Archive for the ‘School days’ Category


Ford Will Recover From His Injuries

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 24, 1904

Ford Will Recover From His Injuries

Principal of Webster City High School Recovering from Assault

Supt. Gerber Under Arrest

Head of Hamilton County Educational Affairs Charged With Assault

Principal Ford of the Webster City school, who was assaulted by County Superintendent L.N. Gerber, a week ago today, will recover from his injuries. His condition now is such as to warrant a hope that he will be able to resume his duties within the course of a few weeks.

Superintendent Gerber was arrested Saturday on the charge of assault with intent to commit great bodily injury. The arrest was made at the instance of O.M. James, of Marion, Ky., a brother-in-law of the injured man. Mr. James left his home in Kentucky to go to Webster City for that purpose. Superintendent Gerber’s bond was fixed at $500 ($11,975 today) which was furnished.

The outcome wil (sic) be awaited with interest, not only in Webster City, but over the state, as it has been well aired during the past week. The trouble between Ford, the principal of the high school, and Gerber, the county superintendent, has been one of long standing. It came to a climax a week ago today when the county superintendent called at the office of the principal to obtain an explanation from Ford as to his action in suspending Gerber’s son from school. It was asserted by Ford that he dismissed young Gerber because the latter was impertinent. The answer, however, did not satisfy Gerber and hot words followed. It is then alleged that Gerber struck Ford with a statuette which he took from the mantel. Gerber claims that Ford was injured by being struck on the head by the statuette, which had been accidentally knocked from its place on the mantel. the stories of both will receive a further and better airing at the hearing, which is set for June 1.


Webster City Educators’ Fight

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 19, 1904

Webster City Educators’ Fight

Has Now Assumed a Serious Aspect – The Critical Condition of Mr. Ford

Principal Tells His Story

Which is in Every Way Against the Action of Co. Superintendent Gerber

Webster City, May 19 – Principal Ford of the high school, whose unfortunate encounter with County Superintendent Gerber in the office of the high school Monday evening has been a sensational topic of conversation, has made a statement regarding the encounter, which is corroborated by Mr. McNown, who was a witness to the alleged assault on the high school principal. His version of the affair is as follows:

Ralph Gerber was late to school and as he passed the superintendent, Mr. Ford, said that he was late. Young Gerber was half way up the stairs at that time and he came down again and asked him what he said. Mr. Ford repeated that he was late, whereupon the young man said-  it was pretty small business , or words to that effect.The superintendent thereupon suspended Gerber for three days for impudence. The young man returned with his father and the elder Gerber immediately started quarreling in the superintendent’s office. Mr. Ford told him to leave his office but Gerber refused.

The city superintendent said that in that case he would himself leave and turned to go when Mr. Gerber struck him in the back of the neck. At this instant C.W. McNown entered the room. He had been engaged in the laboratory across the hall and both doors were open. He hurried across to the office. When he entered, Mr. Ford had been struck and was reeling around in a dazed manner.

Mr. McNown took hold of Mr. Gerber and turning him around, told him that he had better leave the office. Just then Mr. Ford reached for a statuette, concerning which there has been much talk, and tried to throw it at the county superintendent, but was too weak and sank down. At this time Mr. McNown was between the two men. Mr. Gerber did not touch the statuette. Mr. Ford did not reach for it until after he had been struck. Mr. Ford did not follow him into the h all. He was dazed and sank down in his own office.

Mr. Ford says that it is his intention to push the matter of the assault to the fullest extent.

It was hoped yesterday that Prof. Ford had passed the danger point, as he seemed to be much improved during the day and the last evening was able to converse with friends. However, during last night his fever arose to 103 with pulse at 136. Drs. Hall and Whitley were called at 3 o’clock this morning. There is slight change for the better this afternoon, the patient’s condition being considered as critical. A nurse was summoned from Fort Dodge this afternoon to assist in the case. Prof. Ford’s condition is cause for general regret and sorrow thruout the community, and everybody will sincerely hope that he may soon be on th (sic) road to recovery.


Webster City Has Sensation

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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.



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The Fort Dodge Messenger: May 1, 1905


John Swanson, one of the hands who are employed on the bridge gang, was quite badly hurt by a falling plank one day last week. The plank struck him in the face and resulted in breaking his nose and bruising his face in general.

