Frank Prepares to Take Stand

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 15th, 1913

Defense’s Attorneys Expect to Rest Case To-day


Interest in the trial of Leo M. Frank surged upward magically Friday when it was reported about the courtroom that the defense was nearing the close of its case, and that the defendant himself would be placed on the stand within a short time to make his only statement before his fate was placed in the hands of the twelve jurors.

The rumor spread outside the court house mysteriously and an unusual number sought admittance early in the day, although it was regarded as most unlikely that Frank would go to the stand until afternoon. Luther Rosser said he thought he would call the defendant about the middle of the afternoon. Attorney Arnold announced the defense probably would rest by night.

As the last witnesses were being called by the defense, Frank, his wife and his mother viewed the proceedings with the same calmness that has marked their demeanor since the trial began, with the exception of the outburst of the mother two days before. On Friday she looked steadfastly downward and slightly toward the judge’s bench as though she might be having some difficulty in maintaining her attitude of confidence and calmness.

Likely Not to Call Mincey.

As the defense neared the close of its case, the probability of the calling of W. H. Mincey diminished. Mincey is the insurance solicitor who swore that he talked to Conley the afternoon of the murder of Mary Phagan, and that Conley boasted to him of killing a girl. The attorneys for Frank would not announce definitely their intentions in respect to Mincey or with what credence they looked upon his story.

Solicitor Dorsey brought before the jury for the first time, Friday the intimation that Frank might have sought to have disquised [sic] his handwriting when he was asked to write the test notes by the police and detectives.

M. O. Nix, a credit man at Montag Bros., was called to the stand to identify Frank’s handwriting on the financial sheet. When Dorsey took the witness over for cross-examination he showed photographic copies of the notes Frank write and asked Nix if it was Frank’s writing. The witness was unable to say. The Solicitor did not suggest any motive in disguising his hand.

The Solicitor endeavored to get Joseph Stelker, one of the factory foremen, to testify that Frank did not go in to view the body of Mary Phagan when he was taken down to identify the girl. Stelker testified for the defense that some of the red varnish used in the factory made stains very much like the supposed blood spots found on the factory floor.

The defense continued calling character witnesses at intervals throughout the forenoon. None was cross-questioned yesterday and all said Frank’s character was good.

When the case was resumed Friday it was very problematical when the defense would finish. According to Luther Rosser, the defense may rest before evening with Leo Frank having told his story on the stand, but Reuben Arnold was of the opinion that the defense still would be putting in evidence to-morrow.

Frank’s statement on the stand unquestionably will be one of the striking features of the trial. He has studied the State’s case carefully, and it is said will not content himself with merely denying his guilt and explaining his movements on the fatal day, but will go somewhat into what he believes are the weaknesses of the State’s chain of circumstances.

According to Frank’s friends, the prisoner has been anxious for his attorneys to allow him to be cross-questioned, but they have doubted the wisdom of allowing him to go through the ordeal after the strain of the last few months.

Dr. J. E. Summerfield, No. 300 Washington street, who said he had lived in Atlanta for nineteen years and F. Schiff, No. 38 Fair street, who has lived here for fifty years, were the first witnesses called Friday and both responded favorably to the usual questions about Frank’s character put by Attorney Arnold.

No attempt at cross-examination was made by Solicitor Dorsey. The State had an equally imposing army of witnesses—most of them women—ready to go on the stand in rebuttal of the evidence upholding the prisoner’s character.

A curious problem will arise when they are summoned. The State can only ask its witnesses as to the general character of the defendant, just as the defense has done, and it will be up to the defense to ask about particular incidents on the cross-examination or rest content with allowing the opinions of the State’s witnesses to go unchallenged. In that event it would be merely one group saying Frank’s character is good against another saying it is bad, with the jury to decide which it prefers to believe.

B. J. Nix, of Marietta, an office boy for the National Pencil Company from April to October, 1912, was the third witness of the morning.

Q. What days were you off?—A. I was off nearly every Saturday until September.

Q. What time did you leave on the Saturdays you worked?—A. Usually I worked until 4 or 6 o’clock.

Q. Do you recall missing any Saturdays when you were supposed to work?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever know Frank to have any women there drinking with him?—A. No.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. When they were working on that building on Forsyth street, what time […]


Paint Used in Pencil Factory Made Blood-Like Stains, Employee Says


[…] did you leave?—A. About 4 o’clock.

Q. You don’t know whether Frank had those women there when you were off or not, do you?—A. No.

The witness was excused and R. D. Greenfield was called.

Q. Are you one of the owners of the Venable Building in which the pencil company has its factory?—A. Yes.

Q. Who leased it?—A. Montag Bros., for a period of ten years.

Q. Do you know where the metal room is?—A. No.

Q. Where is the Clark Woodenware Company?—A. They occupied part of the building known as No. 37 Forsyth street.

Q. Since Montags have had that building has any new flooring been put down?—A. No.

Q. Do you know Leo M. Frank?—A. Yes.

Q. Is his character good or bad?—A. It is very good.

Hooper took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. Are you closely connected with the defendant?—A. As landlord and tenant.

