Negro Sweeper Tells the Story of Murder Notes

Negro Sweeper Tells

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 29th, 1913

James Conley Makes New Affidavit, Swearing That He Wrote at the Dictation of Leo M. Frank.


Conley Declares Frank Gave Him $2.50 for Writing the Notes—He Writes “Night Witch” for Night Watchman.

James Conley, the negro sweeper at the National Pencil factory, in which little Mary Phagan was murdered, made a new affidavit Wednesday morning in which he threw additional light on the case, incriminating Leo M. Frank, and which detectives think will solve the long-drawn-out mystery.

“Write ‘night watchman,’” he is said to have been commanded by detectives Wednesday morning. The result was ‘night witch,’ just as in the note found by the body of the murdered girl. This, the detectives declare, is the strongest corroboration of his statement that he wrote the notes at the direction of Frank, the factory superintendent.

The city detectives are said to put full credence in his statements now, as in the new affidavit he is said to have sworn that the notes were written on Saturday, about 1 o’clock, and not on Friday, as he first declared.

Feared for His Neck.

His reason for deception the first time is said to be that he feared for his own neck if he admitted the truth. As matters stand now, he is regarded by the detectives merely as an unwilling tool, and not as an accomplice of the murderer, whomever he may be.

According to this new affidavit, the negro’s complete story of his part in the affair is said to be as follows: Continue Reading →

Conley Says Frank Took Him to Plant on Day of Slaying

Conley Says

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Negro Sweeper in New Affidavit Denies His Former Testimony and Makes Startling Assertions; Now Declares He Wrote Notes Saturday.

James Conley, negro sweeper, in an affidavit made Wednesday, said that he was lying when he said he went to the National Pencil Factory on Friday. He said that he made the statement that it was Friday when Frank (as he says) told him to write the death notes, because he was afraid he would be accused of the murder of Mary Phagan if he told the truth.

He said he felt that if he said he was there Saturday the police would connect him with the murder. Conley said he got up between 9 and 9:30 o’clock Saturday morning, he knew the time because he looked at the clock on the Atlanta University from his front door. He returned indoors and had breakfast.

He got three silver dollars from his wife to exchange for paper money so that she would not lose it. He continued: Continue Reading →

Conley Tells in Detail of Writing Notes on Saturday at Dictation of Mr. Frank

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Negro Declares He Met Mr. Frank on the Street and Accompanied Him Back to the Factory, Where He Was Told to Wait and Watch—He Was Concealed in Wardrobe In Office When Voices Were Heard on Outside, It Is Claimed


Chief Beavers Confer With Judge Roan In Reference to Taking Conley to Tower to Confront Frank but Is Told That It Is a Question for Sheriff to Decide—No Effort In This Direction Likely Until Mr. Rosser Returns to City

“Write ‘night-watchman,’” the city detectives are said to have commanded James Conley, negro sweeper at the pencil factory, in jail Wednesday.

The result is said to have been “night-wich.”

So also the note found beside the dead body of Mary Phagan spelled it.

The detectives regard this strongly corroborative of Conley’s admission that he himself wrote the notes found beside the dead girl. Conley declares that he wrote them, however, at the dictation of Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the pencil factory, under indictment for the murder. The detectives are disposed to place full credence in his story now, it is said, since he has declared that he did the writing on Saturday afternoon instead of on Friday afternoon as he first swore, and has gone into details.

A new and lengthy affidavit, going into detail in sequence throughout the day of the fatal Saturday, was sworn to by the negro in the detective headquarters Wednesday morning.

In it the negro recited as minutely as he could remember them, his actions and movements upon the day. Continue Reading →

Conley Reported to Admit Writing Notes Saturday

Conley Reported to Admit

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, May 28th, 1913

Negro Sweeper, It Is Stated, Acknowledges That He Erred in Former Statement to the Detectives.


Conley Is Taken to Frank’s Cell, But Prisoner Refused to See Him Except in the Presence of His Lawyer.

In a gruelling three-hour third degree at police headquarters last night, James Conley, the negro pencil factory sweeper, is reported to have made the statement that he erred in the date of his original confession and that he wrote the murder notes at Leo Frank’s dictation at 1 o’clock on the Saturday of Mary Phagan’s disappearance instead of the preceding Friday.

In an effort to confront the suspected pencil plant superintendent with this acknowledgement, Chief Beavers, Chief Lanford and Harry Scott, of the Pinkertons, took the negro to the Tower at 8 o’clock, where they tried to gain admission to Frank’s cell. Sheriff Mangum refused entrance unless permitted by Frank.

