Residents of Bellwood Ask The Journal to Say That Mr. Felder Was Not Employed by Them

Residents of Bellwood

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

Certain residents of Bellwood, the part of Atlanta where live Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, the parents of little Mary Phagan, wish The Journal to put them publicly on record in denouncing as absolutely untrue certain published reports to the effect that a subscription has been collected from them to employ Attorney Thomas B. Felder or any other lawyer, to assist in the prosecution of the alleged slayer.

Saturday morning, J. W. Hammond, of 161 Bellwood avenue, delivered the following statement to The Journal:

“There is absolutely no truth in the report that a subscription has been started by the residents of Bellwood to employ Thomas B. Felder to assist in the prosecution of the slayer or little Mary Phagan. I have lived out there for a long time, and certainly would have been approached had such a move been started.

“When I heard of the list, and yet did not see it, I could not understand why the persons circulating it had not been to me.

“I began to inquire around, and soon became convinced that no such move had been started.

“The people out here know of no such thing having been attempted, and certainly all of us would have been more than willing to give—had we wanted Mr. Felder.

“He simply ‘butted in.’”

J. M. Redd, proprietor of a drug store at 195 Bellwood avenue, declared to The Journal, with Mr. Hammond, that he had never been approached for funds and had heard of no such list being circulated.

George C. Barron, of 151 Wheeler street, how is conducting a series of revival meetings in Bellwood, was another who desired to be quoted. He said that he had heard nothing of the subscription being gotten up.

H. C. McCall, an employe of the Georgia Railway and Power company, whose father runs a grocery store in Bellwood, asked The Journal to report that a man giving his name as Bowen had called at the store with a petition already drawn up for subscriptions to employ the law firm of which Mr. Felder is a member. The man asked to see Mr. Coleman, he said, but the child’s father could not be found at his home on Lindsay street.


“This fellow, who gave his name as Bowen,” said McCall, “then left the paper at the store, telling me that I could employ Mr. Felder, and that it would not cost a cent. I told him that I did not want to do any such thing, as Mr. Coleman had said already that he had not decided on the matter of getting an attorney.

“Bowen insisted on taking me to the office of Mr. Felder, and we went there together. The latter told me that he thought I was right, that it would be best for me not to do anything without the sanction of Mr. Coleman.

“None of the Bellwood people knew anything about why the petition was brought out there by Bowen from Mr. Felder’s office, and we did not pay any attention to it.

“My father saw it lying in a show case one day and signed his name to it along with three others.

“It has never been outside of the store, and not one person has been asked to subscribe.

“I was with Mr. Coleman at the inquest the day that the man approached him and offered the services of Mr. Felder free.

“Mr. Coleman said that he did not want him, but the man insisted that he at least have a talk with Mr. Felder. Mr. Coleman said that he was perfectly willing to talk with the lawyer, but that it would make no difference in his position. They went away together, and if they saw Mr. Felder I know nothing of it. As near as I can remember, this occurred on Monday.”

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Atlanta Journal, May 24th 1913, “Residents of Bellwood Ask The Journal to Say That Mr. Felder Was Not Employed by Them,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)