Q. Did you contribute to the fund for Frank’s defense?—A. No.

Arnold took the witness.

Q. Have you ever heard of any such fund?—A. No.

Arnold aside, said:

“I wish there was one.”

Montag’s Credit Man on Stand.

The witness was excused and N. O. Nix, credit man for Montag Brothers, was called to the stand. Arnold questioned him.

Q. Have you come in contact with the handwriting of Leo Frank?—A. Yes, I saw many of his reports to Montag Brothers.

Q. Have you a fairly good acquaintance with him?—A. Yes, fairly good.

Mr. Arnold showed the witness a number of financial sheets of the National Pencil Company, including the one of April 26.

Q. Whose handwriting were these made in?—A. All are in the handwriting of Mr. Frank.

Q. Whose handwriting is that below those orders?—A. Miss Hattie Hall, our stenographer.

Q. Did you employ her?—A. Yes.

Q. Do you know anything about her getting a raise in salary recently?—A. Yes, I gave her one August 1.

Q. Why?—A. Because I promised it to her when she first came to work.

The witness identified Frank’s handwriting on requisitions said to have been made out April 26.

Dorsey took the witness.

Q. How do you know it was Frank’s handwriting on those slips and reports?—A. By these reports coming to me.

Q. You never did see him write one of these, did you?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever see him write?—A. Yes.

Q. Doesn’t this show that it came in on April 22?—A. Yes.

Q. They would not have waited until April 26 to make a requisition for it, would they?

Arnold objected and Judge Roan sustained him.

Q. Are you the brother of the office boy who has just testified?—A. Yes.

Q. How long have you been with Montag Brothers?—A. Seven or eight years.

Q. Whose handwriting is this (the witness was handed the photograph of a letter)?—A. I can not say. It looks something like Mr. Frank’s.

Q. Won’t you say whether it is or is not?—A. I can not say.

Q. Then how can you identify that other handwriting?—A. The other is mostly figures. It is different from this.

Unable to Identify Frank’s Writing.

Q. Will you say this is not Frank’s handwriting?—A. I can not identify this writing.

Q. Give the jury some reason.—A. The writing of Frank’s which I have seen has been mostly figures.

The photograph which Dorsey showed the witness was of the note which Frank wrote to the police for comparison with the murder notes found beside the body of Mary Phagan.

On redirect examination the witness said he was not familiar with Frank’s style of letter writing. The witness was excused and Joseph Stelker, in charge of the polishing and varnishing department at the pencil factory, was called to the stand. Arnold examined him.

Q. Did you see the blood spots which Barrett found?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you see the white stuff over these spots?—A. Yes; it looked like it might have been a substance we used on the machine, or face powder.

Q. Is there any red varnish used in the factory? If so, how would it compare with this?—A. Some varnish looks like blood.

Q. Do you know what that substance was?—A. I do not.

Q. Would it have been possible for the red varnish to have been splashed out of a bottle to this point?—A. Yes.

Saw Spots on the Floor All the Time.

Q. Did you ever see these spots on the floor?—A. Yes, all the time.

Q. You never would have noticed this particular spot if Christopher Columbus Barrett had not pointed it out to you?—A. I don’t think I would.

Q. Were you at the undertaking establishment Sunday afternoon?—A. Yes.

Q. What impression were you and Frank under about the Coroner’s inquest?

Dorsey objected and was sustained.

Q. Do you know whether Frank saw the body of little Mary Phagan?—A. No.

Q. Did you understand the Coroner’s inquest was to be held there?—A. I heard it was there.

The witness was offered as a character witness and declared that Frank’s character was good. He further said that Jim Conley’s character was bad and that he would not believe the negro under oath.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. What wages do you get?—A. $20 a week.

Q. How long have you been getting that?—A. A year and a half.

Q. Where are you from?—A. New York.

Q. Did you know Frank there?—A. No.

Q. Whom did you discuss Conley’s character with?—A. No one.

Q. When you don’t mean to tell me that you are giving just an opinion?—A. I was talking about what he had done to me.

“Then I move to ride it out,” said Dorsey. “It is nothing but this man’s personal opinion.”

Says Conley Mixed Water With Beer.

Judge Roan—I sustain you under those circumstances.

Q. Did you ever hear anyone say anything about Conley’s character?—A. I heard he was in the chaingang.

Q. Who said it?—A. I saw him myself.

Q. Frank took him back when he came out of the chaingang, didn’t he?—A. Don’t you know that a negro is much better when he comes out of the chaingang than he was before?

Q. Well, what did Conley do to you?—A. I sent him out for 25 cents’ worth of beer, and when he brought it back it was half water. I said, “Didn’t you put water in here?” and he said, “No, I wouldn’t do anything like that.”

