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.

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All Georgia Records Broken by the Frank Trial

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

Atlanta Journal
August 15th, 1913

Testimony up to Thursday Would Fill 500 Newspaper Columns, Says Official

Mrs. M. Marcus, M. J. Goldstein, I. Strauss, Who Participated in Card Game, Declare Frank Showed No Signs of Excitement When They Saw Him Saturday Evening and That There Were No Scratches on His Face

That all Georgia records for criminal trials already had been broken and that probably there was no southern record approaching it, was the statement of the court stenographer informally Thursday afternoon with regard to the Leo M. Frank murder trial.

The stenographer stated that the records of the trial up to Thursday morning and including none of Thursday’s testimony, were well in excess of 400,000 words.

That is equivalent to more than 500 newspaper columns of solid print, with each line a full one.

That court did not include, of course, the voluminous record of the coroner’s inquest nor any of the other profuse documents which were written in advance of the trial’s beginning.

According to witnesses for the defense Leo M. Frank was not nervous and displayed no signs of extra concern on Saturday night, April 26, just a few hours before the little girl’s body was found by Newt Lee, the negro night watchman. The witnesses testified that they attended the card party at the home of Emil Selig that night and that the accused came in about 8:15 or 8:30 and sat in the hall and read a magazine until after 10 o’clock when he retired.

Mrs. M. Marcus, of 482 Washington street, was the first witness. She told the jury that she attended the Seligs’ card party, saw Frank and noticed nothing unusual in his manner. M. J. Goldstein, also of Washington street, declared that he too attended the card game and noticed nothing unusual about the accused. I. Strauss told the jury that he went to the Selig home about 10 o’clock that night to escort Mrs. Strauss home and that he saw the superintendent who retired shortly after he arrived. John W. Todd, of Pittsburg, Pa., was the only character witness introduced early in the afternoon. He was treasurer of Frank’s class at Cornell and said that the accused had a good reputation in college.

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Dorsey Replies to the Charges of Mrs. L. Frank

dorsey-repliesAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, June 6th, 1913

Says the Wife of an Accused Man Would Be the Last to Learn of Her Husband’s Guilt.


Detective Department Not at All Disturbed Over Denial of the McKnight Woman That She Signed Affidavit.

The wife of a man accused of crime would probably be the last person to learn all of the facts establishing her husband’s guilt, and certainly would be the last person to admit his culpability, even though it be proved by overwhelming evidence.

Perhaps the most unpleasant feature incident to the position of prosecuting attorney arises from the fact that punishment of the guilty inevitably brings suffering to relations who are innocent of participation in the crime, yet who must share the humiliation following from its exposure.”

These statements are contained in a signed letter for publication given The Constitution yesterday afternoon by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey shortly following the issuance of a letter criticizing him by Mrs. Leo Frank, wife of the man indicted for the murder of Mary Phagan.

Scores the Detectives.

Mrs. Frank’s letter rings with caustic denunciation of the solicitor and the detectives for imprisoning the servant girl, Minola McKnight, and issuing the sensational affidavit purported to have been signed by the negress. She declares belief in her husband’s innocence and expresses confidence that he will be acquitted.

She arraigns the circulators of unsavory and “untrue” stories regarding her alleged unhappy married life and asserts that the suspected man could not have been “the good husband he had been to her if he were a criminal.” It is the first public statement issued by any member of the Frank family and created wide interest. Continue Reading →

Attorney Retained for Negro Servant at Frank’s Home

attorney-retainedAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, June 3rd, 1913

George Gordon Represents Minola McKnight as Attorney and May Seek Habeas Corpus During Afternoon


She Swears Leo M. Frank Was at Home at Time He Testified Before the Coroner’s Inquest

It became known Tuesday morning that Attorney George Gordon had been retained to represent Minola McKnight, the negro cook employed by Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, parents-in-law of Leo M. Frank, held for the murder of Mary Phagan.

Who employed the lawyer could not be learned, but the fact remains that Mr. Gordon is representing the negress, whose arrest Monday by city detectives, followed a questioning by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey.

It is also understood on good authority that Mr. Gordon is seriously considering the matter of seeking a writ of habeas corpus for the McKnight woman and further developments along this line are expected during the afternoon.


Shortly after noon Tuesday the McKnight woman was taken from her cell on the first floor at police headquarters by Detectives tSarnes [sic] and Sampbell [sic], who led her to a private room adjoining the detective department on the third floor. Two unknown white men and a negro man, supposed to be the woman’s husband, were left alone with her for about an hour and a half, when the detectives were called in.

After talking with the woman for a few minutes Detective Starnes came out of the room, gathered up a pen, ink and paper and went back. It is presumed that she has made some kind of a statement which the detectives consider significant and which they desire to take down in the form of an affidavit.

Attorney George Gordon was outside in the detective department for a portion of the time the woman was being questioned.

The hysteria which marked her demeanor when she first was arrested, has subsided, and Minola McKnight, the negro cook for Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, of 68 East Georgia avenue, home of Leo M. Frank, still sticks to the story she hysterically shouted throughout police headquarters Monday afternoon.

