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Posts Tagged ‘the hoyt family’

Christmas at the Fargo Mansion

December 12th, 2012 Sears Homes 1 comment

It’s been about a year since I last stayed at the Fargo Mansion Inn in Lake Mills, Wisconsin but the many fond memories of that visit still remain. Many folks in that small, picturesque village showed me so many kindnesses. And two of the kindest, most sincere people I met during that trip were Tom Boycks and Barry Luce, owners of the Fargo Mansion Inn.

Were it not for these two, the 7,500-square foot Queen Anne mansion would have been reduced to several tons of construction debris at the county landfill. It was slated for demolition when they stepped in and bought it, sans heat, plumbing and electricity.

It’s been 25 years since those two saved this house, and today, it’s hard to imagine what Lake Mills would look like without this most impressive manse.

Since purchasing the solid-brick, 112-year-old house, Barry and Tom have poured their heart and soul (and a lot of money) into a thoughtful and thorough restoration. Visiting this house should be high on your “bucket list.” To make a reservation, click here.

The Fargo Mansion first came into my life in Summer 2011, shortly after my father’s death. Amongst his things, I found two old photo albums. One of the albums had an inscription: “Merry Christmas, Wilbur.”

Wilbur was my great-grandfather, but who was Addie Hoyt Fargo? Well, that’s a long story. To learn more about Addie Hoyt, click here.

To see pictures of Addie’s House, all dressed up for Christmas, scroll down!  (Thanks to Jan Vanderheiden for the photos!)

To read about Addie’s special Christmas present to Wilbur in 1900, click here.

To reserve a room at the Fargo Mansion (and see more gorgeous photos), click here.

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Addies house as it appeared in 1896, soon after a major remodeling.

Addie's house as it appeared in 1896, soon after a major remodeling.

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This beautiful house underwent a major remodeling in 1895 and 1896. Today, its a nationally known B&B. Addie would be proud!

This beautiful house underwent a major remodeling in 1895 and 1896. Today, it's a nationally known B&B. Addie would be proud! (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Inside, Tom and Barry have done a beautiful job of decorating the house for the holidays.

Inside, Tom and Barry have done a beautiful job of decorating the house for the holidays. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Addie also did a fine job of decorating, back in 1896.

Addie also did a fine job of decorating, back in 1896. This photo faces the same corner as the contemporary photo shown above. Sadly, that newel post light ("Our Lady of the Naked Light") disappeared in the intervening decades.

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Tom and Barry love this old house, and it really shows.

Tom and Barry love this old house, and it really shows. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Addie loved her house, too.

Addie loved her house, too. In the background, you can see that massive staircase and reception hall. Look at the fretwork and heavy curtains over the doorways.

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house

I love the vintage toys at the base of the tree. This tree sits at the base of the staircase. (Photos are copyright 2011 Jan Vanderheiden and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

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Notice the magnolia leaves on the Electrolier!

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photo

When my father died in June 2011, I found this photo album buried in an old nightstand. Apparently Addie gave this to her brother-in-law Wilbur Whitmore for a Christmas gift.

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Heres a picture of Addie with her older sister, Anna. Anna (born 1866) married Wilbur and moved to Denver. Wilbur and Annas families were both from Lake Mills and theyre my great-grandparents.

Here's a picture of Addie with her older sister, Anna. Anna (born 1866) married Wilbur and moved to Denver. Wilbur and Anna's families were both from Lake Mills and they're my great-grandparents.

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Wilbur and Anna about the time of their engagement (late 1880s).

Wilbur and Anna about the time of their engagement (late 1880s).

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To learn more about the Hoyts, click here.

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

February 24th, 2012 Sears Homes 4 comments

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

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

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

In that piece he states,

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

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

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

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

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

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Five years later, shed be dead.

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

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Kimball

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

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

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

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And then Ernie

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

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

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

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Eugene

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Where’s Addie?

December 13th, 2011 Sears Homes 10 comments

Addie’s been in the news a few times in the last 30 days, and some of these news articles have given conflicting accounts of what will become of her remains.

Last month, after the autopsy was done, her remains were transported from Milwaukee by David Olsen (Olsen Funeral Home) to a crematory, where they were cremated.

Those remains (”cremains” actually) are now in my possession, at my home in Norfolk, Virginia. When the busyness of the holidays is behind me, Addie’s cremains will be respectfully handled and she’ll get a proper memorial service here in Norfolk.

