Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bite Fight


The Fargo Forum reported a curious incident out of Fessenden, North Dakota, on this date in 1899. One father's jealous rage led to a nasty incident there between two men at the Fessenden Hotel.

The two men, George Parker and Ned Roman, appeared to have been vying for the attention of Parker's daughter, Sadie. Sadie, being in charge of the hotel, had hired Roman to do some handy work around the place, despite her father being against the arrangement. Mr. Parker had grown used to his daughter waiting on him, and was not in any way interested in sharing her with another man. Roman began working at the hotel, however, and things ran smoothly for awhile. When Sadie began to dote on the younger gentleman, though, Mr. Parker grew furious. After a short time, the two men came to blows. The Forum described Mr. Parker as being "naturally suspicious" and possessing a "beastly disposition." All of this appeared to be an understatement on the morning of January 19.

Believing that his daughter favored Roman and was paying too much attention to him, Mr. Parker attacked the unsuspecting handyman. Mr. Parker's choice of weapon, however, was the hotel's finest china! He attempted to "knock [Roman] senseless" using the dishes, but when this maneuver failed, he resorted to lunging at the stunned man, attempting to bite off his ear. Fortunately for Roman, his ear slipped from Mr. Parker's teeth, but in the process, the crazed father somehow got a hold of Roman's finger, biting the appendage clean off! Roman was rushed to the doctor, while Sadie and the authorities were left to deal with her disheveled father. Charges were filed against Parker, and Judge Jackson heard the case once Roman was cleaned up and ready to testify. It is probably safe to say that fellows in Fessenden minded themselves a little more carefully around Sadie after that day.

Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job


Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. Friday (Evening ed.), January 20, 1899: p.1.