake Mills. This is a memorial stone at the Lake Mills cemetery. According to this, Homer died in 1894 and is buried in Everett, Washington. Addie's mother died in January 1895, in San Mateo, California. Phebe was a sister of Homer, and she died at the age of 2.

Kim

Kimball Hoyt and Sally Hoyt were Addie's paternal grandparents. They died in 1893 and 1894. Addie lost six relatives between 1893 and January 1895. She lost her father, her mother, her paternal grandparents, her Uncle Smith Hoyt and her nephew (Anna's little boy).

These markers represent several of the Sanborns. Kimball Hoyt married Sally Sanborn, and apparently, there were several Sanborns in Lake Mills in the earlyy 1800s.

These markers represent several of the Sanborns. Kimball Hoyt married Sally Sanborn, and apparently, there were several Sanborns in Lake Mills in the early 1800s. Sally Sanborn Hoyt would have been Addie's father's mother (or Addie's grandmother).

Addie

Addie's foot stone is still in place at the cemetery, but as my friends have pointed out, it's only a marker. Her remains have been removed from this disrespectfully shallow grave. No piece or part of Addie Hoyt remains in the Fargo plot.

I would love to know if Eugene is buried there at the Lake Mills Cemetery. If so, he is the only immediate family member buried there. Addie’s remains have been removed, Anna is buried in Denver (with her husband), and Homer (Dad) is in Everett, Washington. Julia Hawley Hoyt (Addie’s Mom) died (and is probably buried) in California.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

To learn more about Addie and Anna, click here.

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The Beautiful Letters from Beautiful People

December 25th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

In the last six months, more than 22,000 new visitors have come to my website just to learn more about Addie Hoyt Fargo. Her story has also appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and several other newspapers.

According to A History of Lake Mills, Enoch J. Fargo killed his wife Addie Hoyt Fargo (my great, great Aunt), in 1901. On November 3, 2011, I had Addie’s body exhumed, and that’s when we discovered that she’d been buried her in a shallow grave in Lake Mills.  Enoch Fargo allegedly bribed a local doctor to falsify Addie’s death certificate.

As a result of the newspaper stories and the new visitors to this website, I’ve received many supportive and lovely emails. In October, a woman who’s been following Addie’s story contacted me and urged me to push on.

Her story, her insights, and her comments touched me to tears. It was one of the most powerful notes I have ever received in my long career. With her permission, her story is below. Names have been changed.

Several years ago, my only daughter, Emily (age 16) was killed in a car crash. That day I lost my only daughter and my best friend, in one swoop. She knew me better than anyone before, and anyone since. It’s not just a mother’s heart that would tell you that Emily was a special bright young lady. Her teachers, her peers and the community as a whole felt that way too, and they also felt the loss of this remarkable, insightful and precious young woman.

In dealing with my grief then, and even now, my greatest fear was that people would forget her.

And what if my Emily had married someone like Enoch? What if she found herself alone, with no family and no support system and no one to help her? What if there was no one she could call upon when her world was falling apart? What if she died at the hands of a cold hearted, narcissistic, megalomaniac who was bold enough to murder his young wife, rich enough to buy off people and powerful enough to get to away with murder? More specifically, get away with her murder?

What if her soul couldn’t rest because nobody cared enough to reach beyond their own lives and their own busy-ness and their own problems and uncover the truth? What if her remarkable life was reduced to a few gossipy stories, excitedly whispered in the shadows of a small town?

What if the story of her accomplishments, her successes and the stories of her charity, graciousness, gentleness and goodness, were forgotten, and all that remained was this heart-wrenching legend of a tormented soul, trapped in the nightmarish memory of her own murder, aimlessly wandering the hallways of an old house, unable to find her way to the light of God’s love?

And then what if someday, someone discovered Addie’s photos, and started digging into the whole story, and started sharing that story with others, exposing that shadowy gossip to the light of day, so that the soul could finally find rest?

And what a glorious thing it would be, that the story of a 29-year-old woman’s life could be resurrected so many years later, so that she was not forgotten after her death, and so that her real life story could be told, thoroughly and truthfully.

We live, we die. Those who knew us die, and we might be reduced to pictures in a photo album. For someone to take such interest in our being,who never met us face to face, that can only be described as a gift of Love.

I DO believe in spirits. I believe that our life continues on after the body has “breathed its last.”

I read about you tossing those old photo albums and then retrieving them from the trash. I believe Addie is with you, saying “Rose, take this journey. Keep going forward. Don’t give up, and see this journey to the end.”

Rose, please please take this journey Addie gave you. You are meeting wonderful new people, affecting others lives, and enriching your own.