Q. How do you know he put water in the beer?—A. By the taste.

Q. When was this?—A. Last summer.

Q. What time was it?—A. At 10:30.

Q. how do you know the time? Was it your habit to get that bucket full every day at this time?—A. Yes.

Q. What did you do with this beer?—A. I threw it out.

Q. Did you send him again?—A. No.

Q. What time did Frank come to the undertaker’s?—A. A little after 2 o’clock.

Q. How was he dressed?—A. In a blue or brown suit.

Q. Who came with Frank?—A. He came alone.

Q. How big was the room in which the body was?—Fifteen by fifteen.

Q. It was a great big room?—A. Not very.

Q. What kind of a room?—A. I never noticed it. I just looked at the body and walked out.

Q. How was the door located?—A. On the right side of the passageway.

Q. How far did you go into this room?—A. Just to the door.

Q. Describe the body?—One eye was badly discolored. There was a scar on the right of the face. The hair was hanging loose.

Q. Well, go on.—A. I didn’t look so close.

Q. Who suggested you going to look at the body?—A. Fritz Yankee.

Q. Didn’t you say a while ago that you sat there two minutes and got up and looked at the body, and that Frank arrived three minutes later?—A. Yes.

Q. Well, explain that to the jury.—A. I don’t know what time it was, I was so nervous. It might have been twenty minutes.

Q. How long did it take you to get yourself together?—A. I haven’t gotten myself together yet.

Q. When did Frank go in to view the body?—A. Later.

Q. How much later?—A. It might have been twenty minutes.

Q. How far did you have to go back to see the body?—A. You could stand in the door.

Q. Did the seeing of that body have any effect on Frank’s appearance?—A. No, he looked just like he does now.

Q. You don’t know whether Frank went into that room or not?—A. No.

Q. You felt nauseated?—A. Yes.

Went to Morgue To See Bruises.

Q. Was there anybody connected with the factory who went back to the undertaking establishment with Frank?—A. No.

Q. Can you name anyone else from the factory who was there?—A. Lemmie Quinn.

Q. Now, why did you go there?—A. I wanted to see who she was.

Q. Didn’t you know it was Mary Phagan?—A. I heard it when I got there.

Q. Well, why did you go there when it would tear you all to pieces?—A. I wanted to see the bruises.

Arnold—He has already gone into that.

Dorsey—Your honor. Want to test the witness’ recollection.

Arnold’s objection was sustained and he took the witness.

Q. You are a German, aren’t you?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You like to drink your beer don’t you?—A. Yes.

Q. You sent Jim Conley after beer, didn’t he?—A. Yes, and I asked him and he brought it back half water, if he had put his black mouth where a white man was to drink. He said no, and I cussed him.

The witness was excused and P. D. McCorley, of No. 24 Hampton street, who has charge of the cotton seed oil business of M. Frank, the wealthy uncle of Leo M. Frank, was placed on the stand.

McCorley testified to Frank’s character as being good.

Mrs. M. W. Meyer, followed McCorley, and said she had known Leo Frank for five years and that his character was good.

Mrs. David Marx, No. 354 Washington street, the wife of Rabbi Marx, followed Mrs. Meyer. Mrs. Marx said that Frank’s character was very good.

Mrs. Arthur I. Harris, A. L. Guthman, No. 479 Washington street, and M. S. Rice, of No. 14 Washington street, followed each other in rapid succession on the witness stand as character witnesses for Frank. They each declared that they knew the defendant very well, and that his character was good.

Mrs. B. Glogowski, who has a boarding house at No. 499 Washington street, testified that Frank boarded with her for several months prior to his marriage and that his character was very good.

Mrs. J. E. Summerfield, a physician; Mr. and Mrs. L. H. Moss, Mrs. Joseph G. Brown, William Bauer, No. 52 Washington street; Miss Helen Loeb and Emil Dittler took the stand as character witnesses in behalf of Frank.

E. E. Fitzpatrick, of 105 Sinclair avenue, Inman Park, foreman of the shipping department of Montag Bros., testified that he had known Frank for several years and that his character was good.

Saw Frank at Montag’s.

J. C. Matthews, a clerk at Montag Brothers, residing at No. 82 Sinclair avenue, was called to the stand. Arnold questioned him.

Q. Do you recall Memorial Day?—A. Yes.

Q. Where were you?—A. At Montag’s

Q. Did you see Mr. Frank?—A. Yes, while I was there.

Q. Do you know the time?—A. No.

The witness also testified as to Frank’s good character. He was then excused and Alfred Fox, a furniture manufacturer, was called. He testified as a character witness in behalf of Frank.

Mrs. Aloph Montag was the next character witness. She declared she had known Frank for some time and that his character was very good. Dorsey cross-examined her.

Q. When did you hear Frank’s character discussed?—A. I have heard women, as well as my husband, speak of what a fine gentleman he was.

The witness was excused and F. F. Hilburn, No. 22 Inman street, West End, was called. He testified in Frank’s behalf as a character witness. When asked if he knew Frank’s general character, the witness said: “I will have to answer no. I only know him in a business way.”

Dorsey—I object, your honor. He is not acquainted with the general character of the defendant.

Judge Roan—The witness does not qualify.

The witness was excused and Mrs. Martin May, Julian Boehm, No. 332 Myrtle street; M. H. Silverman, a lawyer; Mrs. Mollie Rosenberg, a trained nurse; Mrs. M. A. Sterne, Charles Adler, Mrs. R. A. Sonn, wife of the superintendent of the Hebrew Orphan’s Home; O. J. Jones, of West End, an employee of Montag Brothers; Mrs. Dan Klein, Nathan Copeland, an attorney, and Miss Ray Klein testified in rapid succession as to Frank’s good character.

