Red Bandanna, a Jackknife and Plennie Minor Preserve Order

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

Atlanta Georgian
July 31st, 1913

He Raps With the Barlow Blade and Waves the Oriflamed Kerchief Judiciously.

Plennie Minor, chief deputy sheriff, has a man’s sized job on his hands and he handles it with the aid of a red bandanna handkerchief and a pocketknife.

More formidable armament has been invented, but the oriflammed kerchief and the barlow blade are all that Plennie Miner requires to perform a duty that many would deem arduous, all of which shows that the deputy sheriff is a man of resource and ability.

It is his job to keep order in Judge Roan’s courtroom, while Leo Frank is being tried as the slayer of Mary Phagan. It’s a real job, when it is considered that during each day at least two thousand persons attend the trial or try to and each one looks to Plennie Minor, to see to their personal accommodation.

Everything is Up to Him.

Minor is a public officer, ergo a public servant, and the public expects him therefore to attend to all its wants from a seat beneath an electric fan to a drink of ice water.

In the old days before Democratic simplicity and grape juice became popular in the public mind, Minor would have been equipped with a periwig and a mace. These things were supposed to impress on everyone the majesty of the law.

A red bandanna can never rank with a periwig as an emblem of authority. A pocketknife is hardly in the mace’s class.

But Minor keeps the law’s supremacy as firmly fixed as the rock of Gibraltar, which shows there is considerably more to him than the bandanna and the knife.

When he wipes his rather high brow with the bandanna, spectators at the Frank trial turn toward him with respect. When he raps on a chair leg with his knife, half the courtroom is as quiet as a drum with a hole in it.

And if the bandanna and the knife are not performing their duties efficaciously, Minor has other resources. If the spectators wish to titter or to squirm, Minor makes an oration after he has flourished the bandanna and played the long roll with the knife. He tells the spectators that a courtroom is no place for merry quip, that laughing is entirely as out of place at a murder trial as orange blossoms are at a funeral, and he’ll be gosh dinged—or words to that effect—if he will have it.

His methods are thorough. They get results. This is proved by the fact that he is called on to officiate at every hearing in which the public interest is great.