This I can state definitively: Addie will not be returning to Lake Mills. How I wish that her footstone at the grave site could have been removed, but the city (for reasons I do not understand) did not want it removed.

Further, given what we now know about how Addie’s life ended, it would be wrong to return her to the “family plot” with Enoch, and his other two wives.

Addie’s days in a shallow grave are over.

Addies foot stone still remains at her empty tomb.

Addie's head stone in Lake Mills is now a cenotaph.

Addie

Enoch's marker has five names: Three wives, one daughter ("Mertie" - 1878-1887) and Enoch James himself. Wife #2 has left the area and won't be returning.

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.

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.

Addie

Addie's foot stone remains at the grave site, for reasons I don't understand.

Ada (Addie) Hoyt Fargo  1872-1901

Ada ("Addie") Hoyt Fargo 1872-1901

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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

November 28th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read more about Addie, click here.

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The digging started at about 8:45 am.

Shallow

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

Addies exhumation shallow

This photo shows how shallow the grave was.

Robin

Rose examines some of the remains that were unearthed.

Addies helpers

Addie's helpers searching for skeletal remains.

Addie

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

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

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Another view of the grave site.

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When an Old Person Dies…

October 28th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

There’s a saying that when an old person dies, it’s like a library burning down. In other words, it’s a significant loss of historical information and stories and records and experiences that can never be restored.

I’d have to say there’s one exception to that rule: When that “old person” has taken the time to write a book, and record and preserve all the historical information and stories and records and experiences.

These days, I get asked a lot of questions about Addie Hoyt Fargo, my great Aunt. And often, I preface my response with, “I’m so grateful to Mary Wilson, who took the time to write a book about Lake Mills, and share what she knew about Addie’s death.”

As a fellow author and historian, I really am grateful that Mary Wilson left us a 700-page book detailing so many elements of Lake Mill’s history,  because it preserved a written record of Addie’s death that would have otherwise been lost to the ages. It was because of Mrs. Wilson’s book that I started digging into this story. Reading her book cover to cover is akin to sitting down and hearing the stories of someone who was born and raised in Lake Mills, and spent nine decades here, because - that’s just what Mary did.

It is a book full of gems.

So what does Mary tell us about Addie? Simply, that Addie was shot by her husband, Enoch Fargo.

In The History of Lake Mills (published in 1983), Mary Wilson writes, “A number of persons who knew [Enoch Fargo] will tell the same story - he shot Addie.”

Enoch had three daughters by his first wife, Mary Rutherford Fargo. The eldest daughter was named Elsie Fargo (McCammon). Elsie McCammon’s daughter was Mary Wilson, who authored The History of Lake Mills. In this book, it’s Enoch’s own granddaughter describing what happened to Addie Hoyt Fargo.

Mrs. Wilson also writes about Dr. William Oatway, the physician who was allegedly complicit in this crime, and reports that Oatway stated years later, “No one was fooled” by his alleged falsification of Addie’s death certificate (showing diphtheria as the cause of death).

That book was an incredible resource in my research, and gave me the foundation on which to start building a case. And in the ensuing four months, I’ve discovered a multitude of documents and resources that point to the fact that Mary Wilson’s accounting of this crime in Lake Mills is probably accurate.

It’s a tough book to find, and I paid almost $50 for my copy, which is a true testament to this book’s enduring value and appeal.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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My favorite photo of all.

An amazing glimpse into another time, this photo shows Addie in her bedroom at the Fargo Mansion Inn in Lake Mills.

Addie

There's a sweetness and naivete on this young woman's face that is wholly compelling. She was just a girl - 24 years old - and full of hope and dreams and ideas. Perhaps she'd planned on having a whole passel of children or maybe she was looking forward to being a socialite, carrying the torch for whatever causes that filled her heart with passion. She's so young and sincere-looking in this photo. So untarnished by the world. And five years later, she'd be dead, murdered (allegedly) by the man that had promised to love her for the rest of his life.

Addie

Addie Hoyt - in 1896 (wedding day) and 1901 (shortly before her death). This photo presents an argument that Addie was sickly at the end of her life. Given the jagged and receding hairline (on the right), one has to wonder if she was suffering from arsenic poisoning. There's also a swollen lip and other distortions around her nose. Perhaps she fell down a flight of stairs and landed on her face. I understand that Victorian-era women were very prone to such accidents. She sent this photo to her brother-in-law Wilbur Whitmore, living in Denver at the time.