Little Pearl Chase, of Trenton, North Dakota, arrived in Gowrie Monday  morning. Pearl is going to make her home with her aunt, Mrs. F.N. Brunson and attend school here as there is no school convenient where  her parents live.

Miss Ruby Osborn is sick at present with tonsilitis.

Mrs. Clark left here for Minneapolis Monday evening where she expects to visit with friends for a few days.

Little Gladys and Helen Spangler have been on the sick list lately.

Mr. and Mrs. Chase of Fort Dodge visited with their daughter, Mrs. T.N. Brunson, the fore part of the week.

Wedding bells are ringing. Have you heard their chimes?

Miss Lucy Chock who has been attending school in Clare, is visiting with her parents at present.

Walter Evans of Worthington, Minn. who has been visiting for a few days with his mother, Mrs. O.E. Evans, returned home Monday, accompanied by his two children who have been visiting with their grandmother for sometime.

Mr. and Mrs. Guy Johnson of Callender were visiting friends in Gowrie Sunday.

Mr. and Mrs. L. Burgoon of Paton were transacting business in Gowrie last Saturday.

The E.L. social held at the home of Mrs. and Mrs. Wertz was quite well attended in spite of the inclemency of the weather and about $9 was raised (about $216 today).

Mrs. Hibbard of Lorhville is visiting friends and relatives in town this week.

Oscar Lungren who is attending the Ames Agricultural college is home for the Easter vacation.

The Fort Dodge Messenger: April 3, 1914

Minkel Renamed for Superintendent of Public Schools

Domestic Science Courses for Vacation Time

New Committees Named

L.H. Minkel was reelected superintendent of schools by the board of education at their meeting Thursday night. Mr. Minkel has been in the city in charge of the schools for the last three years and during that time has helped make them the best in the state.

The board authorized Mr. Minkel to outline plans for a domestic science course to be offered during the summer vacation. The idea of the board is to use the equipment as many months in the year as is possible. Details of the course are now being worked out by Mr. Minkel. Courses offered will be in sewing, dressmaking, millinery and cooking. A small tuition will be charged to pay for the expense of instruction.

President C.F. Duncombe announced new committees at the recent meeting. The committee on Casual Supplies and Equipment is constituted by Messrs. Thompson, Williams, Beresford and McCreight. Teachers and schools – Messrs. Williams, Thompson, Nelson and Files. Buildings and repairs – Beresford, Thompson, McCreight and Nelson. Finance and accounting – Messrs. Nelson, Thompson, Williams and Files. Rules and course of study – Files, Beresford, McCreight and Williams.


$10,000 For The Fort Dodge Schools

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 27, 1907

$10,000 For The Fort Dodge Schools

Will of Late Harry Hawley Provides a Yearly Scholarship

Under School Board’s Control

President Butler of Board Receives a Letter Giving Paragraph in Will Which Provides for Fund for High School.

On the death of Harry W. Hawley at Oakland, California, about a year ago it was announced that provision had been made in his will for a bequest of $10,000 to the Fort Dodge high school, to be set aside as a permanent scholarship fund and its earnings used in helping one graduate each year to secure a college education.

President Bulter (sic) of the school received today a letter from the clerk of courts at Oakland in reply to a request for information concerning this clause of the will which gives information regarding the generous provision not heretofore known. The letter is as follows:

The Clause in the Will.

Oakland, Cal., Feb. 23, 1907

J.B. Butler, Esq., Fort Dodge, Ia.

Dear Sir: – Your inquiry of February 19th at hand, and in repliy (sic) thereto, I quote herein that portion of the will of Henry W. Hawley, deceased, which will interest you and your associates, viz:

“I bequeath to the Independent School District of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and the Board of Directors thereof, the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) in trust, to be by said board invested in safe interest bearing securities, as a perpetual fund for the founding of one or more scholarships to be known as the “H. W. Hawley scholarship of the Fort Dodge high school;” for the purpose of aiding worthy graduates of that school in obtaining a collegiate education only the income of said fund to be used for this purpose. I direct that the trustees of this fund shall invest the same to the best advantage and disburse the interest as herein directed. It is my wish that on the first Commencement of said school following the collection of the first yearly interest and annually thereafter the said Board and the superintendent of said school, shall elect from its graduates, one or more, who shall have, by his or her proficiency in their studies, shown themselves worthy to be aided in obtaining a collegiate education, and it is my wish that the preference be given to those who have not means of their own, and that no discrimination be made between male and female applicants.

