Colyar Imputes Arrest to Felder Conspiracy

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

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

Knoxville Charge Against Him Not Pressed for More Than Four Years

A. S. Colyar was detained late Saturday afternoon on the request of E. D. Conners, chief of police of Knoxville, Tenn. to face an indictment charging forgery returned four years ago by the grand jury at that city. The amount involved is $90.

Colyar hotly maintains that his arrest is a plot of Colonel T. B. Felder’s to get him out of town. He declares that the Knoxville official was prompted to press the old charge against him by a friend of Felder’s.

Colyar was taken into custody by city detectives on the street and accompanied them to police headquarters. He was closeted with Chief of Police Beavers and Chief of Detectives Lanford for nearly an hour. Later he secured bond and was allowed his liberty.


“I have been in Knoxville many times since the indictment was returned against me,” Colyar told Chief Beavers, “and there never was any attempt to press the charge or arrest me. If Felder had not devised the plot, no action would have been taken at this time.

Colyar says that the charge of forgery grew out of the complaint of a woman of questionable reputation in the Tennessee city. His statement was corroborated by the chief of police of Knoxville in a long distance message to Chief Beavers. He asserts that four years ago he was called in to draw up her will and that she paid him for the work with a check for $90. The check, he says, passed through several hands and was honored at the bank. The woman did not allege that it was a forged paper until six months later, he maintains.


To set at rest all speculations and rumors. Chief of Police Beavers gave out the following statement Saturday afternoon outlining the connection of A. S. Colyar with the recent sensational developments.

“I first met Mr. Colyar on Monday, May 5. Detective Ozburn came to me and told me that he had met a man on the street who he thought could get valuable informbation [sic] in the Phagan case and these matters which have developed later. He named Colyar and said he had known him for several years.

“I told Detective Ozburn to have Colyar call on me in my office. Colyar refused to come and I went to his room in the Williams house No. 2. He told me then that he thought he could get valuable information for me and I told him if he could get it in a legitimate and honest way to go ahead.

“That is the extent of my personal acquaintance with Colyar. I didn’t speak to him again until today, although I was, of course, advised of his activity and the part he took in the case by Chief of Detectives Lanford.”


Chief Lanford, in commenting on Colyar’s connection with the detective department, said that he was by no means an agent of the city and that he had only worked with the local detectives because it was thought his aid would be valuable. “We are always ready to accept any aid of real value,” said the chief, “and we did not, of course, refuse his.

“He said that he had been associated with Colonel Felder for several years and that the latter owed him a considerable sum of money for copying and writing he had done for him in legal cases. I think he said he did $12,000 worth of work and received only $600 for it.

“I had several conferences with Mr. Colyar and he always was square in his dealings with me.

“In connection with the charges of Colonel Felder I would like to ask the colonel why, if he thought Colyar a crook and all the rest of the things he called him, he let himself be led into a trap.”

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Atlanta Journal, May 25th 1913, “Colyar Imputes Arrest to Felder Conspiracy,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)