Woman Charges Police Forced Her to Make False Statement

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Negro Cook in the Selig-Frank Home Repudiates Affidavit She Swore to Against Frank, Will Refuse to Swear to the Paper, She Says

Minola McKnight, the negro cook, who signed an affidavit which is to be used by the prosecution against Leo M. Frank, said Monday morning that the police, by three hours’ sweating, forced her to sign this affidavit, and that when she is called as a witness that she will refuse to testify to the statements set forth in it.

The substance of the affidavit was that, on the morning following the murder of Mary Phagan, Mrs. Frank came downstairs at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, with whom she and Frank made their home, and said that Frank had asked for a pistol with which to kill himself.

At the time the negro cook signed this written statement of what is said in the affidavit to have happened at the Selig residence on the day following the murder, she was confined at police station.

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Former Suspect Will Be Happy No Matter How Frank Case Ends

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

J. M. Gantt Is to Be Married Sunday, Provided Trial Is Over—He Has Planned to Elope, but Now He’ll Have “Sure Enough” Wedding

There is one man connected with the case of Mary Phagan to whom the conclusion of the trial will bring a great happiness. He is J. M. Gantt, at one time a suspect and now a witness.

The day that brings the end of the trial will bring to him a wife.

Monday morning he sat on the steps leading to the second floor of the courthouse, chewing on the end of a dead cigar. And he told how Miss Annie Chambers, to whom he was to have been married many weeks ago, has promised to wed him, next Sunday, provided the Frank trial is over.

“We were going to elope just before this thing happened,” said Gantt, “but guess now we’ll have a regular formal wedding. It’ll come off next Sunday if we can make it then, if not, why, later. I was trying to get to Marietta, where we’ll live, the day I was arrested. God helping me, I’ll get there this time, and Annie will be with me.”

Mrs. Leo Frank and Her Mother Cheer Prisoner at Courthouse

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Accused Neither Care-Worn Nor Haggard—His Eyes Meet Those of Crowd Without Faltering

There was one question on the face of every member of the big crowd in and around the courthouse Monday morning. To those standing without in the street, to those crowding the corridors and hallways, to witnesses flowing through rooms on the second floor, to the packed courtroom, the query was, where is the prisoner.

The man to whom the trial meant more than it meant to any other human being, had been brought to the courthouse early in the morning.

He was in a bare walled little room a few feet from the doorway leading to the court. With him sat two deputy sheriffs, his father-in-law, Emile Selig, and a friend.

From time to time during the morning the curious slipped to the door and gazed in at the accused. They saw a little man whose dark eyes gazed at them unwinking through big glasses. He was pale, but neither care-worn nor haggard. He wore a light gray suit striped with darker gray, black shoes, and a black and white four-in-hand tie.

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No New Testimony Will Be Given to Jury by Newt Lee

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Negro Nightwatchman Says He Doesn’t Know Conley, the Sweeper—Merely Will Repeat Story of Finding Body

Newt Lee’s testimony to the jury, before which Leo M. Frank is to be tried, will repeat his statements to the police. He will add nothing new, and will give no testimony involving Conley, the negro sweeper.

To the jury, as to the police, Newt Lee will describe merely how he found the body of the murdered child in the cellar of the pencil factory, and afterward told the police of his discovery.

As he waited at the court house with other witnesses Monday morning, he said that Conley, the sweeper is unknown to him, and that he has told all that he can tell.

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Court Scenes at Frank Trial; How It Looks Inside and Out

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Three Distinct Crowds Are There, Some Laughing, Some Whispering Speculations on Case

There were three crowds at the Frank trial Monday morning; and each had an aspect and characteristic as different as east from west—the crowd in the court room, the crowd around the door and in the street, and the throng of witnesses swarming through the upstairs rooms.

As one approached the red brick court house down Hunter street, he could see the corner near Pryor black with people. A car would turn the curve, the motorman clanging his gong vigorously before the packed mass would open and let the car grind by.

They were mostly men and boys. At intervals a woman accompanied by an escort would struggle into the doorway and up the stairs. She was a witness probably a factory girl.

Clean across Pryor street the crowd outside extended. People stood in the doorway of a drug store, in the street, in little groups on the sidewalk. It was a silent throng on the whole, speculating in whispers as to what was happening within.

