Gantt, Once Phagan Suspect, On Stand Wednesday Afternoon

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 31st, 1913

J. W. Gantt, who once was a suspect in the famous case, followed Mrs. Coleman to the stand at the afternoon session.

“Have you ever been connected with the pencil company?”

“From January 1st, 1918, until April 7, I was employed with that concern as shipping clerk. I was discharged by Mr. Frank for an alleged shortage.”

“Did you know Mary Phagan?”

“Yes—I knew her as a little girl.”

“Did Leo Frank know her?”


“How do you know this?”

Knew Mary Pretty Well.

“On Saturday she came into the office for a time record. Frank came in and said, ‘You seem to know Mary pretty well?’”

“When was that?”

“Some time since Christmas.”

“How intimate were you with Mary?”

“I knew her when she was a child.”

“How far did you work from her?”

“I worked in the office and she worked in the rear.”

“In reference to Frank how were you located?”

“We were in the same office.”

“How many girls worked in Mary’s department?”

“Three others beside herself.”

“Did Frank see you when you’re turned to the factory after you discharge?”


“What about one girl getting another’s pay envelope at the girls’ request?”

“It was frequently done.”

“Explain everything with reference to your alleged shortage.”

The Alleged Shortage.

“A boy came back from my department with a $3 shortage. He went to Mr. Frank. Mr. Frank came and asked me about it. I told him I knew turned to the factory after your discharged.”

“How about the punch clock near Frank’s office? Would it take much time to read the slip—and to learn to read it?”

“Only about five minutes.”

“Previously, who took your place at the factory?”

“I don’t know.”

“Previous to your discharge had Frank ever commended you?”

“He said I was as good a workman as he had ever had.”

“Do you know the exact location of clock? Could Frank, from his desk, see the employees register upon it?”

“If the safe door was closed.”

“Did you know how to fix the clock?”

“Yes, Mr. Frank taught me.”

Wanted to Get Shoes.

“On April 26, when did you first see Frank?”

“At 6 o’clock that afternoon at the factory entrance. He saw me at the door talking to Newt Lee. He came down to within fifteen feet from door and stopped. He saw I was looking at him and advanced toward me. I told him I had two pair of shoes in the factory and wanted to get them. He told me he had seen a negro sweeping a pair out of the place. I went in and found both pair after he had given me consent to enter the factory.”

“Did you look at Frank? If so, describe his appearance.”

“He was nervous and pale. He hung his head and hesitated.”

“Did he jump?”



“He just stepped back kinder startled.”

“Did he look at you?”

“No. He hung his head.”

Rosser began cross-examination by reading extracts of Gantt’s statement before the coroner’s jury.”

“You’ll admit to this,” he said reading from his notes, “I never saw Mary Phagan in Frank’s company. Never knew he was acquainted with her?”


“You may come down.”

Court then adjourned until Thursday morning.