Sensational Affidavit Made by Minola M’Knight, Negro Cook at Home of L. M. Frank


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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, June 4th, 1913

In This Affidavit Minola Tells of Conversation That Occurred Between Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Selig, In Which Mrs. Frank Is Alleged to Have Said Frank Was Drinking on Night of Tragedy, and That He Wanted a Pistol to Kill Himself


Negro Says Further That Frank Came Home at 1:30 o’Clock on Fatal Saturday, but Remained Only About Ten Minutes, and That He Left Without Eating His Dinner—Affidavit Is Vague and Confused—It Is Given Here In Full

An affidavit, sworn to by Minola McKnight, the negro servant at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, where Leo M. Frank and his wife live, was made public by Chief of Detectives N. A. Lanford Wednesday afternoon. In the affidavit Minola McKnight tells of alleged conversations at the Selig home in which Mrs. Frank is quoted as having said that Frank was drunk on Saturday night, April 26, and that he made her sleep on a rug. The negro quotes Mrs. Frank further as saying that Mr. Frank couldn’t understand how he could be guilty of murder, and that Frank had begged her for a pistol that he might shoot himself.

The negro says in her affidavit that she has been kindly treated and gives this as the reason for not having made her statement sooner. She swears that the affidavit is made of her own free will.

The affidavit is nearly all hearsay evidence, and therefore inadmissible in court.

The affidavit follows in full: 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 →

Burns Hunt for Phagan Slayer Begun

Burns Hunt for Phagan Slayer Begun

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

Atlanta Georgian

Friday, May 16th, 1913

Skilled Aide of Famous Detective Arrives in Atlanta—Keeps Identity Secret.

Contributions for a fund to bring W. J. Burns, the great detective, to Atlanta in the Phagan case follow:

The Georgian ……………$100

The Constitution ………..  100

Homer George …………..   10

More than six substantial subscriptions from persons who asked that their names be kept secret have been added to the above.

The Burns investigation into the Phagan murder mystery began Friday.

William J. Burns, who personally will conduct the case some time shortly after his arrival from Europe on June 1, cabled his orders to the New York office and one of his best men was dispatched to Atlanta to get as much evidence as possible before the arrival of the great detective chief. He left New York shortly after midnight Wednesday and should have been in Atlanta Thursday night or Friday morning.

He will make every effort to keep his identity and the result of his findings secret until the time for him to report to his chief or to Colonel Thomas B. Felder.

Fund Raised by Public.

The fund to secure the services of the great detective and his assistants from New York, being raised by public subscription, was considerably swelled following the announcement in The Georgian Thursday that an appeal had been made to the public.

Colonel Felder said Friday morning that a number of substantial subscriptions had been pledged by telephone and he had directed the donors to send their checks to Charles I. Ryan, cashier of the Fourth National Bank. He said he had not learned the exact sum subscribed so far, but that he had no doubt it was several hundred dollars. Continue Reading →

Coming of Burns is Assured, Says Colonel Felder

Coming of Burns is Assured

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

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, May 16th, 1913

To Solve Phagan Murder, Joseph Hirsch, Capitalist, Starts Public Subscription to Assure Fund for Burns.


Local Detectives in Conference and Are Believed to Have Secret Documents Bearing on Case.

With The Constitution’s donation of $100 as a nucleus, Atlanta today begins building a fund with which to employ to ferret the mystery of Mary Phagan’s murder Detective William J. Burns, America’s most successful detective.

Assurance that subscriptions will be plentiful and generous came to Attorney Thomas E. Felder last night in telephone messages from numerous public-spirited business men, who informed him that they would send checks this morning for their share of the fund.

One was these was Joseph Hirsch, a leading capitalist and financier, who told Colonel Felder that he wanted to see Atlanta take such means to solve the baffling mystery as to employ the detective by public subscription.

“I have infinite confidence in Mr. Burns’ ability,” he said. “I am assured that he will clear the murder and apprehend the murderer. I will send a check Friday morning for my share of the amount necessary to procure him.” Continue Reading →

Frank’s Life in Tower

Frank's Life in Tower

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 13th, 1913

Of the many prisoners confined in the Tower, Leo M. Frank stands far above them all as the central figure in the public eye while the exhaustive investigation into the death of Mary Phagan continues.

