Hotels Involved By Story of Vice Young Girl Tells

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

The Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, July 10, 1913

Soda Water Stands, Chop Suey Joints and Automobile Rides Figure in Her Narrative.


Hattie Smith Says She Registered With Men in Cumberland and Brittain—Recorder Binds Over Three.

A story of vice that is unprecedented even in the sorbid [sic] history of police court, was poured into the ears of Judge Broyles Wednesday afternoon, when Hattie Smith, the 17-year-old “Girl of the Streets,” was called to the stand.

She made no attempt to withhold anything. She gave names and addresses with startling willingness, and told of her own crimson career with a frankness so bold that color was drawn to even the cheeks of the most morbid courtroom frequenter.

As a result, Lena Barnhart, alias Lena Levison, the good looking young woman whom the girl accused of being a white slave procuress, was bound over to higher courts under bond of $500, and Lige Murry, who was charged with having been the woman’s ally, was bound over bond of $100.

Three Hotels in Case.

The names of three hotels were drawn into the girl’s tale. They are the Cumberland, in which she was arrested and in which she declares she plied her trade, the Childs, a hostelry at Broad and Alabama streets, and the Brittain, which is situated on west Mitchell street in the Terminal station district.

The manager and proprietor of the Cumberland, C. V. Kistner, was severely rebuked by the recorder. No action, however, was taken against him. He was the only official of the three implicated establishments who appeared at the trial. He came in answer to a summons instructing him to produce his hotel register in court.

The Smith girl and the man with whom she was arrested, Clyde Cox, a youth apparently twenty-two years old, were bound over. Their bonds were assessed at $100 each. The girl, it is stated, will be held as a material witnesses for city court when the cases are called in that tribunal.

The Barnhart woman, who is the mother of a 3-year-old child, is a flashy dresser. She is a tall woman, dark haired and with light gray eyes. She wore jewelry on her wrists and fingers and her ears were adorned with heavy bobs.

Said She Was Benefactor.

She did not deny association with her accuser. Her intimacy, she stated, was from a benevolent standpoint, however, and she installed the girl in the Cumberland solely because she was destitute and forsaken on the streets.

It was Saturday two weeks ago that they met. The Smith girl unfolded a tale of frequenting a soda fount on James street near Cone, where she noticed the Barnhart woman at each visit. She was attracted to her, the girl said, because of her striking appearance, her dress and her apparent popularity with men who congregated at the place.

On the particular Saturday, she told, she had made inquiry of the woman’s identity. Shortly later, a male acquaintance invited her to take an automobile ride. She accepted, and, upon going to the machine, was introduced to the Barnhart woman who sat on the front seat. A party of two men carried the girls on the ride to the river along the Pace’s Ferry road.

Upon returning to Atlanta at nightfall, the Smith girl said she was invited by the Barnhart woman to accompany her to the Carnegie library, where they went into the ladies’ restroom. Miss Barnhart, she said, suggested that they go together to the Cumberland, at which she was stopping, where she could obtain the “girl of the streets” an apartment.

Would Be Safer, She Said.

Miss Barnhart went first, advising that it was safer and would not create suspicion. Hattie followed 10 minutes later. She went to the room of Miss Barnhart, and found that room 43 had been assigned her. The Barnhart woman said that she had given the girl a new name, “Lucile Evans,” which she had placed on the hotel register.

On the streets, a short time afterward, she was picked up by an automobiling party who carried her to the Marietta street home of her parents at 9 o’clock. Thursday night she returned to the woman at the Cumberland, and made an engagement with Clyde Cox, who was arrested with her Sunday night.

The following night she went to the Hotel Brittain with a man named Brower, from Washington, and he registered “Mr. and Mrs. Brower.” The next morning, she was telephoned by Miss Barnhart and asked to meet her. She rode from the Brittain to the Empire Life building in a taxicab to keep the appointment.

The girl told of having occupied apartments in the Childs hotel, but could not recollect the name under which she had registered. She also told of frequenting Joe Jung’s Chop Suey restaurant on Luckie street. Charles Hillier, attorney for the Barnhart woman, asked her regarding salacious stories in connection with the Luckie street place. Strong denial was made of them all.

Got an Auto Ride.

An incident, characteristic of the career she had led on the streets, was related when the attorney questioned the girl about alleged relations with an automobilist named Lorman. She stated that she had seen him only once, and that was during an afternoon that she stood on an uptown corner when the man drove by in his machine. She wanted to ride home, and as Lorman drove by she gave him a smile, later jumping into the car at his invitation and being carried to the Marietta street address.

At this juncture of the girl’s story, the Cumberland register was displayed before the court. The name of “Lucile Evans” was revealed in a handwriting which she declared was not hers. The name of Lena Levison was also shown. She did identify, however, the assumed name twice in her own script.

Proprietor Kistner declared to the recorder that both the Smith girl and the Barnhart woman had conducted themselves as “perfect ladies” in his hotel, and that he could have found no reason for ejecting them before their records were aired in police court.

Girl Wore Shabby Clothes.

“When I first met Miss Smith,” the Barnhart woman explained when placed on the stand, “we went on a joy ride from James street to the river. She wore shabby clothing and was dusty and dirty upon returning to town. I carried her into the library to make a toilette so as to look presentable for the streets.

“She said that her parents had driven her from home, that she was penniless and had no place to stay. Out of the goodness of my heart, I carried her to the Cumberland. She came into my apartments and I gave her a nightgown and kimono. I could not account for their disappearance until I saw her wearing them.

“My attitude toward the girl was that of a benefactor. I did not encourage her to do wrong—I would not have. I suspected that she was not straight; but, even at that, I felt sympathy for her.”

Woman’s Baby Taken.

When Judge Broyles asked the woman how she provided a livelihood for herself and baby, she answered:

“At present, my mother is providing for me. I have quit the old life and have reformed. I obtained a position several weeks ago with the Oriental Dry Cleaning company, but Mr. Young, the manager, was visited by men who said they were detectives and told of my past, with the result that I was instantly discharged.”

A pathetic incident to the trial was noted when the judge ordered detectives to take the woman’s baby before the juvenile courts and have it awarded to the Home for the Friendless, with this rebuke:

“You are not fit to be a mother. You can’t raise a child in the life you are leading. It will see a brighter day when it is installed in a charitable home.”

Atlanta No Place for You.

In concluding the trial, the recorder said:

“I am satisfied you are a procuress. The best thing for you to do is to leave town. Atlanta is no place for women such as you.”

In regard to the name of a prominent business man which was brought before the court by the girl’s story, who told of having seen him in the Barnhart woman’s room, the recorder said that he would take no present action—that it was up to the police to act, as Chief Beavers had heard the evidence submitted.

When asked by reporters if he intended arresting the man, the chief said that he would make immediate investigation, and, if he found the story was true, would have him arraigned in court.

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The Atlanta Constitution, July 10th 1913, “Hotels Involved By Story of Vice Young Girl Tells,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)