Contrast

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).

To keep reading about Addie, click here.

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Who is Addie to Me?

September 30th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is, “How are you related to Addie?”

When I gave my talk in Lake Mills on September 4th, I explained this in some detail, and perhaps it’d be a good idea to do that here, as well.

My great-great grandfather was Homer Hoyt, born in Vermont about 1840. In the early 1860s, he moved to Lake Mills, and met the woman who’d become my great-great grandmother, Julia Hawley Hoyt.

Homer Hoyt at age 17 (late 1850s or early 1860s)

Homer Hoyt was my great-great grandfather. He's pictured here at age 17 (about 1858). Homer was front Vermont, but by 1870, Homer and his wife (Julia) were living in the Lake Mills (Wisconsin) area.

Homer and his wife Julia had three children: Anna, Addie and Eugene.

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Homer and Julia had two daughters and one son. Pictured above are their two daughters, Anna Hoyt (left) and Addie Hoyt (right). Anna was 44 in this photo. Addie (right) was 24. The photo on the left was taken in 1910, and the photo on the right was 1896.

Homer and Julia’s son (Eugene) was an itinerant machinist and never married and never had children.

Anna M

Anna met and married this man, Wilbur W. Whitmore in Lake Mills. She and Wilbur moved to Denver soon after their marriage. She remained there until 1939, when Wilbur died. In the early 1940s, Anna moved to Santa Monica, California, to be with her daughter.

Addie married Enoch Fargo.

Addie married Enoch Fargo in 1896, and remained in Lake Mills until her death in 1901. Addie and Enoch never had children. Enoch had three daughters by his first wife, Mary Rutherford. Two of them survived to adulthood, and also had children.

Ernie

Anna Hoyt Whitmore and Wilbur Whitmore had three children, Ernie (shown above), Victor, and Florence (my grandmother). Ernie was six years old in this photo, and he died shortly after this picture was taken. He was born in 1888 and died in 1894.

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Florence Whitmore was Anna's daughter, and she married a tall thin gent named Edgar Atkinson Fuller. Florence is pictured here in 1922. She was born in 1891.

Baby Boys in 1919

Florence and Edgar had only two children: Thomas Hoyt Fuller (left) and Edgar A. Fuller, Junior (right). The twins were born June 13, 1919. Thomas Hoyt Fuller was named after his grandmother's side of the family. Florence's brother Victor never had children, and Ernie died at six years old. The twins were the only great-grandchildren of Homer and Julia Hawley Hoyt.

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This photo - from 1922 - shows Wilbur and Anna Hoyt Whitmore taking their twin grandsons out for a ride. My father is sitting with Wilbur and my Uncle Ed is sitting with his maternal grandmother, Anna Hoyt Whitmore (Addie's sister).

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Thomas Hoyt Fuller (left) and Edgar Atkinson Fuller (right) about 1943.

The Fuller Twins in 1982.

The Fuller Twins in 1979.

F

In 1947, Tom Fuller married Betty Mae Brown of Berkeley and they had four children.

Mom

Betty Mae and Tom Fuller in 1960.

Dad

I'm pictured here are me with my father and three brothers, Rick, Tommy and Eddie at the Hoover Dam (1966). Notice my eldest brother Tom has a shirt made of fabric that matches my short little dress. My mother was an accomplished seamstress, and often made our clothes.

On June 10, 2011, my father died, three days shy of his 92nd birthday.

On June 10, 2011, my father died, three days shy of his 92nd birthday. It was while I was cleaning out his apartment in an assisted living facility that I found the photos of Addie and Enoch Fargo. (Photo is courtesy of Dave Chance and can not be used or reproduced without written permission.)

My father (Thomas Hoyt Fuller), had four children, of which I am one. My Uncle Ed had two daughters, one of whom has passed on.  My cousin and my three brothers and myself are the only great-great grandchildren of Homer and Julia Hoyt.

To read more about Addie, click here.

To learn about Sears Homes, click here.

If you’d like to help in the quest to learn what happened to Addie, please leave a comment below.

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The Beautiful Emails from Beautiful People, Part II

September 20th, 2011 Sears Homes No comments

In the last month, the story of Addie Hoyt Fargo has been read by more than 6,000 people, and with that enlarged audience, came some ugly emails and comments. In contrast, there’ve been many more supportive and lovely emails.  On Sunday, 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 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.