And most importantly, you’re “setting the record straight” about someone else’s remarkable, insightful and precious little girl.

To learn more about Addie’s life and death, click here.

Addie

Addie on her wedding day, February 1896. She was 24 years old. Five years later, she was dead. According to Enoch's own granddaughter, Addie was murdered by Enoch J. Fargo.

Photo

Christmas 1900, Addie sent this leatherette photo album to her brother-in-law. This story started for me when I found this photo album amongst my late father's possessions.

Photos inside the album covered a span of about five years.

Photos inside the album covered a span of about five years.

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The inscription reads "A Merry Christmas to Wilbur, from Addie." Wilbur was married to Anna, Addie's older sister. Wilbur and Anna were married about 1886, and moved to Denver in the late 1880s. Why did Addie send this to her brother-in-law, and not her sister?

Last month, a dear friend created and sent this necklace along to me, to serve as a reminder that Addie is gently holding on to Rose. She said the delicate hands reminded her of Addie (who was very petite). I keep this on the lamp by my night stand, so that I may look at it each night.

Last month, a dear friend created and sent this necklace along to me, to serve as a reminder that Addie is gently holding on to "Rose." She said the delicate hands reminded her of Addie (who was very petite). I keep this on the lamp by my night stand, so that I may look at it each night, and be reminded that I am doing the right thing, and I am not alone.

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

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Tripe

December 23rd, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

Tripe:  noun
1.
the first and second stomachs of a ruminant, especially oxen, sheep, or goats.
2.
Speech or writing, that is wholly false or worthless; rubbish.

Here’s one example of the tripe that is being emailed to me, and also posted on public bulletin boards, where there’s been discussion of Addie Hoyt Fargo, my great, great Aunt.

Please remember this statement below is pure tripe.

“This rumor (that Addie was shot) was put to rest by your forensic team. In an email Pat Theder, Jefferson County Coroner states that he stood by the results of the forensics team.”

I don’t know where this poor, misinformed soul got this information, but it’s wrong.

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

The autopsy results were inconclusive.

Inconclusive.

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.

Lastly, I know of no written report generated by Pat Theder (Jefferson County) and the Coroner’s Office (which is in Jefferson, and is a separate entity from the Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s office).

Honestly, I can’t help but question if such a “written report” exists, because it has NOT been offered (or even mentioned) to Addie’s own relatives, and if such a report does exist, and yet was not supplied to Addie’s own kin, that is inexcusable.

To read more about Addie, click here and here.

Addies autopsy results were inconclusive. Thats a fact.

Addie's autopsy results were inconclusive. That's a fact.

Did Enoch shoot Addie? Mary Wilson (Enoch’s own granddaughter) says that he did. Read more about that 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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Mary Wilson’s Source

December 9th, 2011 Sears Homes 9 comments

To read the updated version of this piece, click here.

Since the articles on Addie have started to appear, I’ve received a surprising number of supportive comments from people who tell me, “I knew Mary Wilson personally, and she was very proud of her book and her work. If Mary Wilson said that Enoch murdered Addie, you can believe that it’s true.”

And that fits in with everything I know about people who love history and people who write books, and Mary Wilson (from all accounts) possessed both of those characteristics.

Wanting to dig deeper into this, I called Tom Boycks today, who (together with Barry Luce) owns the Fargo Mansion Inn in Lake Mills. The first time I met Tom, he proudly displayed his own copy of Mary’s book, The History of Lake Mills, hand-delivered to him almost 30 years ago by Mary Wilson herself.

Tom and Barry knew Mary Wilson very well, and thought very highly of her.

I asked Tom about something that Mary did not address in her book: The source of the story about Addie’s murder.

“Barry and I closed on the mansion in April of 1985,” Tom said. “And it wasn’t long after we closed that Mary Wilson came to the house and introduced herself. The house was still boarded up and it was a real mess in here. Mary Wilson stood right in the foyer, and pointed up at the top of the staircase and said, ‘That’s where my grandfather did Addie Hoyt in - right at the top of the stairs. She was his second wife. To cover it up, he got the doctor to alter the death record.’”

And how does Tom remember that conversation so well?

As they came to know Mary Wilson, she re-told them that story about Addie’s murder, and there was never any deviation from its original telling.

And the source of the story?

Tom said, “Mary Wilson told us that it was her mother, Elsie Fargo Mccammon (Enoch’s daughter), who told Mary about the murder of Enoch’s second wife.  It was Elsie that told Mary about Enoch killing his second wife at the top of the staircase.”

Elsie was born in 1876, so she was a scant four years younger than Addie. At the time of Addie’s death, Elsie was 25 years old, and according to the 1900 census, Elsie was living at the Fargo Mansion.