When word came to him that the police chiefs and the Pinkerton man desired to confront him with Conley, the prisoner positively refused them an audience, declaring that he would have to first consult his counsel, Attorney Luther Rosser.

Secrecy Shrouds Confession.

Secrecy shrouds the negro’s reported confession amendment. All three men who subjected him to the third degree admit that he has made a statement of importance, but will neither deny nor affirm the rumor of his change of dates. Chief Lanford was seen by a reporter for The Constitution at police headquarters a few minutes after the negro had been returned to his cell.

He admitted that an important admission had been made by Conley, and, that as a result, he would be used as a material witness against Frank. Continue Reading →

Suspicion Turned to Conley; Accused by Factory Foreman

Suspicion Turned

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

Atlanta Georgian

Tuesday, May 27th, 1913

Negro, Whose Story That He Wrote Notes at Frank’s Dictation Is Generally Disbelieved, Was Often Drunk. Mrs. White Can Not Identify Him.

Suspicion in the Phagan case was Tuesday morning turned full-flare upon James Conley, the negro whose unexpected assertion last week that he had written the notes found beside the body of Mary Phagan, at the dictation of Leo M. Frank, was followed by a speedy indictment of the pencil factory superintendent.

In the opinion of E. F. Holloway, timekeeper and foreman in the factory, Conley is the guilty man.

Careful study of the negro’s story has revealed many absurdities in its structure, wherein evidences of childish cunning are rife in an effort to throw the blame onto Frank. It is this which has served to bring the deed to Conley’s door.

However, Mrs. Arthur White, wife of a machinist at the factory, who testified that she saw a negro lurking in the building between 12 noon and 2 o’clock on the afternoon of the murder, denied the published report in an afternoon paper that she had identified Conley as the one. Mrs. White stated Tuesday morning that she had secured only a glimpse of the man. It may have been Conley, or another negro. Mrs. White was asked to pick Conley out of a crowd of twelve negroes some time ago, but her identification was a second choice. Continue Reading →

Evidence Against Frank Conclusive, Say Police

Evidence Against FrankAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Chief of Detectives Newport Lanford Monday announced that the mystery of the Mary Phagan tragedy is solved, as nearly as is possible without the absolute, direct testimony of eyewitnesses, and expressed himself as perfectly satisfied with the evidence now in hand.

Accompanying this statement comes the authoritative announcement that the great strangling crime will be placed on Leo M. Frank, now under indictment on the charge of murder, and that Newt Lee, the suspected negro night watchman of the National Pencil Factory, will not be indicted. Lee will be held in jail until the trial as a material witness and will be placed on the stand to give evidence against the factory superintendent.

Lee has completely been eliminated from the case as a suspect, and is now counted as one of the strongest witnesses against Frank.

“There is not the slightest doubt of the innocence of Newt Lee,” said Chief Lanford. “I’m certain he has told all he knows of the death of Mary Phagan.”

Can Hold Lee Indefinitely.

No further action nor proceedings of any kind will be necessary to hold the night watchman for the trial. He was ordered by the Coroner’s jury held for investigation by the Grand Jury, and until the latter body either returns an indictment or a “no bill,” he can not be freed from jail. Continue Reading →

“Becker of South” Lanford is Branded by Col. Tom Felder

Becker of South

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 25th, 1913

System of Corruption as Poisonous as That of the Mafia Exists in Atlanta, According to Statement Made by Attorney Accused of Trying to Bribe Secretary G. C. Febuary to Steal Affidavit in the Phagan Case—Says Detectives Are Trying to Shield Murderer of Girl.


A. S. Colyar, Leading Figure in Bribe Charges, Is Placed Under Arrest on Warrant From Knoxville, But Is Released on Bond—Connally [sic], Negro Employee of the National Pencil Factory, Tells Officers He Wrote Notes at Dictation of Frank—Police Believe These Were the Ones Found by the Body of Mary Phagan.

Branding Detective Chief Newport Lanford as the “Lieutenant Becker” of the south, and charging that there exists in the Atlanta police department a “system” of corruption that is as poisonous as the deadly society of Mafia, Colonel Thomas B. Felder has issued counter charges to those of attempted bribery made against him Friday afternoon.

