Finding of Hair and Envelope Described by Factory Machinist

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 1st, 1913

R. B. Barrett, a machinist at the National Pencil factory, who declares that he found strands of hair similar to Mary Phagan’s on his machine after the murder, and who also told of finding a torn piece of pay envelope in the same room and under the machine where the hair was found, followed Monteen Stover on the stand.

He was asked if he had testified before the coroner’s and the grand jury, and replied that he had.

“What did you see near Mary Phagan’s machine?”

“A peculiar spot on the floor,” he replied.

“Was the spot there Friday?”

He described the spot as being four or five inches in diameter and with similar spots back of it and leading toward the entrance to the rear.

“What hour Monday did you find these spots?”

“Between 6:30 and 7 o’clock on Monday.”

“What was the spot?”


“What else?”

“There was a white substance partially covering it.”
“Had you ever seen any white substance on the floor before?”


“What white substances were on the second floor?”

“Potash and oscaline.”

“How did the white substance look?”

“It looked like it had been applied with a heavy cane broom.”

“Did you ever see such a broom there?”

“Yes, there was one nearby.”

“Did the broom show evidence of being used?”

“No; no more than that it was dirty.”

“What was the broom kept there for?”

“To sweep with in the metal department.”

“What was ordinarily used to sweep with?”

“A finer broom.”

Tells of Finding Hair.

“Did you find any hair?”

“Yes, on an iron handle to my machine near there.”

“Anybody else see the hair?”

“Yes, Mel Stanford did.”

“Where is the gas jet where the girls sometimes curl their hair?”

“About ten feet from where I found the strands.”
Barrett then located on the cross-section the spot where his machine stood, and declared that when he left there at 5:30 o’clock on the previous Friday that the hair was not on the machine. He said that he had left a piece of work in the machine, and that this was not disturbed Monday at the time he found the hair.

“Were any of the girls working Saturday?”

“No, the factory was closed down. About fifteen or twenty feet from Mary Phagan’s machine I found a pay envelop and went and picked it up. It had a mark on it that looked as though someone had started to make the letter ‘G’ or ‘F,’ and that was all that was on it,” Barrett told.

“On what day did you find the envelope?”

“Between April 28 and 30.”

“What else did you find besides the envelope?”

“I found some fillings.”

“Do you know anything about the acid room?”
“I never had any experience with it.”

“What effect would the acid have on a pocket book or similar thing?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you look carefully around the elevator shaft?”


“Well, when you searched previous to May 15, did you see a stick, looking like a baseball bat?”

“No; I found nothing at all.”

“You were searching for evidence, having already been told of the murder?” asked Attorney Rosser, who here started his cross-examination.

Sure Spots Were Blood.

“Yes; I was told Mary Phagan had been murdered and that she was thought to have been killed on the second floor.”

“When did you get to the factory?”

“About 6:30 or 7 o’clock Monday morning.”

“You said that the spot on the floor was blood; how do you know that it was?”

“I know it was blood.”

“Are you a chemist?”

“No, but I know blood when I see it.”

“Didn’t you say before the coroner that the spot looked like blood?”

“I don’t know what I said before the coroner exactly, but I know that it was blood,” replied the machinist in a positive tone.

“About the hair, there were six or eight strands about a foot long, weren’t there?”


“Was there no number, no amount, or other writing on the pay envelope you found?”

“No; nothing but the little loop.”

“Was it like the pay envelopes regularly used in the factory?”


Barrett was then allowed to leave the stand. It was 12:15.