Hadn’t Heard of Immorality at Factory.

L. Finstein testified that he had been in Frank’s employ for more than a year and that his general character was good. M. J. Barnard, of the Atlas Paper Company, testified also as to Frank’s good character, Barnard declared that he had never heard of any immoral actions within the pencil factory.

Mrs. John O. Parmelee, No. 417 Spring street, the wife of a stockholder in the pencil company, said Frank’s character and reputation were excellent. Dorsey cross-examined her.

Q. How many times have you seen Frank?—A. I have known him about four years. I saw him when I went to the factory with my husband about four years ago.

Q. How many times have you seen him since?—A. I saw him on the street and visited him in jail.

Q. Who ever discussed him with you?—A. I am a member of the board of directors of the Sheltering Arms. In that way I have heard of Mr. Frank and I have also heard a number of Jewish people speak highly of him.

The witness was excused.

Jacob Fox, manager of the children’s department of Eiseman’s, next took the stand and said he had boarded at the same place with Frank and testified as to Frank’s good character.

Marcus Loeb, a manufacturer, testified next to Frank’s good character.

Roy Bauer, a youth, who formerly worked at the pencil factory, was the next witness. Arnold questioned him.

Went to Plant Often on Saturdays.

Q. Have you ever worked at the National Pencil Company with Mr. Frank on Saturday?—A. Yes; during the summers of 1909 and 1910.

Q. Have you worked there in the last twelve months?—A. No.

Q. Have you been there since you quit working there?—A. During the Ohio flood I went there often on Saturdays.

Q. Did you find anybody there?—A. Mr. Holloway, Mr. Darley and Mrs. Frank.

Q. Did you ever see any women there?—A. No.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. You saw Mr. Schiff there?—A. Until January. He was in the flood district then and I went there to find whether there was any news of him.

Q. Do you remember the time?—A. […]


Defense Paves Way for Placing the Accused Superintendent on the Stand


[…] Yes; it was about 3 o’clock the first Saturday.

Q. How do you know?—A. I just bathed and dressed.

Q. What time was it then?—A. About 2 o’clock.

Q. Did you see the office boy that Saturday?—A. Yes.

Q. Who else?—A. Mr. Frank.

Q. What time did you leave?—A. About 4 o’clock.

Q. Do you recall the conversation while you were there?—A. No.

Q. Did you go there often?—A. I made a practice of going there every Saturday and talking to them.

Q. Most of the time that particular Saturday was Frank working?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you talk to him while he was working?—A. Not much.

Court then adjourned until 2 o’clock.

Sheriff Warns Crowd To Be Quiet.

Just before court convened for the afternoon session, Sheriff Mangum warned the crowd that if he heard any more laughter or hisses that he would bring the offenders before Judge Roan and also clear the courtroom of the balance of the crowd.

Solicitor Dorsey continued the cross-examination of Roy Bauer.

Q. Who have you talked to since you left the stand?—A. Mr. Leo Gottheimer, Mr. Sig Montag, Jim Gorst, Mr. Arnold and Mr. Rosser.

Q. Where did you see them?—A. In Mr. Arnold’s office.

Q. Why did you go to Mr. Arnold’s office?—A. I drove Mr. Sig Montag over in his car.

Q. Do you drive for him?—A. I have been since his wife has been away.

Q. What did they talk to you about?—A. About my visits to the National Pencil Factory on Saturdays.

Q. What did you tell them?—A. Nothing except what I told you.

Q. Now tell me about the third Saturday in January. What time did you get to the National Pencil Factory?—A. I don’t remember.

Q. How do you remember the first Saturday?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Did you look at any samples of pencils that third Saturday?—A. No.

Q. What Saturday was it, then?—A. The second.

Q. You could not remember who was up there the fourth Saturday except Mr. Frank?—A. No one that I remember.

Q. Who did you see there the fourth Saturday?—A. I don’t know, except the people who were usually there.

Q. Do you recall what time he left?—A. No.

Q. Did you see Mr. Holloway?—A. I don’t remember.

The witness was excused and Harry Gottheimer, who resides at the Imperial Hotel, and who is a traveling salesman for Montag Brothers and the National Pencil Company, was called. Attorney Arnold questioned him.

Q. Did you see Leo M. Frank Memorial Day?—A. Yes. At Montag Brothers about 10 o’clock.

Q. Did you have any conversation with Mr. Frank?—A. Yes. He asked me if I could come over that morning and I told him no. Then he asked me if I could not come over that afternoon.

Q. Had you seen him before that time in April?—A. Yes.

Q. When?—A. Two weeks before that, I was at his office. His wife was there writing on the typewriter.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. You say you work for Montag?—A. I do.

Member of Society To Which Frank Belonged.

Q. You are also a member of the B’nai B’rith, Frank’s society, are you not?—A. I am.

Q. What did Frank say when you saw him at Montag’s?—A. He said he would see me that morning, or that afternoon, if I preferred.