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Frank’s Story of His Moves on Day of Crime

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Accused Superintendent’s Story Is Unbroken by Any Save a Negro

Leo M. Frank’s sworn statement of his whereabouts each hour on the day of April 26, when Mary Phagan met her death, is of unusual interest in the case, especially since no witness except Conley had been found, at least as far as the public knows, who can break his story.

Frank’s statement of his whereabouts as given at the coroner’s inquest, when he was under oath, follows:


7 o’clock a. m.—Arose and dressed at home.

8—Left home for the factory office.

8:20—Arrived at the factory office.

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Here is Conley’s Confession Around Which Bitter Fight is Expected in the Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

There is little doubt that the storm-center, so to speak, of the Frank trial will be the testimony of the negro sweeper, James Conley. He will be the principal witness for the state and all of the other evidence of the prosecution will be shaped with a view to corroborating and strengthening his story which places the murder of Mary Phagan upon the factory superintendent.

And the defense will chiefly concern itself with the task of discrediting the negro’s testimony. It will bend its energies to prove that Conley has lyingly accused Frank and will offer evidence designed to fasten the crime upon the negro.

These facts being true the public will be interested in reviewing the sworn confession made by Conley to the city detectives. It follows:

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Plennie Minor Faces Task in Handling Court Room During Trial of Leo Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Genial Deputy Sheriff Will Have Seats for Only 250 People, and Hates to Think He Won’t Be Able to Accommodate Everybody, for That’s His Disposition

Plennie Minor is going to have the hardest job in Fulton county during the next two weeks.

Plennie (he doesn’t allow people to call him Mr. Minor, for he is everybody’s friend) is a Fulton county deputy sheriff and has the arduous task of keeping order in the court room while the Frank case is in progress. Incidentally, he will have to look out for witnesses and prisoners, and generally be the handy man about the trial.

Probably the worst job coming to him will be to keep the crowds out.

There are seats in the court room for 250 people and after they are filled everybody will be barred.

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State Will Build Case Against Frank Around Conley’s Story; Defense Will Undertake to Show that Negro Alone is Guilty

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Defense Will Ridicule Conley’s Story and Endeavor to Show That It Was Made to Save His Own Neck


Though Attorneys Are Silent, The Journal Presents Below Outline of What the Defense Is Expected to Be

Complete innocence on the part of Leo M. Frank, the young superintendent of the National Pencil factory, and absolute guilt on the part of James Conley, the negro sweeper at the factory, are the two cardinal points upon which Frank’s defense will be based when he is called to trial for the murder of Mary Phagan, the little girl, whose body was found in the pencil factory basement on Sunday morning, April 27.

Frank’s attorneys, Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, two of the south’s ablest lawyers, have carefully concealed the plans of the defense, but enough has come to light to conclusively indicate that they not only expect to convince the jury that Frank is innocent and that it would have been a physical impossibility for him to have committed the murder without detection, but that Conley, the negro, did have such an opportunity and that robbery was his motive for killing the girl.

The defense evidently holds to the idea that to satisfactorily establish Frank’s innocence and bring about his exoneration it is necessary to clear up the murder mystery. This it will attempt to do by convincing evidence as to the guilt of the negro.

Ever since Conley made his last famous affidavit of confession in which he swore that at Frank’s instance he helped to carry the dead girl into the basement and wrote the notes found by her body Frank’s attorneys have worked on the theory that singlehanded Conley murdered Mary Phagan and that he sought to implicate their client as the principal in order to save his own neck.

The alleged inconsistencies in Conley’s confession will be stressed and its alleged improbabilities will be dissected before the jury. A piece of Mary Phagan’s pay envelope and a bloody club, said to have been found in the dark recess near the factory stairs, where Conley admits he was in hiding on the morning of the murder, will be produced as corroborative evidence, as will an affidavit from W. H. Mincey, an insurance agent, who swears that on the afternoon of the murder Conley, stupefied with drink, told him that he had killed a girl.

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Chronological Story of Developments in the Mary Phagan Murder Mystery

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

April 27—The dead body of Mary Phagan is found in basement of National Pencil factory at 3 a. m. by Newt Lee, the negro night-watchman. Police hold Lee, who yater [sic] in the day re-enacts discovery of the remains before city detectives.