He declares that every bit of his sensational accusations can be supported by substantial evidence. He even asserts that the charges against him were made in an effort to shield and protect the murderer of Mary Phagan, whom the detective department are alleged to be assisting by the destruction of damaging evidence and by procuring witnesses.

First, and the most important of Saturday developments, was the indictment by the grand jury of Leo M. Frank, the suspected factory superintendent. The true bill was returned before noon. He now will be tried before Fulton superior court on the direct charge of Mary Phagan’s murder.

Second, was the confession of James Connally, a negro sweeper in the pencil factory, who declares that he wrote, at the dictation of Frank, notes which the detectives believe to be the ones found by the body of Mary Phagan. After making complete acknowledgement to Detective John Black and Harry Scott, he made an affidavit supporting the confession. Continue Reading →

State Didn’t Show its Case to Secure Indictment Against Superintendent Leo M. Frank

State Didn'tAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Journal

Sunday, May 24th, 1913

No Documentary Evidence Was Placed Before the Grand Jury and James Conley, the Negro Sweeper Who Made Sensational Affidavit About Writing Certain Notes at Frank’s Dictation on Day Before Tragedy, Was Not Examined by the Jury


Both the Other Two Witnesses Gave Their Opinion in the Affirmative—Complete Summary of Evidence on Which the Grand Jury Decided That Frank Must Stand Trial for Death of Girl—Has Lee Given New Evidence to His Attorney?

While Solicitor General H. M. Dorsey will make no statement, it is undoubtedly true that the state did not show “its hand” even in the secrecy of the grand jury room to secure the indictment Saturday of Leo M. Frank on the charge of murdering Mary Phagan.

Sharing interest with the returning of a true bill against the factory superintendent, is the sensational eleventh hour statement of James Conley that he wrote certain notes similar in language to those found by the murdered Mary Phagan at Mr. Frank’s dictation.

Despite the fact that Conley stuck to his story when vigorously cross examined by Solicitor Dorsey, it is said that the official does not fully credit the negro’s sensational statement.

It was not necessary to put the negro before the grand jury and Mr. Dorsey did not go into the details of his statement until after the true bill had been returned.

Even then he did not consider Conley’s statement of sufficient importance to secure from a safety deposit vault the notes found by the slain girl’s body, and they have never been offered to Conley for identification.

The effect of the negro’s statement on the state’s whole case is known to the solicitor alone. Its influence is apparently disturbing, and it has been said that the solicitor was preparing to introduce finger print and handwriting experts in an effort to show that Frank himself wrote the words on the two sheets of paper found in the basement of the National Pencil factory on the morning of April 27.

If Conley’s story can not be shaken, the experts will not be needed unless it is to swear to the similarity of his handwriting to that of the notes. Continue Reading →

Negro Sweeper Tells Officer Frank Asked Him to Write Some Notes Day Before Tragedy

Negro Sweeper

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

He Thinks These Notes Are the Same as Those Found by the Body of the Murdered Girl, but Had Not Seen the Original Notes When He Made His Sensational Statement to the Detectives Saturday Morning


Conley Voluntarily Sent for Detectives to Make His Statement, It Is Declared — He Told the Detectives That He Wanted to Confess the Whole Truth, That Frank Called Him Into His Office and Told Him He Wanted to See His Writing

Saturday morning, James Conley, the negro sweeper formerly employed in the pencil factory where Mary Phagan was killed, and who was arrested on suspicion and has been held in jail since as a material witness for the state, sent for Detective John Black and declared that he wanted to tell the truth.

“Boss, I wrote those notes,” said he, referring to the mysterious notes found beside the dead body of Mary Phagan.

He declared that he could not identify them positively, inasmuch as he had never seen the originals, but that as they were read to him out of the papers he believed they were the ones he wrote.

On Friday, the day before the murder, said he to detectives, Leo M. Frank called him into his (Frank’s) office at the factory and said he wanted to get some samples of his handwriting, and dictated for him to write—dictating, said the negro, what he remembered as substantially the notes that afterward were read to him out of the newspapers.

The negro was taken immediately to the courthouse. Continue Reading →

Phagan Case Will Go to Grand Jury at 10 A. M. Friday

Phagan Case Will Go to Grand Jury

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 22nd, 1913

Names of Leo M. Frank and the Negro, Newt Lee, to Be Presented by State as the Accused


Improbable That Evidence Favorable to Mr. Frank Will Be Attempted—Experts Ready on Various Phases

The Phagan investigation will go to the grand jury on Friday and the state will use every effort to introduce sufficient evidence against the two suspects ordered held by the coroner’s jury to secure true bills.

