Character Witnesses are Called in the Case by City Detectives

Character Witnesses are Called in the Case by City Detectives

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Friday, May 9th, 1913

Tom Backstock, of 21 Hightower street, a youth of about sixteen or seventeen years, testified that he worked at the pencil factory about a year ago. He didn’t know Mr. Frank personally, he said, but knew him when he worked at the factory.

“Did you have any opportunity to observe his conduct with the women there?” the lad was asked.

“I saw him ‘pick’ at the girls,” was the reply.

“Who were they?” the coroner asked.

“I couldn’t tell their names now,” he said. “I didn’t work there long enough to get very well acquainted.”

The coroner asked how Mr. Frank had acted and the boy said he had placed his hands on some of them. He didn’t know how many times he had seen this.

In reply he mentioned the name of a girl, but said he had simply heard a rumor since the crime was committed. He knew nothing of his own knowledge.

The witness said he had never heard any of the girls complain, but had seen them trying to get out of Mr. Frank’s way. He worked at the pencil factory about six weeks, he said, and stopped because he found a better position.

Miss Nellie Wood, of 8 Corput street, said that she didn’t know Mr. Frank very well. She had worked at the factory two days about two years ago, she said.

Miss Wood said that she was employed as a forelady. Mr. Frank would come to her and put his hands on her “when it was not called for,” she said.

“Any other girls?” the coroner asked.

“No, sir, not that I saw,” she said.

“Is that all he did?” the coroner asked.

“No, that’s not all,” the witness replied, “He asked me into his office to talk business on the second day I was there. The subject of the conversation was whether I was going to stay there. He wanted to close the door. I objected and he said, ‘Don’t worry. No one is coming.’ He was too familiar. I didn’t like it.”

The witness said that Mr. Frank attempted familiarity and then tried to pass it off as a joke, but that she told him she was “too old for that.”

Mrs. C. D. Donegan, of 165 West Fourteenth street, said that she worked at the factory about three weeks two years ago. She said that Mr. Frank had smiled and winked at the girls, but never more than that. She denied that she had told Detective Scott anything more than this.

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Atlanta Journal, May 9th 1913, “Character Witnesses are Called in the Case by City Detectives,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)