And speaking as a historian and a mother, this account - handed down from Elsie to Mary - is one of the most important pieces of evidence that Addie Hoyt Fargo was indeed murdered.

Why would a mother tell this fantastic story to her daughter, unless it was true?

By all accounts, Elsie was an upstanding, moral, and respectable member of her community. She picked an ordained Methodist minister (Reverend Charles Mccammon) to be her life partner, and remained married to him until his death in 1946. It does not seem likely that a woman like this would lie to her own child about something so important.

Why did Elsie share this story with Mary? Maybe she didn’t want the story of this crime to be forgotten or lost.

During the exhumation of Addie Hoyt Fargo’s remains, when we found Addie buried in that shallow grave, my first thought was, “Mary Wilson was right. She was right.”

To learn more about the history of the Fargo Mansion, click here.

To learn about visiting the Fargo Mansion, click here.

If you’ve enjoyed reading about Addie, please share this link with others on Facebook!

Elsie

Elsie Fargo was the daughter of Enoch James Fargo and Mary Rutherford Fargo. Elsie married Reverend Mccammon, and they had two children, Paul and Mary. It was Elsie's daughter (Mary Wilson) who wrote the book, "The History of Lake Mills." According to Mary Wilson, her information about Addie's murder came from Elsie Fargo Mccammon.

Mary WilsonElsie Fargo at the Fargo Mansion, about 1899.  Elsie told her daughter, Mary Wilson, that Enoch murdered Addie.
Addie in her bedroom at the Fargo Mansion.

Addie in her bedroom at the Fargo Mansion.

The Fargo Mansion in the late 1890s.

The Fargo Mansion in the late 1890s.

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The People in Addie’s Life and Death

December 9th, 2011 Sears Homes 1 comment

If you’re new to this site, it can be hard to figure out who’s who. For that reason, I’m writing this blog which will give a brief synopsis on the people involved.

Enoch

Enoch James Fargo was the son of a wealthy merchant, Enoch B. Fargo. Enoch James Fargo (1850-1921) married my great, great Aunt, Addie Hoyt, in February 1896.

According to Mary Wilson (Enoch’s granddaughter), Enoch shot Addie. (See page 274 of Wilson’s book, The History of Lake Mills.)

And there’s a lot of specific evidence that support’s Mary Wilson’s statement that Addie was murdered. In other words, Mary Wilson got it right.  When Addie was exhumed, she was found in a shallow grave. That, in and of itself, is very damning. And she was found wearing her shoes, which blows a few holes in the official story of Addie’s death. Read more here.

Addie was my great, great Aunt.

Addie (left) was my great, great Aunt. She's shown here with her sister (Anna) who was my great-grandmother. This photo was taken in 1887, when Addie was 15 years old. Anna would have been 21, and already married. Note the wedding band on Anna's hand.

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Addie in 1894, shortly before her marriage to Enoch James Fargo.

Addie in 1894, shortly before her marriage to Enoch James Fargo.

In the late 1880s, Addie’s beloved sister Anna married and moved to Denver.

In 1893, Addie’s paternal grandfather (Kimball Hoyt) died. In 1894, her paternal grandmother died. Addie probably lived with her grandparents at the time of their death.

These would be hard, hard years for Addie and full of losses.

Addie’s father and nephew (”Ernie”) died in 1894.  Her father’s brother (Addie’s Uncle) also died in 1894.

And then her mother died in January 1895.

Dad

Addie's father (Homer Hoyt) died in 1894.

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cap

Ernie (born 1888) died in 1894. He was six years old.

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Her mother died in early 1895.

Her mother died in January 1895.

This about this for a moment.

Between 1893-1895, Addie buried;

Her Grandmother,

Grandfather,

Uncle Smith Hoyt,

Six-year-old nephew (”Ernie”),

Mother,

and Father.

The six most important people in her life were dead in a period of two years.

And her sister (Anna) had moved away.

Addie was alone in the world, and probably scared to death.

And then she made the worst mistake of her life.

Literally.

She married Enoch James Fargo.

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

Addie married Enoch in February 1896. This is their wedding picture.

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Enoch had been married before, to this woman: Mary Rutherford Fargo.

Enoch had been married before, to this woman: Mary Rutherford Fargo. Mary and Enoch were married July 4, 1876, and had three children. Their first child (Elsie) was born December 1, 1876. Myrtle was born in 1878 and died 1887 (at nine years of age). Their youngest was born in 1884, and her name was Martha, but she was called, "Mattie." Mary Rutherford died in March 1895, and eleven months later, Enoch married young Addie (age 24).