Solicitor General Dorsey announced late Thursday that there had been no development which would change his plan to present the case to the twenty-three grand jurors on Friday. The names of both Leo M. Frank, superintendent of the National Pencil factory, and Newt Lee, negro nightwatchman, will be presented the jury, but it is said that the state will concentrate its evidence in an effort to secure a true bill against the factory superintendent.


As to whether his expert testimony by physicians and by finger print, handwriting and blood specialists would be introduced before the grand jury, Mr. Dorsey would make no statement.

It is said, however, that the state will withhold all evidence possible without jeopardizing its chances of securing a true bill.

The grand jury session to take up the famous case has been called for 10 o’clock Friday morning, and a small army of deputy sheriffs and attaches of the solicitor’s office will be used Thursday in subpenaing [sic] the numerous witnesses in the case. Continue Reading →

Experts Are Here on Finger Prints

Experts Here

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 22nd, 1913

Two Investigators Are Added to Wm. J. Burns’ Forces Already in Atlanta—P. A. Flak in City.

The William J. Burns forces in the investigation of the Mary Phagan mystery have been reinforced by two expert investigators who recently arrived in the city and are assisting Chief C. W. Tobie in his work.

Their identity is being withheld. Both began work Wednesday. One is a noted handwriting and finger print expert, and his first object was to examine the notes found beside the girl’s body and to obtain finger prints at and around the scene of discovery.

Chief Tobie visited the negro night watchman, Newt Lee, in the Tower Wednesday morning for an hours’ interview. Although he will not state positively his views, the impression is gained that he believes the negro innocent, in both the actual murder and as an accessory either before or after the crime.

Finger Print Expert Engaged.

P. A. Flak, one of New York’s most successful finger print experts, has been retained by Solicitor General Dorsey to examine prints found upon the victim’s clothing and on the notes written by her slayer. Flak was brought to Atlanta by the Georgia State Banker’ association, the convention of which recently was held in Macon.

He and the solicitor visited the pencil factory Wednesday afternoon. Later they visited the jail, where, it is said, they secured finger prints from both suspects, Frank, the plant superintendent, and the negro watchman. They spent practically the entire day together. Continue Reading →

New Phagan Witnesses Have Been Found

New Phagan Witnesses

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

Atlanta Georgian

Saturday, May 17th, 1913

Solicitor General Dorsey Declares Work of His Greatest Detective Has Been Completed.


Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey said Saturday that his “greatest detective in America” would not figure again in the Phagan investigation, and that it was extremely doubtful whether he would be recalled to testify at the trial.

“He has finished his investigation,” said the Solicitor, “and we have no further need for him. A detective is one thing and a witness is another. His investigation led us to witnesses. It is not necessary for him, or any detective, to tell the jury what a disinterested witness will tell.”

He would not say, however, whether his decision not to put the “greatest in America” on the witness stand would apply to the city, Pinkerton and Burns detectives.

Grand Jury Meets Wednesday.

The Solicitor announced that the Grand Jury would meet next Wednesday for an extra session, but said it was hardly probable the Phagan case would be considered then. He said there were a number of cases that demanded attention and the extra session would more than likely be called to dispose of everything on the calendar to prepare for the session Friday, when the Phagan case would more than likely be presented.

Mr. Dorsey said that his interview of Friday, in which he said the Burns men would work under the same conditions as the Pinkertons, had been misconstrued by some to mean that the services of the great detective were not needed. Continue Reading →

Phagan Case Will Go To Grand Jury in Present Form

Phagan Case Will Go to Grand Jury

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 17th, 1913

State Is Apparently Ready, as Solicitor Says That He is Not Expecting Any New Evidence for Some Time


Attorney Declares Fund for Employment of the Famous Sleuth Has Reached $1,500, About $5,000 is Needed

That the state considers its case as practically complete and is ready to definitely charge the Mary Phagan murder to an individual and to start the legal machinery moving towards a superior court trial is believed from a very significant statement made Saturday by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey.

“I haven’t learned anything new in several days, and do not expect to for some time,” he said.

The solicitor is still busy, and practically all of his time is consumed in interviewing witnesses and conferring with the detectives who are at work on the mystery.

