Francis Not Dead

Article Type: 
Publication Date: 
Thursday, November 19, 1903
Publication Date Is Approx: 
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A Bogus Newspaper Correspondent Hatches a Series of False Stories at Lyle, Minnesota.

Superintendent Said to Have Been Attacked by Pupils and Later to Have Died.

Special to The Journal.

Lyle, Minn., Nov. 19- Some one prompted by a motive which is not yet clear, is trying to injure the standing of and make life a burden for Professor Menzo Francis, superintendent of the Lyle Public schools.

An unknown correspondent recently sent to The Journal the following, which was printed in good faith for the news it was supposed to contain:

Professor Menzo Francis, superintendent of the Lyle schools, was attacked by several of his pupils. He received no serious injuries, but was cut and scratched on the face. Effie Johnson, the alleged ringleader of the children, is under arrest.

There was no word of truth in this communication, and Professor Francis wrote The Journal requesting the name of the author. Unfortunately it had not been preserved and nothing could be done to trace identity.

Yesterday a second communication was forwarded The Journal from Lyle. It was written an amateur's hand and signed "Rev. C. D. McClaw." It was represented in the letter that Professor Francis had died suddenly and that his death was traceable to the alleged recent attack made upon him by some of his pupils and an alleged controversy with citizens.

A conspiracy to injure the professor, in view of what had occurred, was almost self-evident, and a Journal man promptly called up Lyle by telephone and was soon in conversation with Professor Francis, the alleged dead man, himself, and the citizens of Lyle. All stated that no such person as "Rev. C.D. McClaw" resided in Lyle or the vicinity. Mr. Francis was found to be in the best of health and spirits and the school affairs running along smoothly and satisfactorily. Three or four citizens were addressed and all agreed that nothing had occurred upon which could be based the sensational statements of the unknown correspondent.

That other papers have been besieged with like specials from Lyle is apparent from the fact that the Minneapolis Times of this morning contains the following bearing upon the same alleged incidents depicted by the unknown writer to The Journal:


Lyle Educator Dies as Result of a Sensational Hold-Up.

Lyle, Minn., Nov. 18- Professor Menzo Francis of Lyle high school died last night in his room. The fright he received in a recent hold-up and his controversy with the citizens undoubtedly had considerable influence in bringing about his death. This ends a pretty romance between himself and one of his pupils, which would have culminated in marriage at the end of the school year. All traces of the hold up and all suspicions point to several local men. Arrests are momentarily expected.

Professor Francis' work in this community is a satisfactory character and his standing among educators in the state at large and in portions of Iowa, where he is well known, is admittedly of the best.