Hundreds of curious persons apply daily at the prison in a futile effort to see the man now being held in the Phagan mystery. The jailers are beset with thousands of questions pertaining to his life during the two weeks that he has spent behind the bars.

Only Frank’s attorney, his immediate relatives and a few friends have been permitted to see him. The man on other occasions has refused point blank to be interviewed or questioned. He has maintained an unbroken silence on the accusations made against by the State.

Cheerful With Friends.

To his friends, however, Frank presents an amazingly bright countenance. Frequently his laughter is heard ringing through the dismal corridors of the Tower. Despite his cheery disposition, however, he has grown pale under his confinement.

Frank occupies cell No. 2 in the South corridor of the jail. The following is the routine of his daily life: Continue Reading →

My Son Innocent, Declares Mother of Leo M. Frank

My Son Innocent

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

Atlanta Constitution

Tuesday, May 13th, 1913

“I Am Confident That He Will Be Proven Not Guilty of This Terrible Crime,” She Tells Reporter


W. J. Burns Secured to Take Charge of Phagan Mystery Investigation—Engaged by Friends of Murdered Girl


It was reported on good authority this morning that officers working upon the Mary Phagan murder would make a new arrest today or tomorrow which is expected to throw an entirely new light upon the case.

None of the officials have discussed this new phase of the mystery and whether or not their activity of the past few days has resulted in the unearthing of clews leading to an arrest is unknown.

My son is entirely innocent but it is a terrible thing that even a shadow or suspicion should fall upon him I am sure of his innocence and am confident that he will be proven not guilty of this terrible crime.

Mrs. Rudolph Frank, aged mother of Leo M. Frank, who is held in the Tower as a suspect in the Mary Phagan mystery case, made this statement yesterday afternoon to a representative of The Constitution at her home in Brooklyn.

She had just informed her friends of the arrest of her son in Atlanta and of the charge made against him in the Gate City. She had not told them earlier because of her belief that he would be quickly set at liberty.

Mrs. Frank has not seen her son since she came south with her husband to attend his marriage. It is probable, however, that she will soon come again to be with him at the trial. Continue Reading →

Rumor That Frank Married in Brooklyn Not True, Says Eagle

Rumor That Frank Married in Brooklyn

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

Atlanta Journal

Monday, May 12th, 1913

At Request of The Journal, One of Numerous Reports About Man Held in Phagan Case Is Investigated


Solicitor’s “Famous” Detective Has Left City-Character Witnesses Not Likely to Be Used

At the request of The Atlanta Journal, the Brooklyn Eagle, one of the most conservative and reliable newspapers in the whole country, has investigated the most serious of numerous rumors which are being persistently circulated about the character of Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil company, who is held in connection with the death of Mary Phagan. That report was to the effect that Mr. Frank, contrary to his sworn testimony before the coroner’s inquest that he had never married but once, namely in Atlanta, about two years ago, married while a resident of Brooklyn, N. Y. The rumor has been persistently circulated in various forms.

The Brooklyn Eagle’s investigation of this rumor is to the effect that Mr. Frank was never married in Brooklyn. His mother, now residing in Brooklyn, says the Eagle declares Mr. Frank married in Atlanta and Atlanta only, and there is no record in Brooklyn to the contrary. This report from a reliable newspaper is given to the public in accordance with The Journal’s policy to print all of the facts and nothing but the facts in connection with this case.

Attorneys declared Monday that even if witnesses who could attack Mr. Frank’s character could be found that they would not be allowed to testify in court should Mr. Frank ever face a jury. The state is never allowed to put the character of a defendant in issue and no past misconduct, however grievous or even if it is a matter of court record, is admitted in evidence unless the defense first makes a point of the character of the man on trial. This is seldom done in criminal cases. Continue Reading →

Burns Called into Phagan Mystery; On Way From Europe

Leo M. Frank, the pencil factory superintendent, held in the Phagan mystery, in a new photograph. Mrs. Frank yesterday visited her husband in the Tower, where he is a prisoner pending the action of the Grand Jury.

Leo M. Frank, the pencil factory superintendent, held in the Phagan mystery, in a new photograph. Mrs. Frank yesterday visited her husband in the Tower, where he is a prisoner pending the action of the Grand Jury.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 12th, 1913

Famous American Detective Cables He Will Return Immediately In Response to Col. Felder’s Plea For His Services to Capture Slayer.