The majority of the witnesses examined are people who testified at the inquest or whose names have been identified with the case from the first. Among the several witnesses, however, whose status remains unexplained is Ernest A. Muller, an expert accountant, of Chattanooga, who has been in Atlanta for about ten days. Continue Reading →

No Phagan Trial Before Last of June Declares Solicitor

No Phagan Trial Before Last of June

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 15th, 1913

If Indictments Are Returned by Grand Jury When Bills Are Presented There Will Be No Immediate Trial


He Calls Upon the Public to Subscribe a Fund to Pay the Expense of Bringing Great Detective to Atlanta

Should the Fulton county grand jury, when it meets next Thursday or Friday, return a true bill against either one or both of the men held by the coroner’s jury in the Mary Phagan murder investigation, the state will not attempt to bring them to trial before the latter part of June.

The rumors to the effect that the state would rush the trial at a special court session if Leo M. Frank or Newt Lee is indicted for the killing by the grand jury were set at rest Thursday by this statement from Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey.

The examination of witnesses by the solicitor continued on Thursday, and a number of witnesses in the case appeared at the solicitor’s office to make statements, of which a stenographic record is kept. Continue Reading →

Secret Hunt by Burns in Mystery is Likely

William J. Burns

William J. Burns

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

Atlanta Georgian

Wednesday, May 14th, 1913

Probably Will Not Reveal Presence in City as He Investigates Phagan Case.

Colonel Thomas B. Felder said Wednesday that Detective William J. Burns had not arrived, as yet, in New York from his European trip, but that as soon as he did he undoubtedly would start at once for Atlanta to work upon the Mary Phagan strangling mystery.

Colonel Felder is acquainted with the day and the hour on which the famous sleuth will reach this city, but for the purposes of the investigation he is withholding the information.

“There was no authority for the statement that Detective Burns would be in New York Tuesday,” said Colonel Felder. “The date of his arrival has been known in my office, but it had not been made public.”

“It is quite likely that the great detective will come quietly and unannounced into the city, make his investigation of the mystery and slip out before many persons are aware from their own knowledge that he has been working on the case.”

In Touch With Burns Agency.

Colonel Felder has been in constant touch with Raymond Burns, son of the detective, who is secretary and treasurer of the Burns Agency, and has offices in New York. The agency is being placed in possession of the important new developments in the mystery as rapidly as they occur. An outline of the whole case will be laid before Burns the instant that he arrives at his New York offices. Continue Reading →

New Theory Fails to Change Course of Murder Probe

New Theory

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, May 14th, 1913

“A Local Celebrity” Is Working Out the New Theory and He Had Not Reported to the Solicitor on Wednesday


Grand Jury to Take Up Case May 22 or 23, Says Solicitor, Criminal Court Postpones Session at Dorsey’s Request

At 2:10 Wednesday afternoon Solicitor Dorsey announced that the grand jury would take up the Phagan case on Thursday, the 22d, or Friday, the 23d, unless something intervened to make it inadvisable. At that time bills will be presented against Leo M. Frank and the negro, Newt Lee, for the grand jury’s consideration.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey had received no report Wednesday from the person who is working on the new theory in the Phagan murder mystery. He is continuing his examination of many witnesses, some of whom testified at the inquest, and it is now apparent that the new theory, however plausible, has not turned the investigation from its old course.

One man, whom the solicitor terms “a local celebrity,” is working on the new theory alone, and the solicitor made no intimation as to the time this man is expected to make his report.

The investigation is dragging and Wednesday Mr. Dorsey said again that he was not ready to state when he would present the names of Leo M. Frank and Newt Lee, the two men held by the coroner’s jury, to the grand jury.


The solicitor, his assistant and attaches of his office are so busy with the Phagan investigation that an effort was made to postpone the regular session of the criminal division of the superior court, which is slated to begin on next Monday.

At 2 o’clock it was definitely decided to postpone the session of the criminal court until the week beginning May 26 to permit the solicitor more time to work on the Phagan case. Continue Reading →

Clue is Sought in Handwriting of Mary Phagan

Clue is Sought

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

Atlanta Constitution

Wednesday, May 14th, 1913

Reporter of The Constitution Is Summoned by Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey for Conference.


Much Interest Is Created by the Report That a New Arrest May Be Made in the Near Future.

The handwriting of Mary Phagan is likely to play a prominent part in the investigation of her murder. Rumors came Tuesday from the solicitor general’s office that new clues had been discovered in the form of notes or letters, and that much energy was being concentrated in investigation along that line.