Q. He didn’t say anything about having a baseball engagement with his brother-in-law, did he?—A. No.

The witness was excused and Emma Bibbs, a negro servant for Herbert Schiff, was called. Arnold questioned her.

Q. Do you recollect anyone calling up Mr. Schiff on Memorial Day?—A. Yes, sir. It sounded like a boy’s voice. I didn’t ask who it was.

Q. What time was it?—A. About 10 o’clock.

Q. Did you call Mr. Schiff?—A. Yes, sir. He is hard to wake. He said he would go, but he went back to sleep.

Q. What time was it they called again?—A. About 11 o’clock. Mr. Schiff said to tell them he would come as soon as he dressed.

Dorsey took the witness.

Q. Emma, how long has Mr. Schiff been living there?—A. More than 40 years, I guess.

Q. Forty years?—A. I was talking about the old man.

Q. Did you always wake him up on holidays?—A. I don’t remember. Sometimes I would wake Jim up. He never would get up, unless I waked him.

Thanksgiving and Memorial Day Same.

Q. How do you remember so well about Memorial Day?—Everyone remembers Memorial Day.

Q. How about Thanksgiving Day?—A. Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Day are the same.

Q. Who was the first one you told about this?—A. I don’t remember.

Q. Didn’t you talk it over with anyone?—A. With the lawyer, Mr. Herbert Haas.

Q. When?—A. Since the trial began.

Q. Did he take you into the sitting room before the family and they all talked to you?—A. No, sir. Nobody talked to me but him.

Q. What did he do?—Take you off to himself and ask you about it?—A. No, sir, he didn’t do nothing but give me my “suspena.”

The witness was excused and Annie Hicks, cook for Mrs. Ursenbach, sister of Mrs. Frank, was called. Arnold questioned her.

Q. Did you ket [sic] a telephone message last Memorial Day?—A. Yes.

Q. What time?—A. About 1:30.

Q. What was it?—A. Some one called up and asked for Mr. Ursenbach. I said he was not in and he told me to tell him he could not go to the ball game with him. He stopped for a minute and then said: “Hush up honey” to someone and then said into the telephone, “All right.” I reckon he was talking to his wife.

Q. Did you deliver the message?—A. Yes.

Q. Do you know who it was talking?—A. Yes, it was Mr. Frank.

Tells of Seeing Frank on Sunday.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. Were you at the same place the following Sunday afternoon?—A. No, sir, I don’t work anywhere Sunday afternoons.

Q. Did you see Mr. Frank Sunday morning?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you let him in?—A. No.

Q. Where were you, then?—A. In the dining room.

Q. Was he nervous?—A. No.

Q. What were they doing?—A. Just standing around, laughing.

Q. Did you know what you were going to swear?—A. No, if I had I planned to go to see my mother.

Q. Did you ever talk to Minola McKnight?—A. Yes.

Q. What did she say?—A. She said she was locked up.

Q. What did she say she did?—A. Just prayed.

Attorney Rosser objected to this question and answer and was sustained.

The witness was excused and Truman McCrary, a negro drayman, was called. Arnold questioned him. McCrary said that up to May 1 he had worked every Saturday at the National Pencil Factory.

Q. From July 1, 1912, to January 1, 1913, how many Saturday afternoons did you miss working there?—A. I wouldn’t say more than one.

Q. How late did you work there?—A. Usually until about 5 o’clock.

Q. On any Saturday, did you see the front door locked?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever see Jim Conley watching around the front door?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever find Mr. Frank’s outer office or inner office door locked?—A. No, sir.

Q. What sort of substance are the doors to his office made of?—A. Glass.

Doesn’t Know Which Saturday He Missed.

Q. Who did you find with Mr. Frank?—A. Sometimes Mr. Schiff.

Q. Did you see Jim Conley around the factory April 26, Memorial Day?—A. I did not.

Q. You were there that day?—A. Yes, sir. I went there first about 7:30 o’clock and I went up to see Mr. Frank a little before 12 o’clock.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. What Saturday was it you missed between July and January?—A. I don’t remember.

Q. What time did you arrive at the factory on your first trip?—A. About 7:30 o’clock.

Q. How do you know?—A. I just come from Mr. Schiff’s.

Q. What had you been doing there?—A. Taking him his clothes.

Q. What time did you get your pay Saturday?—A. I don’t remember, exactly. Some time before 12 o’clock.

Q. You never saw that peglegged drayman there that morning, did you?—A. No.

Q. You do remember putting your hay down at the door?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. You say you never saw Jim Conley there on Saturday afternoons?—A. No.

Q. Were you ever there yourself on Saturday afternoons?—A. Yes, sir.

Q. When you went there for your bills, would you go up to the office to get them or would they bring them down to you?—A. Some times I went up to the office for them and sometimes they brought them down.

The witness was excused and Isaac Haas, 479 Washington street, was called. Arnold questioned him. Haas testified to the general good character of Frank.

Q. Mr. Haas, did your telephone wake you up on Sunday, April 27?—A. No, it woke my wife and she woke me.

The witness was excused and Arthur Pride, a negro, was called. Arnold questioned him.