April 27—Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the Pencil factory, called from bed to view Mary Phagan’s body at

April 27—Arthur Mullinax arrested on information given the police by E. L. Sentell, who declared he saw the murdered girl in the former’s company at 1220 o’clock on the morning of the murder.

April 28—Coroner Donehoo empanels in metal room on second floor and blood splotched on the floor lead police to believe the girl was killed there.

April 28—Coroner Donehoo empanels jury for inquest, it meets, views body and scene of crime and adjourns.

April 28—The largest crowd that ever viewed a body in Atlanta sees Mary Phagan’s remains at [t]he undertaking chapel.

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Pinkerton Detective Replies to Lanford

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

H. B. Pierce Declares Lanford Knew of Find of Bloody Stick in Factory

H. B. Pierce, head of the local branch of the Pinkerton detective agency, characterizes as absurd Chief Detective N. A. Langford’s [sic] charge that the Pinkerton sleuth has broken faith with the state in the Pinkerton’s investigation of the Phagan case.

Chief Lanford charges specifically that the Pinkerton broke faith by failing to report the find by two of his men of the part of a pay envelope and of a bloody stick on the first floor of the factory. The find was made in the absence of Harry Scott, who has conducted the Phagan investigation for the Pinkertons, and who Lanford says has been absolutely square and fair in all of his dealings with the state and the police.

Pierce, the chief charges, in the absence of Scott, turned the stick and the pay envelope over the attorneys for the defense, and said nothing to him or to the state about it.

Pierce denies this fully, saying that about May 15, only a few days after the find, he mentioned the fact that two of his men had picked up a bloody stick, a part of a pay envelope, and some rope at a certain point on the first floor of the basement.

Lanford, when he was told this, Pierce says, declared that the articles had been placed there as a plant; that his men and Harry Scott and representatives of an insurance company had scoured the three floors of the factory, and that the articles in question could not have been there, but a very short time before they were found.

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Leo M. Frank Will Go to Trial Monday, It Is Now Believed

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

Atlanta Journal
July 27th, 1913

Indications Were Saturday Night That the Trial Would Begin Before Judge Roan at Hour Scheduled


Many Well Known Citizens In Venire From Whom the Twelve Jurors Will Be Chosen for Trial

If both sides answer ready when the clerk “sounds” the case of the “State of Georgia versus Leo M. Frank” in the criminal division of the superior court at 9 o’clock Monday morning, what is expected to be the most brilliant as well as one of the most bitter legal fights in the criminal history of the state will have commenced.

The stage has been set for the trial, and on the eve of the battle there was no intimation from any one in authority that the trial would not actually be commenced. For weeks the state and defense have been preparing for the struggle, which is to come Monday, and only an extraordinary motion from the defense, which is not now expected, will delay the trial.

Leo M. Frank, Cornell graduate and man of education and refinement, is charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, a fourteen-year-old factory girl, whose lifeless body was found in the basement of the National Pencil factory, of which he is superintendent, on April 27 by a negro night watchman.

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Leo Frank Expects Acquittal and Asks an Immediate Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
July 26th, 1913

Pencil Factory Superintendent Declares the Sooner He Faces a Jury the Sooner He’ll Gain His Freedom


Wife is Regular Visitor to the Tower—Frank’s Time In Prison Is Spent in Reading and Playing Chess

Leo M. Frank is ready and anxious to go on trial for his life before Judge Roan in the superior court next Monday morning, according to statements he has made to friends who visited him in his cell in the tower.

“The sooner I face the jury, the sooner I will gain my liberty,” he is quoted as having said.

This indicates that the factory superintendent, accused of the most atrocious crime in Atlanta’s history, is confident of an acquittal.

Frank is as fit physically to face a jury as he was the day he was incarcerated. He has not had a day’s sickness during his detention. He has lived regularly, getting eight hours of sleep and plenty of exercise.

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Frank Will Likely Face Trial Monday for Phagan Crime

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

Atlanta Journal
July 25th, 1913

Defense Subpoenaes 150 Witnesses, and If Any of the Chief Witnesses Are Ill, Continuance Can Be Asked


Indications Now Are That Defense Will Make No Effort to Have Trial Put Off—144 Veniremen Summoned

The stage is set for the trial of Leo M. Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan on April 26.

Veniremen and witnesses for the defense are being summoned. The witnesses for the state are already under subpoena.

Judge L. S. Roan, who was ill Thursday, is better and ready for the trial. Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey will insist on a trial.