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Elsie

Elsie Fargo was the daughter of Enoch James Fargo and Mary Rutherford Fargo. Elsie married Reverend Mccammon, and they had two children, Paul and Mary. It was Elsie's daughter (Mary Wilson) who wrote the book, "The History of Lake Mills."

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A

Mattie Pauline Fargo was the youngest child of Enoch and Mary. The day before Mattie's graduation, her step-mother (Addie Hoyt) died at the Fargo Mansion. Mattie was slated to give a talk on "The New Pilgrim's Progress" the next day (June 20th, 1901) at her commencement. In October 1922, Mattie Pauline married Dr. C. K. Faber of Junction City, KS.

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Addie was only four years older than Elsie, Enochs oldest daughter.

Addie was only four years older than Elsie, Enoch's oldest daughter. According to long-time Lake Mills' residents, Enoch wasn't a big fan of children. Mary Wilson was not a frequent visitor to the mansion, but grew up hearing about Enoch from her mother, Elsie Fargo (upper right). Addie is seated on the lower left.

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Enoch liked having servant girls in the house.

Enoch being vacuumed by one of two women servants in his employ.

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Ser

The 1900 census shows two servant girls from Germany living at the Fargo Mansion. One is Martha Draeger (perhaps Drager) and the other is Mary Frey or Fry. If Addie was killed in the house, you have to wonder if these two servant girls saw anything.

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Addie and Enoch lived in his pad, The Fargo Mansion.

Addie and Enoch lived in his little bungalow, The Fargo Mansion, in Lake Mills. It's now a bed and breakfast, and it's 7,500 square feet of grandeur and opulence.

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To learn more about the Fargo Mansion, and see a plethora of vintage photos, click here.

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Oatway

Dr. William H. Oatway was Enoch's personal physician, and may have been complicit in the cover-up of Addie's suspicious death. According to Mary Wilson, "He (Dr. Oatway) was quoted then as having said, 'No one was fooled'" by this claim that diphtheria was Addie's cause of death. This paper above shows the bottom-most portion of Addie's death certificate. Oatway was both the attending physician and the County Health Officer. Several months later, when Oatway filled out a report for the State Board of Health, he happily reported that there were no deaths from diphtheria in Lake Mills in 1901. Plus, the burial permit number (shown above) is false.

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Maddie.

In Victorian times, a proper mourning period was 12 months. The townsfolk must have been scandalized when 53-year-old Enoch married his third wife (Martha) a scant seven months after Addie's suspicious death. Martha (shown above) was 28 years old. This photo came from Addie's own picture album, and is captioned, "Mattie" (a nickname for Martha). This tells me that Addie *trusted* Martha. According to Mary Wilson's book, Martha stayed overnight at the Fargo Mansion for several days at a time. Did Enoch kill Addie so that he could marry his true love, Martha? The legend is that Martha was a cousin to Addie, but this is NOT correct. Martha's mother was Marie Harbeck, who married Henry Hoyt in 1880. Martha was born in 1873 and lived with her maternal grandparents, William and Elizabeth "Betsy" Harbeck. Martha died in 1964.

To learn more about the falsified death certificate, click here.

To learn more about Addie’s suspicious death, click here.

To see Addie’s pretty 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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Addie and Her Story

November 29th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

If you’ve enjoyed hearing about Addie Hoyt Fargo, please bookmark this page. You can also sign up at the website to automatically receive an email notification when new blogs are posted. I highly recommend that feature, too.

On the upper right side of the page, there’s an “@” with an orange background and it says, “Email Feed.” Click on that logo, and you can sign up for the automatic email notification. (Your email will not be saved and/or used for any other purpose.)

Many people found out about Addie through Facebook but due to time constraints and other issues (and frankly, problems with Facebook), I’ll be posting less and less there.

As more and more people get interested in this story, more and more facts are coming to light, and it’s my expectation that - before long - we’ll learn a lot more about what happened to Addie on Tuesday night (June 18th), 1901 and Wednesday morning (June 19th).

It’s deeply gratifying to know that Addie’s silence in a shallow grave has come to an end. After 110 years, she has a voice again.

Please share this link with your friends, and spread the word. It’s a fascinating story, and an important story, and with so many good souls working laboriously to get to the truth, something wonderful is bound to happen. Of that, I am sure.

Please stay in touch with Addie via this website. www.searshomes.org

Thank you for caring about Addie.

Rosemary Thornton

thorntonrose@hotmail.com

Addie sitting on the steps of the Fargo Mansion. I love this outfit for its practicality and simple beauty.

Addie sitting on the steps of the Fargo Mansion.

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