The negress was arrested at the Selig residence shortly after noon Monday upon the order of Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey.

She was carried to the solicitor’s office and that official with Detectives Campbell and Starnes examined her for more than an hour. The woman grew hysterical during the vigorous examination, and finally was led from the solicitor’s office to the police patrol, weeping and shouting: “I am going to hang and don’t know a thing about it.”

Later it developed that [t]he woman’s husband, Albert McKnight, had been in the room with the officers. Continue Reading →

Negro Cook at Home Where Frank Lived Held by the Police


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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, June 2nd, 1913

Woman Questioned by Dorsey, Becomes Hysterical; Solicitor Refuses to Tell Whether She Gave Important Information; Alibi for Defense.

Minola Mcknight, the negro cook in the household of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, 68 Georgia Avenue, with whom Leo M. Frank lived, was put through the severest sort of grilling in the office of Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey Monday in an effort to break down Frank’s alibi which tends to show that he was at home about the time James Conley swore the notes found by Mary Phagan’s body were written.

The negro woman grew histerical [sic] and her shrieks and protestations could be heard through the closed door. She maintained to the end of the two hours of rapid-fire questioning, however, that Frank had arrived home by 1:30 o’clock the Saturday afternoon of the crime.

She was taken into custody on information said to have been furnished by her husband. She later was taken to the police station to be held under suspicion. The details of her statements to the solicitor and the full import of the information said to have been disclosed by her husband have been shrouded with the utmost secrecy by Solicitor Dorsey. It is said, however, that she declared to the last that Frank had arrived home by 1:30 o’clock to her positive knowledge.

Her sobs and hysterical cries were heard soon after she entered the office of the solicitor. Mr. Dorsey was able to quiet her for a few minutes at a time, when it is supposed he obtained her statement of Frank’s whereabouts on Saturday, April 26, so far as she knew. At detective headquarters, the officers were non-commital as to the nature or value of the testimony that the engro [sic] woman had given. Continue Reading →

5 to Testify Frank Was at Home at Hour Negro Says He Aided


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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, June 2nd, 1913

Defense to Cite Discrepancies in Time to Disprove Conley’s Affidavit—Sheriff Denies Friends of Superintendent Approached Sweeper in Cell.

After a two-hour grilling by Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey Minola McKnight, a negro woman about 21 years old, was taken to police headquarters and is held under suspicion in connection with the murder of Mary Phagan.

She is believed to have made sensational disclosures to the solicitor.

At the police station she was in hysteria, shouting:

“I am going to hang, but I didn’t do it.”

* * *

Five persons will be prepared to testify at the trial of Leo M. Frank that he arrived at home for luncheon at 1:20 o’clock the Saturday afternoon that Mary Phagan was killed, which would have been an impossibility, the defense will assert, if Frank had directed the disposal of the body and dictated the notes at the time the negro alleges.

Testimony before the Coroner’s jury by Frank and others indicated strongly that he was at home by 1:20 the afternoon of the crime.  Conley in his affidavits declared that he went into Frank’s office at four minutes before 1 o’clock. He said that after a conversation of a few minutes Frank heard voices and shoved Conley into a closet. Miss Corinthia Hall and Mrs. Emma Clark entered. Conley was kept a prisoner in the closet, he said, for eight or ten minutes. Continue Reading →

L. M. Frank’s Complete Story of Where He Was and What He Did on Day of Mary Phagan Murder

L. M. Franks Complete Story of Where He Was and What He Did on Day of Mary Phagan Murder

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

Atlanta Journal

Tuesday, May 6th, 1913

For Three Hours and a Half Mr. Frank Was on the Stand, Answering Questions About His Movements Every Hour and Minute of the Day—He Was Calm and Unruffled When Excused From Stand and Returned to the Tower


Introduction of Quinn Gives the Factory Superintendent an Important Witness, in Confirmation of His Statements. Only Three Witnesses Examined by Coroner at Session Monday Afternoon

For three hours and a half Leo M. Frank, general superintendent of the National Pencil factory in which Mary Phagan was murdered, faced the coroner’s jury Monday afternoon and told minutely, detail by detail, in precise sequence, where he was and what he did during practically every minute of Saturday, April 26, Saturday night, and Sunday, April 27. When he had finished, his father-in-law, Emil Selig, was put upon the stand and questioned closely regarding what he knew of Frank’s whereabouts and acts on those days. And after Mr. Selig had been excused, Mrs. Josephine Selig, his wife, was called to testify along the same line. These three witnesses occupied the entire session Monday, which was at work for almost five hours.

That Lemmie Quinn, foreman of tipping department, visited the Naitonal Pencil factory shortly after Mary Phagan is supposed to have received her pay envelope and departed, was an absolutely new feature in the murder mystery brought out by Mr. Frank’s testimony.

While Quinn has never been on the stand he has corroborated Mr. Frank’s statement in interviews with the detectives, and goes further by saying that he recalled his visit to the factory for the incarcerated superintendent. Continue Reading →