The attitude of the defense alone is problematical. Neither the state nor the defense is required to announce ready or not ready before a case is actually called in the court room, and apparently there will be no intimation from the defense until 9 o’clock Monday morning, when the clerk calls the name of the defendant in Atlanta’s most sensational murder case.

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Frank’s Trial May be Postponed Until Early in the Fall

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

Atlanta Journal
July 24th, 1913

Judge L. S. Roan, Who Will Preside at the Trial, Returns to Atlanta Thursday Afternoon and Is Ill


Reuben Arnold, One of Frank’s Attorneys, Returns After Conference in Covington With Judge Roan

Judge L. S. Roan, who will preside at the trial of Leo M. Frank when he is arraigned for the murder of Mary Phagan, returned from Covington Thursday afternoon quite ill and went immediately to his home. He will be unable to go to the court house during the afternoon, but announces that the venire will be drawn by Judge John T. Pendleton, at his request.

Reuben R. Arnold, associate attorney in the defense of Mr. Frank, returned from Covington on the same train with Judge Roan. He declined to make any statement in reference to his visit to Covington. It could not be learned from him whether he had discussed the possibility of a postponement with Judge Roan or whether the defense would make formal application for postponement.

The impression prevails, however, that the defense will seek a postponement and there is said to be a strong probability that the case will not go to trial before early fall.

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Was Mary Phagan Killed With Bludgeon?

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

Atlanta Journal
July 22nd, 1913


Was Found on May 10 by Two Pinkerton Detectives on the First Floor of the Pencil Factory


It Was Sent to Chemist Outside of State for Examination—Subpenas Issued for State’s Witness

In the possession of the defense of Leo M. Frank is a bloody bludgeon with which it will be claimed at the trial, in all probability, that James Conley, the negro sweeper, struck Mary Phagan over the head while she battled on the first floor of the National Pencil factory for her life.

While it has been known for weeks that the defense of Frank will try to pit the crime on the negro, the claim that any weapon other than the negro’s hands and the cords placed about her neck, were used, is an absolutely new development to the public, although the bloody stick, about an inch in diameter, has been in the possession of the defense since May 10.

It is said that it was found in the factory on that date by two Pinkerton operatives, L. P. Whitfield and W. D. McWorth, who at that time were conducting a systematic search of the factory.

According to the story, which has come to The Journal on excellent authority, on May 9, after city detectives, factory employees, various private sleuths and quite a few curiosity seekers had searched for nearly two weeks without finding any new clues to throw light on the tragedy. Whitefield and McWorth, two of the Pinkerton operatives, who are on the “silent force” never appearing before the public, went to the factory for a new examination of the big building, which was the scene of Atlanta’s most sensational tragedy.

They started on the second floor, where the state maintains that Mary Phagan met her death, and spent the entire day going over that floor.

By the next ddy [sic], May 10, the detectives had reached the third floor of the building. They went back by the boxes upon which Conley says he sat while waiting for instructions from the factory superintendent. Some ten or fifteen feet past the boxes and considerably past the elevator shaft, by a door, and on top of some trash, the Pinkerton men found the bloody bludgeon, right by the spot where the part of a pay envelope with the name Mary Phagan written upon it lay.


Evidently the defense of Frank considers the find of the two sleuths as important, for the story of the stick has been zealously guarded from the public. In addition, presumably to make certain that the fact of the existence of the stick would not reach the public, it was sent out of the state to a famous chemist, who made an anlysis [sic] to determine whether or not the blood on the primitive weapon was that of a human or an animal. The examination is said to have shown it to be the former.

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Will Not Indict Jim Conley Now, Jury’s Decision

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

The Atlanta Journal

Monday, July 21, 1913

Solicitor Dorsey Makes Brief Announcement to This Effect After Grand Jury Session Lasting Over an Hour


Solicitor Dorsey Will Now Concentrate Efforts Against Having Frank Jury Drawing From Grand Jury List

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey has for a second time blocked an attempt by members of the grand jury to indict James Conley, the negro sweeper, who confessed complicity in the Mary Phagan murder.

The grand jurymen who had called a meeting over the protest of the solicitor to consider taking up a bill against the negro listened to the prosecuting official for more than an hour Monday morning, and then authorized him to announce that the matter will not be taken up at this time.


