The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 17, 1904
Webster City Has Sensation
Heads of the County and City Schools Clash With Dire Results to the Latter
Educators Lose Their Tempers
County Superintendent and City Superintendent are Subjects of Talk
Webster City was treated to a sensation Monday that will be a topic of conversation for at least a day or so. A clash between the two leading educators of Hamilton county occurred in the office of City Superintendent of Schools Ford Monday afternoon and today the partiscians (sic) of the men engaged have something to think about. Beginning at the beginning it is a long story, but in a few words, the unpleasantness directly resulted from the suspension from school of a son of County Superintendent Gerber. The city superintendent did the suspending and it is needless to say that the county and city superintendents were the principal figures in the sensation.
The head of the city schools, who is also principal of the high school, Monday informed the younger Gerber that his presence at school would not be allowed until further notice. The elder Gerber did not take kindly to the treatment accorded his offspring, and paid a visit to City Superintendent Ford at the latter’s office the same afternoon. The results form the sensation.
The story is told in brief as follows:
When Mr. Ford went to Webster City some time ago his advent apparently was not welcome to everybody in town and at no time since has harmony reigned. In the first place it is alleged he was subjected to an unusually severe examination by the county superintendent. He passed the examination successfully, but the fact that it was unnecessarily severe was not forgotten. It rankled in the breast of the city principal and something different than brotherly love existed between the men since that time.
It is customary when a pupil is a little late at the Webster City high school to excuse him if possible, for the purpose of maintaining a minimum of tardy marks. Monday Superintendent Ford was ringing bell for the afternoon session as young Ford (sic – should be young Gerber) was approaching the school. In such cases it is said to be customary for the teacher ringing the bell to delay the process until the pupils are in their seats, but on this occasion it is alleged Mr. Ford was not at all reluctant with ringing the bell with all possible speed, presumably with the intent of registering a tardy mark against the boy. When the latter passed the principal into the school building Ford remarked:
“You are tardy sir.”
Acording (sic) to the boy’s story all he said was, “Well, wouldn’t that get you?”
According to the boy’s story all he because of young Ford’s insolence he suspended him from school. (Editor’s note: this is exactly what was printed. Young Ford should be young Gerber.)
The same evening Superintendent Gerber visited Superintendent Ford in the principal’s office in the high school and demanded an explanation of Gerber’s (sic – should be Ford’s) action toward his son, claiming that the suspension was unnecessary and that it was only one of the many incidents in which the high school principal had sought to revenge his feelings toward Gerber by taking out is spite on the latter’s son. One word led to another and what followed is told by Gerber alone. Mr. (Ford) was bereft of his senses from the time of the interview until 3 o’clock this morning. Superintendent Gerber claims that in the heat of the argument he turned and in doing so overturned a piece of statuary from its place. In falling the statuary struck the high school superintendent on the head, rendering him unconscious, from which state he did not recover until early this morning.
The affair has caused a stir in Webster City and its outcome may have one or several endings. Providing the county superintendent’s version of the affair is corect (sic) it may be regarded as an unfortunate circumstance. Otherwise serious results may follow. City Superintendent Ford’s account of the interview is now in order.