The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 25, 1904
Prospect Hill “Wild Man” Taken
David Francis, Former Insane Patient at Poor Farm is Man.
Captured Near Oleson Park
Disappears Four Weeks Ago. Lives On Refuse Left by Picnic Parties in Oleson Park – Officers Jordan and Mericle Capture Him.
The alleged wild man who has been the subject of no little uneasiness on the part of residents of Prospect Hill for a week or more, had been captured and now occupies a cell in the county jail, where he will probably remain until committed to the asylum.
The “wild man” is David Francis, a demented man, who until four weeks ago lived in the eastern part of the city. Previous to that time he was an inmate of the county poor farm. Francis is insane, but except for him (sic) decidedly wild appearance, is not up to the standard of real wild men.
Captured Friday Night
The capture was made Friday evening by Deputy Marshal Jordan and Policeman Mericle. For several days past reports had been brought the police about the “wild man” making his apeparance (sic) and since then a search had been in progress to locate him. Friday afternoon the police were notified that he had made his appearance near the Fifteenth street viaduct where he frightened two little girls. Police were sent to the vicinity and later a search was taken up near Oleson park. It was in the ravine west of the park that Officer Mericle came upon the “wild man” and no desperate struggle ensued. Francis was taken in charge by the officer, who with Deputy Marshal Jordan brought him to the city and placed him in the county jail. When captured Francis presented many appearances of being a wild man. His long shaggy beard, ragged garments and unkempt features gave him an appearance that had he been met unexpectedly might shake the nerves of a person who could not be accused of being timid.
Had Been Inmate of Poor Farm
Francis was an inmate of the poor farm until last winter, when he was taken in charge by his sister, who lives in the east part of the city. Four weeks ago he disappeared and all efforts to find him were vain. A few days after his disappearance he was seen on the M & St. L. tracks near the Ryan property, but after that he disappeared until a week ago when he made his appearance on Round Prairie. For some time past he had been living on the refuse left at Oleson Park by picnic parties. When brought into town his shoes were tied on his feet by white ribbons, probably picked up at the park.
(Editor’s note: The original post can be found here.)