Q. Is your name Arthur, or Walker?—A. Both. Some calls me Walker and some the other.

Q. Where do you work?—A. Second floor of the pencil factory.

Q. Do you work on a machine?—A. Yes.

Q. Do you recall missing a Saturday since June of last year?—A. No.

Q. Do you just work on the second floor?—A. No, I work from the basement to the roof.

Q. On any of the Saturdays you worked did you ever see any women in the office of Mr. Frank?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever see Jim Conley standing guard on the first floor?—A. No.

Q. Were you at the factory Memorial Day?—A. No.

Q. What kind of work did Jim Conley do?—A. Sweeper and elevator man.

Q. Do the employees use the back stairway that leads from the second to the third and fourth floors?—A. Yes.

Q. When the machinery is not running, can you hear the elevator?—A. Very plainly.

Q. Is there any difficulty in hearing the elevator run on any floor?—A. No.

Q. Would you believe Jim Conley under oath?—A. No.

Hooper took the witness or cross-examination.

Q. When did you make up your mind you would not believe Jim?—A. About four months ago.

Q. Why?—A. He and his whole family told a lie on me.

Q. What was it?—A. He got me into trouble.

Q. You are a better negro than Jim?—A. No, but I am a better grade negro.

Q. Well, what did he do?—A. He brought me a watch that was marked “paid in full” and sold it to me. He got arrested for it and his family promised to pay for it if I got him out. I got it fixed and they would not pay me.

Q. Where was the elevator key kept?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Did you hear that elevator when the wind was blowing the blinds?—A. Yes. But the wind wasn’t blowing the blinds.

Arnold took the witness.

Q. You say Conley forged a receipt and sold you the watch?—A. Yes.

Woman Says She Saw Bloodspots.

The witness was excused and Mrs. E. H. Carson, No. 61 McIntire street, was called. Arnold questioned her. Mrs. Carson said she worked at the pencil factory.

Q. Have you at any time seen blood spots around the ladies’ toilet?—A. Yes; very often.

Q. Were you at the factory April 25?—A. Yes.

Q. What time did you leave?—A. 12:30.

Q. When were you there again?—A. Monday.

Q. When did you first see Jim Conley after the crime?—A. Tuesday.

Q. What time did you see him gain?—A. Thursday.

Q. Did you say anything to him?—A. I said: “Well, I see they haven’t got you yet. He said: “I ain’t done nothing.” I told him that Mr. Frank hadn’t done anything, but they had him in jail. That when they found the negro that was on the first floor that day, that they would have the murderer of Mary Phagan. He put down his broom and walked away.

Q. How long have you known Mr. Frank?—A. For three years, the first of last April.

Q. Was his character good or bad?—A. It was always good.

Q. How long have you known Jim Conley?—A. I don’t know how long.

Q. What was his character for truth and honesty?—A. Bad.

Q. Would you believe him under oath?—A. No, I would not.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. Do you know Miss Daisy Hopkins? (Miss Hopkins was brought into the courtroom)—A. No, I don’t know her. There are lots of them I don’t know.

Jury Goes Out for Usual Soft Drink.

Q. What time was it Tuesday after the murder that you talked to Conley?—A. It was something after 9 o’clock.

Q. Don’t you know you talked to Frank and Conley both on the fourth floor that day?—A. I think I did.

Q. Didn’t you see Frank whisper to Conley?—A. No, I did not.

Q. What did Frank say?—A. He said he was sorry about the little girl being killed.

Q. Did you near anyone else say they were sorry about the girl being murdered?—A. Well, to tell you the truth, I was so stirred up and upset. I don’t remember just what was said. I have been upset ever since, and I am not right now. I was awful sorry about the little girl.

At this point Mr. Dorsey asked for the records of the National Pencil Company. The defense did not have them.

Dorsey: “I served a duces tecum on you. I need those records.”

Rosser: “We have called on you for papers several times when you did not have them. You just quarrel like an old she-cat.”

Arnold: “Let’s quit this quarreling, Hugh. Let’s all quit it. It is disgusting.”

The jurors were excused for a few minutes to take their usual afternoon soft drink.

Q. Did you see those blood spots on the second floor near the ladies dressing room?—A. Yes.

Q. And you say you have seen such blood spots before?—A. Yes.

Q. Where, in the basement?—A. No. I have never been in the basement. I saw it around the sink, in the toilet on the second floor and on the steps.

Says Conley Declared Frank Was Innocent.

Q. Did you know who had been hurt?—A. No.

Q. Did you see anyone around there?—A. There were lots of girls around there.

Q. With their fingers cut?—A. Oh, no.

Q. Did you see Frank Monday?—A. No.

Q. You did not see him until Tuesday?—A. No.

Q. When did you see Jim Conley again?—A. I saw him Thursday. I said, “Jim, I see they haven’t got you yet.” He said, “No, Missis, I ain’t done nothing.” And he looked like he was scared. I said, “No, Mr. Frank hasn’t done anything either, but they got him.” He said, “No, Missis, he is as innocent as you, and I know you is.” I answered, “When they find the one who murdered little Mary Phagan it will be the negro, Mrs. White says [several words illegible] […]


[…] first floor.” Jim dropped his broom. Later in the day my daughter said to me: “They’ve got old Jim.”