Said Board of Directors shall determine the amount to be paid to each beneficiary, and shall pay the same to him or her from time to time, as needed, until he or she, shall have completed or abandoned college studies.

Should any one chosen as a beneficiary become, in the opinion of said directors, unworthy of said aid, said Board shall discontinue such aid. I am moved to make this bequest in recognition of the good already accomplished by said school, and hope it may be the means of stimulating many of the graduates therefrom in years to come, to strive for a noble manhood and womanhood, and a high plane of moral and intellectual life.”

The attorney of said estate is R.S. Gray, whose address is 201 Bacon block, Oakland, California.

Trusting the above information will be of service to you, I am,

County Clerk
By A.E. JOHNSTONE, Deputy.

Mr. Hawley spent the years of his boyhood and early manhood in Fort Dodge and was educated in part in the schools which he so generously remembered in his last testament.

He was a many (sic) of brilliant parts and through only about forty years when overtaken by death had had a journalistic career of note, which was brought to a sad and early ending largely through his untiring exertion, which brought on nervous exhaustion and physical collapse.

That he should have turned, in making a disposition of his property, to lingering recollections of his youthful days in the schools of Fort Dodge and was prompted, despite many years of absence from the city, to remember the growing boys and girls of the community with a gift which will be perpetual and will give advantage to each generation in time to come, seems strikingly strange.

As yet it is impossible to learn just when the fund will be available. It is hoped to secure it in time to aid a graduate or graduates of the class of 1908. On behalf of the school board Mr. Butler has written to the attorney who has charged of the estate requesting information on this point.

As stated in the will, the fund will be under the control and direction of the school board, who will also have the power of selection of the graduates to be benefitted. Some plan of selection by merit in study, financial circumstances, etc., will be necessary to be devised.


Peter Madison Used Whip on Professor

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 22, 1906

Peter Madison Used Whip on Professor

School Teacher Grimes Attacked for Chastising 12 Year Old Boy.

Parent Was Peter Madison

He Decided to Take His Son’s Part Against Professor Grimes – Southwest Part of County Excited by Irate Parent’s Acts.

Callender, Feb. 22 (Special to the Messenger) – Down in Roland Township School District No. 3, five miles west of the hustling little town of Callender occurred last Tuesday a scene that the participants and spectators will not soon forget. The school in question was in charge of Professor Grimes, lately of Farnhamville.

While performing his professional duties last Tuesday he had occasion to chastise the 12 year old son of Peter Madison.

The fractious boy was turned across the schoolmaster’s knee and an old-fashioned spanking was administered. When he got released from the toils of authority he made a bee line for the paternal roof and in less time than it takes to tell it interested his sire in his behalf.

A Horse Whipping.

The two returned to the school building accompanied by a friend of Madison’s who chanced to be visiting with him at the time. The three unceremoniously entered the schoolhouse and while the professor’s back was turned the parent began at once to show his ire and indignation by using a horse whip on Professor Grimes. Grimes decided not to take the attack with Christian meekness but proceeded at once to land a left hander on the linguistic organs of his antagonist, which sent him sprawling to the floor. One application of this kind was sufficient. Madison was later forced from the room and out of doors while protesting frantically with vile language and threats of great bodily injury. In the meantime the pupils of the school became so affrighted that they made hasty and spectacular escapes through windows and doors. School was dismissed for the time being and both parties to the combat went post-haste to seek legal revenge. Professor Grimes going to Fort Dodge to hold a consultation with county Superintendent Brown and Madison laying his side of the case before Justice Rasmussen.

To Be Settled in Courts.

The matter will undoubtedly be tried in the courts. County Superintendent Brown getting first chance at it.

In Callender, and especially in the vicinity of Justice Rasmussen’s office, it is the excitement of the hour. Eager throngs from surrounding neighborhoods, and particularly from school district Number 3, Roland township are present and are on tip toe of excitement, watching every whisper pertaining to Madison and his wary antagonist.

Gray headed men are likewise on the scene, exchanging and relating stories referring to the customs of school teachers when they were boys – when the old saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” was the idea of almost every parent and teacher alike.

