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CLAIM #3: Addie died at 2 A.M. and was buried the same day at 10 A.M. To do this they had to bribe gravediggers out of bed to dig a grave in the dark!

EVIDENCE: Addie Fargo's Obituary

TRUTH #3: Sunrise on 19 June 1901 (pre-Daylight Savings Time) in Lake Mills, WI was at 4:15 A.M.  So by 10 A.M. the gravediggers were done for the day and had already finished their lunch. Gravediggers don't get to sleep in late, unlike bloggers. (Sunrise on 19 June 2011 was 5:16 A.M.  DST)


CLAIM #4: In these pre-telephone days, the doctor had to be summoned to the Fargo residence.

TRUTH #4: The telephone was invented 25 years earlier, and came to Wisconsin in 1878. By the end of the 1880s, 60 Wisconsin cities and towns had telephone service. The Fargos and the local doctor would be among the most likely citizens to have a telephone in 1901.


CLAIM #5: Addie didn't even have a funeral. Is this proof of foul play?

TRUTH #5: No, it's proof that the family was exposed to a contagious disease. During the influenza outbreak of 1918, our local cemetery had 50 burials in one month, and zero funerals. The church didn't want to be responsible for spreading the disease, and discouraged large social gatherings.

CLAIM #6: Diphtheria only has a fatality rate of 5%, and victims died slowly over weeks, after the infection overwhelmed their immune system.


TRUTH #6: Diphtheria is a highly contagious respiratory illness that causes swelling of the throat and death by choking (Wikipedia). Fatality rates in 2011 for treated patients is 5% to 10%. In 1901 it was closer to 50%, and killed more Americans than Measles, Scarlet Fever and Whooping Cough combined. The test for Diphtheria was invented in 1910 and a vaccine in 1920, cutting the fatality rate to 15%.

EVIDENCE: Top 5 Fatal Diseases in 1901: U.S. Mortality Rates from 1900 to 1965

CLAIM #7: If Addie had diphtheria, why didn't the servant girls catch it? They were waiting on her hand and foot, feeding her and wiping her brow during her illness. Did the servants die of diphtheria? Did they hear a gunshot? Did Enoch kill them, or pay them off?


TRUTH #7: Servants weren't stupid, and didn't go anywhere near a person with diphtheria. The servants probably fled the house when they heard the diagnosis. A trained nurse was brought in to care for her, as mentioned in Addie Fargo's Obituary. Martha Amelia Draeger,  the elder servant, did not die and was not paid off. She married Benjamin Bird Smith in 1907, but they were poor and lived on the farm of her brother, Wm. Frank Draeger, about 15 miles away in Dane County.


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"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." - George Bernard Shaw