Addie

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

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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Was Aunt Addie Shot in the Head? (Part V)

July 24th, 2011 Sears Homes 8 comments

This blog was written July 24, 2011. Since then, I’ve learned many new facts. Please click here to read the latest.

“Martha, burn these bed clothes and linens at once, for Addie has died from diphtheria, and we want no one in this household to become afflicted with this scourge.”

If Enoch did kill Addie, it seems likely that other people would have been involved in this crime, and even complicit. Were Fargo’s two servant girls in on it?

According to the 1900 Census, there were two servants listed in the Enoch Fargo household (see picture below).  I’m not even sure of their names, but they appear to be Mary Frey (18-year-old German girl) and Marthia or Martha Draper (also from Germany, about 29 years old).  (Please look at the photos below and see if you can discern the names.)

What became of Mary and Martha? Discovering the answer to that might help solve the mystery of Aunt Addie’s mysterious demise. Did Mary and Martha live well beyond 1901? If so, that casts more doubt on the story that Addie died from diphtheria, as that was a highly contagious disease, and surely one of them would have been tending to Addie and washing her bed linens and bringing her food and tending to her chamber pot.

Or maybe Mary Frey and Martha Draper came into some money after Addie died? Perhaps they went from being immigrant Germanic servants to prosperous landowners.

If Addie Hoyt Fargo was indeed shot in her sleep by her husband Enoch, surely Mary (age 18) or Martha (age 29) would have heard the shot. Enoch allegedly paid off Dr. Oatway to falsify the death certificate. Two young immigrants, working as mere servants, would have been easy for Enoch to “manage.” Did he pay them off? Or did he just threaten to kill them if they ever uttered a word?

If you’d just discovered that your employer had shot his wife in the head, it’d be real easy to believe that he could do the same to you.

Especially if you’re an immigrant, far from family, broke, and have virtually no life outside of the household.

Did Mary and Martha come running to Addie’s room when they heard the gunshot? Or had Enoch sent them away that Tuesday night so that no one would hear the explosive crackle of a revolver? Even if they were not home when it happened, there would have been a mess to clean up later.

And cleaning up a mess of that magnitude would have required far more housekeeping than Enoch was accustomed to doing.

Perhaps he stripped off the bedsheets and piled them into Martha’s hands and told her, “Burn these bed clothes and linens at once, for Addie has died from diphtheria, and we want no one in this household to become afflicted with this scourge.”

By 1905, Mary Frey and Martha Draper were gone, replaced by two new Germanic immigrant servants: Mary Zimmerman and Minne Lewis (see below). By 1905, maybe Mary Frey and Martha Draper were comfortably ensconced in their new home on Mulberry Street, alongside Enoch and his newest wife, Mattie Fargo.

Please take a look at the pictures below and offer a guess as to these two names. If you’ve any idea what became of Mary Frey and Martha Draper (of Lake Mills, Wisconsin), please leave a comment below.

To read the next piece (Part VI), click here.

To read Part IV, click here.

To read Part III, click here.

To read Part II, click here.

Thanks to David Spriggs (Norfolk) and Bruce A. Samoore, Volunteer Historical Researcher (Wisconsin) for unearthing much of the hard-to-find genealogical facts, death certificates and obituaries.

Census

The 1900 Census shows two servant girls living in the Fargo household. One was Marthie, Marthia or Martha A. Draper or Drager and the other was Mary Frey. Please leave a comment below if you know of any way to get in touch with their descendants and/or if you have any knowledge as to what became of these people.

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Close-up of their names. Any guesses?

Close-up of their names. Any guesses?

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By the time of the 1905 Census, both Mary and Martha were gone, and these new names appear.

By the time of the 1905 State Census, both Mary and Martha were gone, and these new names appear: Mary Zimmerman and Minnie something, perhaps Lewis?

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Closer view of the 1905 state census, showing the names of the two servant girls. Note, one of them was a lass of only 17, and the *older* girl was 18 years old. The census also shows that both girls (and their parents) were born in Germany.

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Enoch

Extreme close-up of the names of the servant girls, as they appeared on the 1905 state Census.

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

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

Addies death certificate, allegedly falsified by Dr. Oatway.

Addie's death certificate, allegedly falsified by Dr. Oatway.

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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.

I bet Addie was "very much shocked" too. This obituary attempted to explain her fast death from a slow disease process.

Addie, about 1899.

Addie, about 1899.

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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