“He Shore Goes After You” Says Conley of Mr. Rosser

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

Atlanta Journal
August 6th, 1913

Jim Made for a Newspaper and a Cigarette as Soon as He Left the Stand—He Is Interviewed Through Medium of His Attorney

Jim Conley wasn’t garrulous after he left the witness stand Wednesday morning, and that’s saying the least of it.

Perhaps Jim figured that he had done enough talking to last him a few weeks.

He went into the reporters’ room first and sat down and heaved a sort of sigh. Then he picked up an edition of The Journal and commenced to read about himself.

A reporter turned from the telephone and said something to him, and thereupon a deputy sheriff, standing [1 word illegible], gave an imitation of a balloon ascension.

About that time William M. Smith, Conley’s lawyer, stuck his head through the door. It was the first chance the lawyer had been allowed, since Conley went on the stand, to talk to him.

“Come over here, Jim,” said Attorney Smith, and led the negro across the hall into a little ante-room.

Jim shucked off his coat as he crossed the hall, and made for a chair, stretched out his legs, and heaved another sort of a sigh. He sat there, gazing out the window, his eyes on the face of a brick wall some distance away.

A reporter came in.

“How about it, Bill,” said he. “Let me talk to him.”

“Sorry, old man,” said the lawyer, “but you see they’re already trying to get some of you boys balled up about a story some time ago, when Conley was in jail. Jim, don’t you say a word to anybody, do you hear?”
“All right,” said the reporter. “Then you do the talking. Ask him what he thinks of Rosser.”

Attorney Smith, “What do you think of Rosser, Jim?”
Jim gave a combination of snicker and a laugh. He waged his head expressively.

“He shore does go after you, don’t he?” said Jim.

Reporter – “Ask him how he felt when he came off the stand.”

Attorney Smith – “How do you feel, Jim?”
Jim – “I feel all right, sir, ‘cept I’m kinder tired.”

Reporter – “Ask him what he wanted while he was on the stand.”

Attorney Smith – “What did you want most, Jim, while Rosser was grilling you?”
Jim, showing his white teeth, “Outside a wonderin’ when he was goin’ to quit, reckon I wanted to smoke most.”

Attorney Smith – “Here, Jim, smoke this cigarette.”

And Jim fired up and blew a cloud of blue smoke through the window.

Reporter – “Ask him how that tablet affected him. If it helped him any?”

Attorney Smith – “How about the tablet they gave you, Jim?”
Jim – “I reckon it must a been calomel. I just tuk it and swallowed it, ‘cause I knowed they wan’t goin’ to give me nuthin’ to hurt me. It shore was bitter, too, white folks. It galled my tongue so I couldn’t hardly talk for a minute, and then it went on down my throat and spread out, and burnt and galled. You see, I tuk it without no water or anything. Just dry so. I reckon it helped me, though.”

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Atlanta Journal, August 6th 1913, “”He Shore Goes After You” Says Conley of Mr. Rosser,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)