Did Mattie P. Fargo Give That Talk on June 20th, 1901?

According to the Lake Mills’ High School program, Mattie P. Fargo (Addie’s step-daughter) was scheduled to give a talk at the commencement, June 20, 1901. Her step-mother – Addie – had died the day before (June 19th).

Mattie’s scheduled talk was “The New Pilgrim’s Progress.”

When I was in Lake Mills recently, I read 15 months worth of the Lake Mills’ Leader.  After I got home and really studied a few of these newspaper clippings, I realized I had the answer to this question about Mattie at my fingertips – sort of.  In my zeal to copy articles about Addie, I copied the June 27, 1901 front page (where the ladies at the DAR that expressed their sadness at Addie’s sudden departure), but I didn’t notice the little nuggets just to the side.

On the right side of the newspaper’s front page was a detailed synopsis of the students’ talks at the commencement one week prior, complete with a summary of the young people’s public speaking abilities.

I now know that Jessie V. Seaver was there (and that she did a dandy job), and Effie Jenks’ presentation was also professional, but that doesn’t tell me if Mattie P. Fargo was there.

The Lake Mills’ Leader is on microfilm at the public library, and it’d be great if someone could look up this little detail for me. If Mattie was present at that graduation event on June 20th, 1901, that’d be a very interesting piece of this picture. The newspaper’s date was June 27, 1901, and the story of the students’ recitation appeared on the far right of the page. The heading reads, “Graduation Exercises.”

Thanks in advance to the kind souls willing to help solve this mystery.


Was Mattie there, on June the 20th?


Did she deliver her prepared talk on "The New Pilgrim's Progress"?

Matties graduation picture

Mattie's graduation picture from 1901.

To learn more about Addie, click here.

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  1. Cynthia ward

    Rose, you are brilliant! A young woman living in a diphtheria quarantined house would miss her graduation,wouldn’t she?!

  2. Rachael

    So interesting how all of these little connecting tidbits are coming out. I wonder if Mattie has any relatives that recall a story about her stepmother dying? And the leader back then was like a gossip column. Any little bit of news was shared in the paper, so you could bet that the mansion would have been major news had it been quarantined. Maybe Addie will show you some more clues along the way.. I have a feeling she has a hand in this!

  3. Joeylynn

    Rose, you ARE brilliant! Someone forgot to tell Enoch, “Be sure your sin will find you out!”