Pastor Prays for Justice at Girl’s Funeral

Pastor Prays for Justice at Girl's FuneralAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, April 29th, 1913

Mother and Aunt of Mary Phagan Swoon at Burial in Marietta This Morning.

A thousand persons saw a minister of God raise his hands to heaven to-day and heard him call for divine justice.

Before his closed eyes was a little casket, its pure whiteness hid by the banks and banks of beautiful flowers.

Within the casket lay the bruised and mutilated body of Mary Phagan, the innocent young victim of one of Atlanta’s blackest and most bestial crimes.

The spirit of the terrible tragedy filled the air. An aunt of the strangled girl suddenly screamed, fell over in her seat and was carried from the church in a swoon from which she did not fully recover for hours.

The stricken mother collapsed and it was feared that her condition might become critical.

The scene was in the Second Baptist Church at Marietta, where Mary Phagan had lived when she was a child of only three or four years. An immense crowd was at the station when the funeral train arrived at 10 o’clock. Many of them were young people who had played about with the strangled victim when she had lived there years before.

Mother Collapses at Station.

Just as Mrs. W. J. Coleman, mother of Mary, was being helped into a cab, the pure white coffin was lifted from the car. Mrs. Coleman saw it and the single glance was sufficient to awake afresh the torrent of fearful memories.

She screamed and fell into the arms of her husband. It was some time before she could be taken to the church to witness the rites over her daughter whose life had been sacrificed to the brutality of some man.

“Nearer, My God, to Thee,” sang the choir when the little casket was borne into the church and carried forward, where it was covered with flowers.

Rev. T. T. Linkus, of the Christian Church at East Point, whose Sunday school Mary had attended in the earlier years of her laughing, happy childhood, was the minister.

“May God bring the man guilty of this terrible crime to justice,” was the supplication of the minister as he raised his hands above him.

“May God aid the officers of the law in detecting and bringing behind the bars such a man,” he continued.

Aunt Screams and Faints.

His words were interrupted first by the sobs of one member of the family and then by another. Miss Lissie Phagan, an aunt of the strangled girl, uttered a piercing scream. She was unconscious when those by her picked her up. She was taken home in a carriage and Dr. W. M. Kemp was called. He had great difficulty in reviving the grief-stricken woman.

W. J. Phagan, the girl’s aged grandfather, sat with his white head bowed in sorrow. The tears, ran down his furrowed cheeks unheeded. He was utterly broken and crushed by the calamity which had visited him and his family in his last years.

All the way from New York, where he was on board one of the United States battleships, came Benjamin Phagan to witness the tragic funeral of his innocent young sister. With him were his brothers, Joshua and Charles, and his sister, Ollie Phagan.

A sad procession moved to the little cemtery [sic] where the coffin was lowered into the grave that had been prepared. Mrs. Coleman collapsed again at the grave and it is greatly feared that she will be seriously affected by the ordeal through which she has passed.

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Atlanta Georgian, April 29th 1913, “Pastor Prays for Justice at Girl’s Funeral,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)