Arnold took the witness.

“Mrs. Carson, we’re going to ask every woman who worked on the fourth floor whether or not she has ever been down into Mr. Frank’s office to drink beer or anything like that. I want to ask you that.—A. No.

The witness was excused and Miss Mary Burke, an employee of the National Pencil Company, was called.

Q. Are you one of the foreladies?—A. Yes, head of the metal department.

The witness then testified to the defendant’s good character.

Q. Where did you get your pay, and when?—A. Friday at the pay window.

Q. Did you have any conversation with Conley Monday?—A. Yes.

Q. What was it?—A. I accused him of the murder and he walked on off.

The witness said Conley’s general character was bad and she would not believe him under oath.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Woman Says Conley Acted as if Guilty.

Q. Why did you suspect Conley?—A. He looked and acted guilty.

Q. When did you report it?—A. I don’t know.

Q. To Whom?—A. Mr. Rosser.

Q. Was it before or after he was arrested?—A. After, I think.

Q. Didn’t you know Monday that Gantt and Newt Lee were arrested?—A. Yes.

Q. On Tuesday didn’t you know Frank was arrested?—A. Yes.

Q. You didn’t mention it to those detectives that Frank had brought there, did you?—A. No.

Q. Why?—A. I thought it best not to.

Q. Did anybody hear you accuse him?—A. Yes, Mrs. Denham and Mrs. Johns.

Q. Was this before or after you saw the blood on the second floor?—A. Before.

Q. How did the blood look?—A. It was all smeared over.

Q. Did you report it before or after the inquest?—A. I don’t remember.

Q. Did you ever see a spot there that looked like that spot?—A. Yes.

Q. Where?—A. Right there at the girls’ dressing room.

Q. Did you ever tell anybody about that spot?—A. No.

Q. In the five years you were there, did you ever hear of his immorality with girls?—A. He was a perfect gentleman so far as I know.

Q. You never heard of his slapping the girls as they went by?—A. No.

Q. You never heard of him going into the girls’ dressing room?—A. No.

Dorsey’s Questions Are Objected To.

Q. You never heard of him getting Mary Phagan there in that corner about two weeks before the murder and trying to to hold her when she was trying to get back to her work?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever see Frank around there during the day?—A. I never saw him back in the working room.

Rosser interrupted: “Some of the questions that Mr. Dorsey has asked I object to,” he said. “I just didn’t want to repeat the objection since you have ruled that it is not necessary.”

Judge Roan: “No.”

The witness was excused and Mrs. Dora Small, another employee of the pencil factory, who works on the fourth flood, was called to the stand. Arnold questioned her.

Q. Do you know this negro, Jim Conley?—A. Yes.

Q. When did you see him after the murder?—A. I saw him Tuesday.

Q. Did you see him reading the newspapers?—A. Yes. He kept worrying me for money to buy extras. When I bought them he would come around to borrow them before I had finished reading them.

Q. Did he say anything about Mr. Frank being innocent?—A. He said Mr. Frank was no more guilty than he was, or I was.

Answering questions of Frank’s character, the witness said: “I never met a finer gentleman in my life than Mr. Frank.”

Q. Do you know Jim Conley?—A. Yes.

Q. Would you believe him on oath?—A. I wouldn’t believe any negro I ever saw on oath.

The crowd laughed, as did the witness, and even Frank and his wife and mother smiled.

Dorsey (looking at Arnold): “I don’t suppose you will kick on the laughter this time.”

Got 50c Raise In Five Years.

Q. What salary do you get?—A. $6.50.

Q. How long have you been getting that?—A. About four months.

Q. When did you get your raise?—A. About four months ago. I have been working there five years and I got a fifty cent raise.

Q. How long after Frank was arrested did you get your raise?—A. Oh, my, I haven’t got a raise since he was arrested.”

Q. What did you do yesterday afternoon?—A. I worked until 5:30 o’clock.

Q. Where were you last night?—A. I was at home.

Q. When was the last conversation you had with the attorneys about this testimony?—A. I don’t remember.

Q. How many conferences did you have?—A. One.

Q. Were you at the factory when they called you all together and asked for affidavits?—A. Yes.

Q. Who else was there besides the people who worked in the factory?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Did you see the blood?—A. I saw where it had been chipped up.

Q. What made you go look at it?—A. Mrs. Carson and several of us went down to look at it through curiosity.

Q. Are you sure Mrs. Carson was there?—A. Yes.

Another Woman Gives Frank Good Record.

The witness was excused and Miss Julia Fuss, an employee on the fourth floor of the pencil factory, was the next witness. Arnold questioned her.

Q. Have you ever been down to Mr. Frank’s office after hours when anything wrong was done or for any immoral purpose?—A. Never.

The witness then testified to Frank’s general good character.

Q. Do you know Jim Conley?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you talk to him after the murder?—A. Yes, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Q. What was said?—A. I had a paper by me Tuesday morning. He asked me to let him read it. When he read it he cringed.

Q. What else?—A. The next day he asked me for a paper. I didn’t have one and asked him what he thought about it. He said he thought Mr. Frank was as innocent as an angel in heaven.

