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

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).Ā  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).Ā  (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.


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.


Close-up of their names. Any guesses?

Close-up of their names. Any guesses?


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?



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.



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.



Addie's obituary as it appeared in the local paper, soon after her death.


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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  1. Rachel

    Here are my thoughts. From my own experience having seen a fair amount of shootings as a firefighter/EMT, if Addie was shot in the head it would have made a real mess. More mess than what her husband could have cleaned up himself in a short time. I believe he would have had to have help. There would be spatters of blood if even a few and blood does not clean up easily!

    Any blood spattered anywhere would have left behind stains if not cleaned up right then. All of the bedding, mattress and linens would be soiled. Could she have been killed/shot outside the home? Did he have a grave already prepared? It takes awhile to dig a hole too. I would think there would be others involved and this murder planned out. Is it possible he poised her? Much cleaner! Maybe he suffocated her with her own feather pillow? If he did indeed shoot her he had to have help with the clean-up. I seriously doubt he dug her grave on his own.

    Hurry up and figure it out! šŸ™‚

  2. Alan  Winston

    I first made the older servant’s name as Marthie Druger, and google turned up http://records.ancestry.com/Amil_Druger_records.ashx?pid=99934261 which show Marthie A Druger on the 1900 census – probably from the same census sheet you show.

    Marthie seems surely to be what was written, compare to the previous “ie” endings.

    Poking around and trying for alternatives, I turned up hits for Marthie Dreyer, but for someone currently in South Africa, yet still – family names can persist for generations in widely divergent family branches.

    I like Drayer for what is written, either for itself or as a spelling error for “Dreyer” on the sheet – Germans prounce the letters E & I as we do “A” and “E” (“ah bay tsay day ehee – rhymes with bay and day – eff gay hah ee yot kah …”), but also would accept Diazer.

    It would be nice to see more of the census takers handwriting – I am presuming that the census taker wrote all the entries on the sheet?

    Have you looked to see if Marthie had been with the household long enough to have appeared on a previous census?

    Ernest sure liked the m**ie/y name pattern – mattie marthie mary-1 mary-2 minnie …

    There are Marthies currently in Wisconsin, perhaps it would be worth simply trying to contact them all to see if they are named for a family member who was in Lake Hills way back then?

  3. Robin Untz

    I think that it is spelled Marthie Drager. Look at how the lower case “g”s were formed in the the word “daughter” and the “ie” at the end is the same as the other names listed that clearly end in “ie”
    FYI there is still a Fargo relative that lives in Wisconsin somewhere near Madison. Got this information from someone who is about his age. I think it is Mary’s son.

  4. Robin Untz

    I also forgot that the “Hansen” referred to on the death certificate most likely was the individual who made the coffin. Many in the Hansen family were carpenters.

  5. Angela Kraft

    Have you considered that the undertaker was not a person, but a company? To me it looks more like Hansen + Hildebrants. There is a George Hildebrandt living in Lake Mills in 1900 listed as a carpenter, but a quick search for Hansen in Lake Mills is of no luck. But there were several in neighboring cities in the county. Perhaps that may lead you to more answers. A directory listing of businesses in the area perhaps?

    Oddly enough, about an hour away from Lake Mills is a Hansen & Hildebrand law firm in Milwaukee.

    Did you look for death certificates for the two maids? That might lead to more answers.

    Anyway, my two cents.

    Good luck!

  6. Sharman

    There was Charles H Hildebrandt (Hansen & Hildebrandt) on Lake st., in the Lake Mills directory early 1900s.

  7. Sears Homes

    The thing is, I wonder if Enoch even bothered with an undertaker. We know that Oatway falsified the death certificate when he fabricated a “burial permit number.” And it seems likely that the funeral director (undertaker) would have been the one to request and receive the burial permit number. Those old ledger books show that it took the better part of a day to get the burial permit. Dead on Tuesday, permit received on Wednesday.

    Since Oatway lied about the burial permit, I’m inclined to think he lied about the undertaker, too.

    Which leads back to an even more troubling question: Where is Addie buried?

  8. Sue Thomson

    Very fascinating. How about Draeger, the servant that was in the household? Any idea what happened to her?

    I came upon your site because I was searching for Sears homes in Canada. Have you info on that?

  9. Tomi Myers

    @ ROBIN UNTZ; The lady “MARY” you refer to, would that be Mary Wilson of Lake Mills? I am Joel Wilson’s adopted eldest daughter and we lived in Lake Mills when I was young. As a child, I always wondered why “Nana” had her home office filled to the rafters with Lake Mills Leader newspapers. She would tell me she was saving them because she was going to write a book about Lake Mills.

    Very fascinating indeed. I wasn’t able to purchase a copy of the book, but I understand the Library has at least one copy.

    @ the writer of this blog, I am unable to locate your name or how to contact you. Would love just to chat. I never realized all this had happened in Lake Mills.

    How did this ever come about, how did you happen upon this and investigate it? Thank you for sharing all this with us.

    I applaud you for all your efforts and the efforts of those who helped you along the way to get to the truth. I wonder, will records be corrected and justice be done for Addy? Thank you for your passion.

  10. Tomi Myers

    @ ROSEMARY: I’m caught up now and have answered most of my questions above. I need to make note though, Mary Wilson had 3 sons. The third one’s name is Jim Wilson. He was an Oklahoma State Representative for a time. Mary Wilson also has a daughter, Mary Wilson. To my knowledge all are still living, but whereabouts unknown. I still have one question though, how are you related? šŸ™‚ I’m happy to have read you have found some sort of closure, albeit not what you and all of us were hoping for. I am in agreement with you and all the evidence shows Addy met with foul play that caused her death. Are you going to take her remains and have them reburied elsewhere? Good luck Rose.