Historical Truth: Enoch Killed Addie

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From a historical reference point, the statement in Mary Wilson’s book, together with the report that her mother was the source, together with all the other evidence that’s been amassed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.


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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  1. D.H.Fabian

    I have heard two different things following the exhumation, and am wondering if Addie’s remains were returned to the Lake Mills cemetery or moved elsewhere. Thank you.

  2. Sears Homes

    Addie’s remains are now here in Norfolk. She will not be returning to Lake Mills. I’m not pleased with the city’s demand to leave the small footstone there at the grave site.

  3. Dave

    “The city’s demand”?!? The plot is the private property of the Fargo Family or to whomever title has transferred, which can be found in the cemetery’s records. Since when can the municipal government dictate anything regarding burial markers on a private plot?

    The plot owners can certainly determine what markers stay or go, but not the City. If the City stated such a demand, they must have been acting as an agent of the Fargo Family. If so, that is a troubling coalition and should be investigated.

  4. Bev Pinkerman

    Funny city that, first they think they have the right to insist upon a court hearing after Rose obtained a state permit to disinter, and now they are declaring what is allowable on a privately owned burial plot.

    Seems to me they are feeling the pressure from someone. Rosemary is the blood relative who had Addie’s remains exhumed. If she decides that is done to her satisfaction then it ceases to be Addie’s grave and there is no need to leave a stone marking there, marking nothing but dirt. It is not a tribute to Addie, it’s a modest foot stone. The Taj Mahal, well, now that’s a tribute.

  5. Karla Vitense Schroedl Kenevan

    Pu the blame where the blame is due. It is not the city being a problem, it is the interpretation by others. Too much emotion can cause the truth to be misconstrued. I believe that Addie was wronged, but a small footstone to mark where Addie lay for so long, is nothing to be upset about. It is history.

  6. Pat Owens

    Why was there not any forensic tests done to determine cause of death when the body was re-interred. Thank you, Pat Owens