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.