Old Man Dying in Dirt and Squalor

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 9, 1906

Old Man Dying in Dirt and Squalor

Pitiable Case Called to Attention of the Police Last Night.

Man is Ill With Pneumonia

Lies Gasping for Breath in Miserable Room Right on Central Avenue – Not Room for Him at Hospital – County Takes Up Case.

One of the most pitiable cases on record of the winter was brought to the attention of the police last night, by parties employed in the Peschau cigar store, w ho reported that an old man homeless and friendless lay deathly sick with pneumonia in a narrow room over the cigar establishment. Chief Tullar visited him and found the report all too true. An attempt was made to do something for him last night, but it was learned that the hospital was full, and as it was late when the case was discovered, it proved impossible to remove him to any other place. An officer was detailed to go up to the room every few hours to keep a fire burning and render whatever aid proved possible.

The case was brought to the attention of the commissioner of the poor and the associated charities this morning and it is probable that the sick man will receive prompt attention.

A Messenger reporter visited the place this morning and learned that the name of the sick man was Jean Lockwood. He is a veteran of the civil war and is a man about sixty years of age. He was unable to talk, but lay gasping for breath, which the inexorable hand of pneumonia strove to hold from him, on a hard bed in one corner of the miserable room. Broken panes of glass, poorly patched with boards and stuffed with clothing failed to keep the bitter air from sifting into the room, and a rusty stove burned at the bedside. August Hassher, a laboring man who resides at the place, has been the only attendant of Lockwood during the three weeks that he has been sick until yesterday when a physician was called. He states that Lockwood has lived here for about two years during which he has supported himself by doing odd jobs about town. When he was taken sick, Hassher out of pity allowed him to stay at his place.

The case is an example which it is to be hoped will not soon be found again in Fort Dodge. It illustrates plainly the need of an institution in the city for the care of such unfortunates.  The hospital, the only place where such can be taken, is at present almost daily overcrowded. An institution of the proper kind would undoubtedly find itself plentifully supplied with work.

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