The solicitor wrote out his statement, which is as follows:

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Dorsey Is Seeking to Be Grand Jury And Solicitor Too, Say Frank’s Counsel

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

The Atlanta Journal

Sunday, July 20, 1913


Rosser and Arnold Charge Dorsey Seeks to Convict Frank, Guilty or Innocent, Out of Professional Pride


Attorneys Intimate That Dorsey Fears to Let Truth Be Known – Attitude Throughout Case Is Criticised

The attitude of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey throughout the Phagan investigation, and especially in his attempt to block a grand jury indictment of Jim Conley, is scored in an interview made public by Luther Z. Rosser and Reuben R. Arnold, counsel for Leo M. Frank.

“The solicitor is seeking to convict Frank innocent or guilty, in order to gratify his professional pride,” Frank’s attorneys say.

In the course of the intetrview [sic] the two famous attorneys, who have been engaged to defend the man accused of the murder of Mary Phagan, charge that the solicitor is protecting the negro Conley.

Mr. Dorsey is severely criticised not only for his avowed intention of trying to block the indictment of Conley by the grand jury Monday, but because he prevented the last grand jury, the one, which indicted Frank, from acting on Conley’s case, and because he did not place before the last grand jury any of Conley[‘s] confessions.

Solicitor Dorsey is geeting [sic] his legal and constitutional functions in seeking to control the action of the grand judy [sic],” Attorneys Rosser and Arnold declare.

Despite the criticism of his attitude, there is little doubt that Solicitor Dorsey will be present Monday, when the grand jury takes up the consideration of the Conley case. In fact the solicitor’s presence has been requested by W.D. Beattie, the foreman of the grand jury, who called the meeting.

Solicitor Dorsey is still confident that the grand jury will not indict Conley.

There is little doubt that there will be a quorum present, when the grand jury meeting is called Monday, for Deputy Sheriff Plennie Minor has found that  19 of the 20 grand jurors empanneled [sic] are in the city, and they have promised to be present Monday. It takes 18 grand jurors to act on a bill of indictment. The statement of Mr. Rosser and Mr. Arnold, scoring the solicitor is as follows:


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Jury Is Determined to Consider a Bill Against Jim Conley

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

The Atlanta Journal

Saturday, July 19, 1913

Protest of Solicitor Fails to Stop Session to Consider Phagan Evidence on Monday


Solicitor Says Frank Defense Wants Jury to Try Him Drawn From the Grand Jury List

Grand Jurors Who Will Consider Conley’s Case

This is the Fulton county grand jury which has been called to meet Monday over the protest of the solicitor to take up the case of Jim Conley, the negro sweeper at the National Pencil factory:
W.D. Beatie, foreman.
T.C. Whitner.
John S. Spalding.
W.C. Carroll, East Point.
H.B. Ferguson.
Garnet McMillan, East Point.
Edward H. Inman.
A.W. Farlinger.
M.A. Fall.
Julius M. Skinner.
Oscar Elsas.
George Bancroft.
W.H. Glenn.
S.E. McConnell.
Thomas J. Buchanan.
Sameuel A. Carson.
Eugene Oberdorfer.
A.Q. Adams.
W.O. Stamps.
W.T. Ashford.

There are only twenty citizens on the grand jury which has been called to meet Monday by Foreman W.D. Beattie to consider indicting James Conley, the negro sweeper, for the murder of Mary Phagan.

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Pinkertons Now Declare Leo M. Frank Is Innocent

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

The Atlanta Journal

Friday, July 18, 1913

*Editor’s Note: Small sections of text are missing due to scanning near a crease.


Harry Scott, Field Chief of the Pinkertons, Refuses to Discuss the Agency’s Change of Theory.


The Pinkertons Were Employed by the National Pencil Factory Immediately Following the Murder

That the Pikerton [sic] detectives, who for so many weeks held to the theory that Leo M. Frank is guilty of the Mary Phagan murder, now lay the crime to the door of Jim Conley, is a recent development of interest to the students of the murder mystery.

While Harry Scott, the field chief of the Pinkerton operatives, who have been working on the case practically from the first, employed by the National pencil factory to find Mary Phagan’s murderer, regardless of who the criminal might be, refuses to discuss the case, the Journal has learned from unquestioned authority that the theory of the Pinkertons has undergone a change.

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