A Messenger representative interviewed Professor Grimes and was informed that the law would be allowed to take its course and he would be satisfied to abide by the consequences.

(Editor’s note: This article is obviously biased in favor of the teacher. No mention was made of the boy’s alleged offense or of how hard he was spanked. The article is written to make the teacher the victor of the fight; whether or not that was true is difficult to say. It’s hard to say whether the spanking was set off by a real offense, how hard the parent attacked the teacher and how hard the teacher really fought back. It is interesting to note, however, that people in 1906 were saying that “spare the rod and spoil the child” was taken seriously when they were kids, when in 2012 we think the same thing of 1906.)


Matrimony and Teacher Supply

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Dec. 3, 1903

Matrimony and Teacher Supply

Former Has Much to Do With Keeping Latter at Serious Low Figure.

Six Schools Are Closed

Boards Unable to Secure Instructors to Take Charge of Them.

There is a dearth of school teachers in Webster county. The fall term has closed and the winter term has just begun. While the supply of teachers was none too large during the fall term it is even smaller now than it was then and the school secretaries as well as the county superintendent are having no little trouble filling the vacancies which exist in the school districts. At the present time six schools are closed for no other reason than that the teachers cannot be found to take charge of them. The scarcity was felt to even a greater extent a short time ago, but the situation at present is serious enough to satisfy those to whom falls the duty of supplying school ma’ams.

Webster county experienced a teacher famine last winter and many reasons were advanced as to the cause. There is one good reason given this year why there is a difference in the number of teachers available for the winter term being smaller than the number for the fall term. Dan Cupid and his pranks incidently (sic) followed by a matrimonial ceremony has had something to do with the scarcity. No less than six instructors have left the ranks of the school-ma’am and joined the ranks of those who have experimented with the connubial venture.

The scarcity of teachers some time ago was relieved to a certain extent by obtaining teachers outside the county. At present the school boards of the various district (sic) where the schools are closed, together with the county superintendent, are making every effort to begin their winter terms.


Dismay Among Teachers

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Nov. 9, 1906

Dismay Among Teachers

Nearly Half of Those Who Took Recent Exams in Webster County Failed.

Recent returns received by county Superintendent M.P. Somes from the state examining board at Des Moines have caused untold dismay and chagrin among the teachers of Webster county for out of thirty-three who took the examination here under the new law, sixteen failed utterly.

This is a surprise in the extreme. The questions were easy but evidently the state board marked extremely close and the new examination law on this, its first trial, has fallen into marked disfavor in Webster county.

Mr. Somes says that as the result of so many teachers being turned down Webster county will be short of enough to fill the schools by about twenty-eight. The results of the examination came as almost as much of a surprise to Mr. Somes as to the teachers. Many of those who were turned down were old and tried teachers who had good records. Several others who had first and second grade certificates for years got only third grade.

Other counties have been treated about the same and indications are that as the result of the state board’s close marking and strictness the state will have a big shortage on teachers this year.

Mrs. Somes, in order to fill the many vacancies in Webster county schools will hold a special examination in his office November 21, 22 and 23. This will of course, be under the same ruling and all papers will have to be sent to Des Moines for grading.

The Fort Dodge Daily Chronicle: Sept. 30, 1910

Literary Clubs Organized Today

High School Pupils Meet This Evening to Organize for Year’s Literary Work.

The literary clubs of the High School will meet this evening at the close of school for the purpose of organization and electon (sic) of officers. At a recent meeting of the faculty it was decided to organize the school into five clubs in addition to the old Psi Chi and Delta Rho societies. The clubs have been named in accordance with the different branches of work which they are to take up: Debating, Magazine, Travel, Art and Dramatic.

The pupils are allowed to choose their own club and each club is to be under the supervision of one or two teachers. Each club will give four general programs during the year and the clubs will meet on alternate Fridays.

The enrollment for the clubs began a week ago and the membership now stands: Debate, 37; Magazine, 23; Travel, 33; Art, 31; Dramatic, 37; Delta Rho, 45 and Psi Chi, 46. Mr. Boardman will have charge of the debating club, Miss Bozarth of the magazine, Misses Padmore and Mauthe of the travel, Misses Pittman and Freeman of the art and Misses Bessee and Williams of the dramatic. The Delta Rho and Psi Chi societies will each be in charge of two teachers.