Long Criminal Record of Colyar is Cited

Long Criminal Record

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

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

A deluge of statements and affidavits tending to connect him with criminal operations all over the United States and Mexico, and showing that he has served time in half a dozen penitentiaries and been an inmate of a number of insane asylums, poured in Saturday upon the head of A. S. Colyar, the man who has stirred the city with his dictograph plots and his graft and bribery accusations involving Colonel Thomas B. Felder, Mayor James G. Woodward and others.

Twenty-four hours after Colyar fired his first shot he was in jail. He was arrested by detectives at the request of the police of Knoxville, Tenn., who wired Chief Beavers that they hold a Grand Jury indictment against Colyar for forgery. The wire received by Chief Beavers follows:

Knoxville, Tenn.,  May 24, 1913.

J. L. Beavers, Chief of Police, Atlanta, Ga.:

I hold Grand Jury warrant for A. S. Colyar, charge forgery. Age 50 to 55. Six feet high. Long black hair; large Roman nose; smooth shaven; slightly stoop-shouldered. All around crook. Found around hotels. Arrest and wire.


A number of affidavits dealing with the character of Colyar and each declaring him to be the last word in crookedness were made yesterday afternoon by various persons, and are in the possession of Colonel Felder. Extracts from a few of them are printed below:

C. R. ATCHISON, of Atlanta, Vice President of the Massengale Advertising Agency—That he has known A. S. Colyar from boyhood, and * * * is familiar with his criminal record. That he has been arrested in several States of the Union for the offenses of forgery, perjury and impersonating others to obtain money; that he has been incarcerated in the public jails of several States; that he is a moral degenerate, a pervert and a chronic crook and blackleg, and * * that he would not believe him on oath.

W. D. RHEA, living at the Georgian Terrace—That he was formerly a resident of Nashville, Tenn. * * * That he has known A. S. Colyar for 30 years. * * * That he (A. S. Colyar) has from time to time been arrested for dlvers [sic] and sundry crimes, such as forgery, blackmail, fraud. * * * That he is looked upon as a notorious crook wherever he is known, and deponent does not hesitate to say that from his knowledge of his character and reputation, he would not believe him on his oath.

E. W. McNEAL, 92 South Forsyth Street, Atlanta: That he formerly lived in Nashville, Tenn., and * * * is familiar with the character and reputation of A. S. Colyar. Deponent says on oath that the said Colyar is known as a professional crook, blackleg and adventurer; that he has been charged from time to time with offenses of forgery, perjury, conspiracy, blackmail, etc., * * * that there is not a crime in the catalogue he would not willingly and quickly commit for money. * * * that he would not believe him on his oath.

Digging into the records of Colyar’s past many things have been unearthed which seem to bear out the statements given above. Here are some of the notable things which he has done, and which are cited by Colonel Felder as evidence that he is irresponsible and that, therefore, little credence should be placed in what he says:

Served time in Tennessee jails.

Served time in Virginia jails.

Sentenced to an insane asylum near Nashville. Set fire to the institution and escaped.

Got into trouble at LaFollette, Tenn., and through influence of friends was sent to the insane asylum at Lyons View, Tenn.

Came to Cartersville, Ga., and posed as a religious exhorter, living in style. He married a Cartersville woman, who became disgusted and left him about a year ago.

Secured $10,000 from General Mollineux, of New York, in a fake confession deal with a pickpocket. Serving short term in Sing Sing.

Secured $1,000 from the American Ambassador to Mexico by posing as the son of John G. Carlisle. Saved from prison by his friends.

Is known wherever he has been as a wild adventurer who spends more time in jail than out.

Information throwing light on Colyar’s movements just before he came to Atlanta and started his dictograph to working was unearthed Saturday by The Sunday American’s correspondent at Knoxville, Tenn.

Colyar, the dispatch states, was released from the Lyons View Asylum last November upon representation that he was to be taken as a private patient to a private infirmary at Milledgeville, Ga.

Later he went to Montgomery, Ala., where he worked on a newspaper, and then went to Atlanta. While in the asylum in Knoxville he was a private patient and his expenses were paid by Col. A. N. Snook, of Nashville.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 25th 1913, “Long Criminal Record of Colyar is Cited,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)