Machinist Tells of Hair Found in Factory Lathe

Machinist Tells of Hair Found in Factory LatheAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday April 30th, 1913

R. P. Barrett, 180 Griffin Street, a machinist at the National Pencil Company, was one of the witnesses of the late afternoon.

He was asked:

Q. How long have you worked at the National Pencil Company?—A. Seven weeks the last time. I worked there about two years ago.

Q. Did you know Mary Phagan?—A. Yes.

Q. What did she do?—A. She ran a “tipping” machine.

Q. When did you last see her?—A. A week ago Tuesday.

Q. Did she work last week?—A. No.

Q. You say you worked in the same department with Mary Phagan? Were your machines close together?—A. Yes.

Q. When did you go to work?—A. Monday morning.

Found Spots on Floor.

Q. Did you find anything unusual?—A. When I went in I was told that Mary had been murdered in the plant and I saw spots on the floor that I thought were (?) used by blood. It looked as though someone had tried to sweep them away, and as though whitewash had been poured over them. I called Mr. Quinn, the foreman, and he notified the detectives. The blood spots were chipped up off the floor and taken to the police station.

Q. Did you find anything on any of the machines?—A. Mr. Quinn gave me some work to do and I started to work on one of the hand lathes. I started to lathe and some hair tangled in the machine, got twisted in my fingers. I called Mr. Quinn and all the girls came up and identified the hair as that of Mary Phagan.

Q. Whose hair do you think it was?—A. It looked to me like Mary’s.

Q. How long have you known Mary?—A. Six weeks.

Q. Was she quiet?—A. Mary was a very nice, quiet girl, and I never had seen her in any misconduct.

Q. Have you ever seen any men with Mary?—A. No. I have seen Mr. Gantt come through and speak to all the girls, but I never saw him speak to Mary in particular.

Q. How large was the place that seemed marked over with whitewash?—A. It was a spot four or five inches in diameter.

Girls Feared Frank.

Q. Did you see traces of blood around the elevator?—A. No, sir.

Q. How far was it from the elevator?—A. Fully two hundred feet.

Q. Was Mr. Frank familiar with the girl?—A. Not that I know of.

Q. Did you ever see them together?—A. I never have. I have heard the girls singing at their work, and when Mr. Frank would come they would stop. They were afraid of displeasing him.

Q. In what condition was the hair that you found?—A. Tangled and torn.

Q. How many hairs were there altogether?—A. About a dozen.

At this point Mr. Barrett was dismissed, and F. M. Berry, assistant cashier of the Fourth National Bank was called to the stand.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 30th 1913, “Machinist Tells of Hair Found in Factory Lathe,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)