William J. Burns, the world-famed detective, probably will take charge of the Phagan case.

The man who unearthed the dynamite outrages and brought the McNamara brothers to justice, will in all probability come to Atlanta within the next few days and lend his efforts toward clearing up the mystery of the death by strangulation of Mary Phagan.

This information was made public Monday following correspondence between Colonel Thomas B. Felder and Mr. Burns since the discovery of the body in the pencil factory.

Mr. Burns is now on his way from Europe, and will arrive on Tuesday or the following day. Upon his arrival in New York he will confer with detectives there and then proceed to Atlanta.

Credit Largely Due Felder.

The services of Mr. Burns have been secured largely through Mr. Felder’s efforts, it has developed. Upon Mr. Felder’s retention by the citizens of Marietta and relatives of the slain girl to work on the case he journeyed to New York for a conference with Raymond Burns, son of William J. Burns, on the case with a view to getting the great detective to come here.

At that time the elder Burns was in Europe investigating the disappearance of Wilberforce Martin, and upon being cabled of Mr. Felder’s desires replied that he would return immediately. Continue Reading →

Factory Clock Not Punched for Hours on Night of Murder

Factory Clock Not Punched for Hours on Night of Murder

Scenes at the funeral services of victim of Sunday’s brutal crime. In one picture is shown casket being borne from church; in another, her brother, Ben Phagan, who is in the navy; and in the bottom one, the beautiful floral offerings covering the newly-made grave.

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, April 30th, 1913

Newt Lee, Negro Watchman, Had a Record for Punctuality in Registering Time Until Night of the Killing—Bloody Shirt Found in His Home by Detectives, but Negro Asserts That He Had Not Seen It for Two Years—Blood Was Fresh, Assert Officers.


“We Have Sufficient Evidence to Convict the Murderer of Mary Phagan, Declare Local Detectives and Pinkertons—Leo M. Frank Subjected to a Gruelling Third Degree—Rumors Spread Over City That Lee Had Confessed Denied by Chief Lanford.

The record of the factory time clock in the pencil plant was brought to police headquarters last night. It shows an irregularity in three separate periods during the night of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Lee, the negro night watchman, was supposed to punch the time piece every thirty minutes during each night of duty. Up until 9:32 o’clock Saturday night it was visited with regularity. An adjustment was skipped from that time until 10:29 o’clock. At 11:04 another adjustment was missed. The next punch was registered at midnight.

The most convincing irregularity of the record sheet, however, is the adjustment that was missed between 2 o’clock Sunday morning and 3. The body was discovered at 3:30 o’clock. Where was the watchman when he failed to punch the hour? Continue Reading →

Factory Head Frank and Watchman Newt Lee are “Sweated” by Police

Factory Head Frank and Watchman Newt Lee are Sweated by Police

Leo M. Frank. [The lascivious superintendent of the National Pencil Company, so candidly described by several women and girls who worked at the factory. These women gave testimony describing Frank’s lascivious character at the coroner’s inquest, including inappropriate touching of the women and sexual advances in exchange for money — Ed.]

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, April 29th, 1913

Mysterious Action of Officials Gives New and Startling Turn to Hunt for Guilty Man—Attorney Rosser, Barred, Later Admitted to Client.

Has the Phagan murder mystery been solved? The police say they know the guilty man.

Chief of Detectives Lanford at 2 o’clock this afternoon told The Georgian:

“We have evidence in hand which will clear the mystery in the next few hours and satisfy the public.”

All the afternoon the police have been “sweating” Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the factory where the girl worked, and putting through the “third degree” Lee, the negro watchman at the factory.

[The statement came at the end of a second long conference between John Black, city detective; Harry Scott, Pinkerton detective, and Leo Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil Company factory.

Additional clews furnished by the head of the pencil factory were responsible for the closing net around the negro watchman.

With the solution of the mystery at hand came the further information that what suspicion had rested on Frank was being rapidly swept away by the damaging evidence against the black man. It was announced that he probably would be liberated to-night or in the morning.

“It looks a great deal better for Frank who has been detained only for his own protection and to furnish further information to the department,” said the detectives. Continue Reading →