Mother-in-Law of Frank Denies Charges in Cook’s Affidavit

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 15th, 1913

Following the testimony of those who claimed to have played poker at the Emil Selig home on the night of April 26, Mrs. Selig, Leo Frank’s mother-in-law was placed on the stand and asked a number of questions about the happenings at her house on Sunday, April 27. To most of the questions from the state on cross-examination she replied that she had forgotten.

When the witness took the stand, Attorney Arnold called on the state for the affidavit which Minola McKnight, the Selig’s cook, signed at police station and later repudiated.

“Mrs. Selig,” said Mr. Arnold, “I wanted to ask you some questions about statements in this affidavit and find out if they are true.

“Is it true that there was talk in your home about the time of the murder? Leo Frank being caught with a girl at the factory and that the negro cook asked if it was a Jew girl or a Gentile and you or Mrs. Frank said it was a Gentile?”

“It is not true, there was no such conversation that I know of.”

Mrs. Selig was almost crying at this juncture of her testimony.

“Did Mrs. Frank say that he had told her he was in trouble and that he did not know why he would commit murder or did she tell you he had asked her for a pistol to kill himself with?”

“Did you raise the wages of Minola McKnight, your cook, right after the murder?”
“Not a penny.”

Mrs. Selig’s Memory Faulty.

Mr. Dorsey then took up the cross-examination.

“How long after the murder was it before your daughter visited her husband in jail?”
“I don’t know.”

“Do you recall the occasion when someone came to your house to get a statement from your cook?”

“Do you remember that Albert McKnight, the cook’s husband, was there on Saturday, April 26?”


“What time did Frank leave the house that Sunday morning?”
“I don’t know.”

“What time did he get back that night?”
“I don’t remember.”

“[words illegible] come down stairs that morning?”

“What time did you have breakfast that Sunday morning?”
“I don’t remember.”

“Did Frank eat with the family?”

“Did he eat there that morning?”

“What time was it?”
“About 11 o’clock.”

Frank Left House.

“Did he remain there that day?”
“I think he went off.”

“I don’t know.”

“How long did you say it was after Frank was locked up before his wife went to see him?”
“I don’t know. I think it was on Thursday that she first went.”

“Did you say that Mrs. Frank did not tell you her husband did not rest well that Saturday night?”
“She did not tell me that.”

“She didn’t tell you he was drunk?”
“She did not.”

“Wasn’t it two weeks before your daughter went to see her husband in jail?”


Could Not Remember Date.

“Is it impossible for you to fix the day upon which your daughter first went to see her husband after he was locked up on the serious charge of murder?”

“I can’t fix it.”

“You can’t fix the day?”
“I’m not trying to.”

“What do you pay Minola McKnight a week?”

“I pay her $7.50.”

“Isn’t it true that during the week she made her affidavit you paid her $4?”

“Didn’t you give her extra money?”
“No, I once advanced her a week’s wages though.”

“Did she pay it back?”
“She did.”

“Did you not give her $5 about that time?”

“I gave her that amount and told her to get it changed and take her money out and return me the rest.”

Memory Again Grows Faulty.

“When did Mrs. Frank give her a hat?”
“I don’t remember.”

“What else did you give Minola besides money and a hat?”
“I didn’t give her a hat.”

“Mrs. Frank did though?”

“What time on Thursday was it, if it was that day, did Mrs. Frank go to the jail to see her husband?”
“I don’t know.”

An argument then started and Attorney Rosser interrupted it by moving to rule out all that had been said about the time that elapsed before Mrs. Frank visited her husband in jail.

Judge Roan ordered that all reference to that and to the married life of the couple be ruled out.

“I ought to even be allowed to show that Frank had to send for his wife to come to the jail before she finally went,” was the solicitor’s final protest.

The witness was then excused.

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Atlanta Constitution, August 15th 1913, “Mother-in-Law of Frank Denies Charges in Cook’s Affidavit,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)