The witness also stated that she would not believe Conley on oath.

Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. Did you go down to the second floor Tuesday?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you see the blood?—A. I saw something that looked like blood.

Q. Do you think it was blood?—A. No, I think it was paint.

Q. How soon after this were you asked about Frank’s character?—A. About a week.

Q. They just asked you if you knew anything bad about him?—A. Yes.

Q. What did you say?—A. I said I understood it to be generally good.

Q. You said “generally?”—A. I said always.

Q. You caught yourself mighty quick.

Arnold: “Your honor, I object. He has insulted every lady we have put on the stand.”

Dorsey: “I want your honor to rule.”

Court Upholds Rosser’s Objection.

Judge Roan: “You can question the witness.”

Q. You never heard of any immoral practices?—A. No.

Q. How about those papers—Conley always stuck up for Frank, didn’t he? He was loyal to him?—A. Yes.

Rosser:—“I object to that, your honor. It is nothing but a dirty suggestion. The evidence can speak for itself.”

Judge Roan: “You are right, Mr. Rosser.”

Q. Now, what did Conley say when he read those papers?—A. That Frank was as innocent as an angel in heaven.

Q. Were you up there when Frank came up to the fourth floor Tuesday?—A. Yes.

Q. What did he come for?—A. Just to see if everything was all right.

Q. Was Conley there then?—A. No.

Q. You are sure of that?—A. Yes.

Q. Did he come back a second time?—A. Yes.

Q. How long after?—A. About fifteen minutes.

Q. Was Conley there then?—A. No.

Q. You are sure of that?—A. Yes.

Q. Then if Conley saw Frank on the fourth floor that day he made another trip?—A. Yes.

The witness was excused and Fred Helbron, No. 371 Washington street, was called to the stand. He testified that Frank’s character was unusually good, and that he had always held him in the highest esteem.

Defendant’s Mother Is Called to Stand.

Helbron was excused and Mrs. Rae Frank, mother of the defendant, was put on the stand. Attorney Rosser questioned her.

Q. Mrs. Frank, where do you live?—A. In Brooklyn.

Q. How long have you lived there?—A. Twenty-six years.

Q. Where did you live before that?—A. In New York.

Q. Have you lived anywhere else?—A. Yes, in Texas.

Q. What years?—A. 1882 to 1884.

Q. Where was Leo born?—A. In Texas.

Q. Who is Mr. M. Frank?—A. He is a brother of my husband.

Q. Did you see him in New York?—A. Yes. I saw him on Sunday, April 27, and on Monday, April 28, just before he sailed for Europe.

Rosser: “Your Honor, I want to read a letter.”

Dorsey: “I object.”

The letter developed to have been one written by Leo Frank to his uncle. Mr. Rosser said he wanted to read it to identify it, as it had been read in the presence of Mrs. Rae Frank.

Judge Roan Rules Letter Is Admissible.

Mr. Arnold argued that it was admissible, as it would help to account for Frank’s acts of Saturday of the murder.

Dorsey: “The letter speaks for itself. Let the witness read it. If its contents are important, you can rule on it later.”

Judge Roan: “I rule that it is admissible.”

Mrs. Frank identified the handwriting.

“It is the handwriting of my son,” she said.

Rosser: “Read it. I will comply with the first objection.”

Q. Did you ever hear the contents of that letter?—A. I did.

Q. Tell me the circumstances.

A. On Monday, April 28, I was invited to lunch at the Hotel McAlpin. My sister read it to her husband. He could not see very well. There is one word that needs explanation. It is “Yontif,” which is a Hebrew word meaning holiday. (The letter started using the word in explanation of Memorial Day.)

Dorsey took the witness.

Q. You saw this Monday, April 28?—A. Yes.

Q. You also saw a telegram that Monday?—A. Yes.

Q. Were there two?—A. I don’t remember but one. I will bring it tomorrow.

Q. What time was it Monday?—A. Sometime between 10 and 10:30 o’clock.

The witness was excused and Rosser put the letter in as evidence.

Court was then adjourned until 9 o’clock Saturday morning.

Letter Frank Wrote to Uncle.

Here is the letter:

Atlanta, Ga., April 26, 1913.

Dear Uncle:

I trust that this finds you and dear tante (aunt) well after arriving safely in New York. I hope that you found all the dear ones well in Brooklyn, and I await a letter from you telling me how you find things there. Lucille and I are well.

It is too short a time since you left for anything startling to have developed down here. The opera has Atlanta in its grip, but that ends to-day. I’ve heard a rumor that opera will not be given again in a hurry here. To-day was Yonif (holiday) here and the thin gray line of veterans, smaller each year, braved the rather chilly weather to do honor to their fallen comrades.

Inclosed you will find last week’s report. The shipments still keep up well, though the result is not what one would [1 word illegible]. There is nothing new in the factory, etc., to report inclosed please find the price list you desired.

The next letter from me you should get on board ship. After that I will write to the address you gave me in Frankfurt.

With much love to you both, in which Lucille joins me, I am,

Your affectionate nephew,

(Signed) LEO M. FRANK.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, August 15th 1913, “Frank Prepares to Take Stand,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)