Handwriting experts have been summoned before Mr. Dorsey this morning. A reporter for The Constitution who has several specimens of the murdered girl’s handwriting has also been ordered to appear at the solicitor’s office this morning at 10 o’clock.

It is reported that mysterious notes have been found by a number of the solicitor’s staff, and that Mr. Dorsey’s object is to identify, by the specimens in the reporter’s possession, the Phagan girl’s script. It also has been advanced that the strange notes caused the new theory on which the solicitor is working.

Mr. Dorsey and his entire office staff is unusually reticent about the rumored clues. He will neither deny or affirm the report that notes or letters of any character pertaining to the mystery have been discovered.

“To talk at present,” he said, “would be disastrous. We must have time to verify our theory.”

Dorsey Interviews Mrs. Barrett.

Mrs. Mary Barrett, a woman who is said to have been in the pencil factory the Saturday afternoon that Mary Phagan disappeared, was summoned before Mr. Dorsey Tuesday afternoon. She came with her daughter, a pretty little girl, who was present during her mother’s examination. Continue Reading →

Phagan Inquest in Session; Six Witnesses are Examined Before Adjournment to 2:30

Lemmie Quinn, foreman, who testified that he visited the factory and talked to Mr. Frank just after Mary Phagan is supposed to have left with her pay envelope. He was given a searching examination by the coroner Thursday, but stuck to his statement.

Lemmie Quinn, foreman, who testified that he visited the factory and talked to Mr. Frank just after Mary Phagan is supposed to have left with her pay envelope. He was given a searching examination by the coroner Thursday, but stuck to his statement.

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

Atlanta Journal

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

Lemmie Quinn, the Factory Foreman, Was Put Through a Grilling Examination, but He Steadily Maintained That He Visited the Factory Shortly After the Time Mary Phagan is Supposed to Have Left With Her Pay Envelope


Mr. Frank’s Manner at the Time He Was Informed of the Tragedy by Officers at His Home on Sunday Morning is Told of by Former Policeman — Both Frank and the Negro Night Watchman Are Expected to Testify During Afternoon, When Inquest Will Be Concluded

The coroner’s inquest into the mysterious murder of Mary Phagan adjourned at 12:55 o’clock Thursday to meet again at 2:30. At the hour of adjournment, six witnesses had testified. They were “Boots” Rogers, former county policeman; Lemmie Quinn, foreman of the pencil factory; Miss Corinthia Hall, an employee of the factory; Miss Hattie Hall, stenographer; J. L. Watkins and Miss Daisy Jones. L. M. Frank and Newt Lee, the negro night watchman, were both present at headquarters during the morning session, but neither had been recalled to the stand when recess was ordered. Both are expected to testify during the afternoon, when an effort will be made to conclude the inquest and return a verdict.

Though put through a searching examination by the coroner in an effort to break down his statement that he had visited the factory on the day of the tragedy shortly after noon just after Mary Phagan is supposed to have received her pay envelope and left, Quinn stuck to his story. He declared that he had recalled his visit to Mr. Frank, and that Mr. Frank told him he was going to communicate the fact to his lawyers. Continue Reading →

Stains of Blood on Shirt Fresh, Says Dr. Smith

Stains of Blood on Shirt Fresh

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

Atlanta Constitution

Thursday, May 8th, 1913

City Bacteriologist Makes His Report After Examination of Garment of Negro Which Was Found in Trash Barrel.


Witness Spent 24 Hours in Same Cell With Phagan Prisoner — Body of Girl Exhumed for Second Time.


Dr. Claude Smith, city bacteriologist, completes examination of negro’s blood-stained shirt, and finds that the blood stains are new.

Body of Mary Phagan was exhumed shortly after noon on Wednesday for the purpose of making a second examination.

Mrs. Mattie Smith, wife of one of the mechanics who were last men to leave pencil factory, tells detectives that shortly before 1 o’clock, when she left the building, she saw strange negro near elevator.

Bill Bailey, negro convict who was placed in cell with Newt Lee for twenty-four hours, now at liberty, and will probably be called upon at inquest today to testify.

Leo Frank will be placed upon the stand again today at 9:30 o’clock, when the coroner’s inquest is resumed.

Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey holds a long conference in cell with Newt Lee, but declines to tell what passed.

Detectives announce they are searching for a Greek, who is now believed to be in Alabama.

Chief Lanford declares that somebody is blocking Phagan investigation, silencing witnesses, and “planting” evidence.

The report of Dr. Claude A. Smith’s analysis of the bloodstains on the shirt found in the home of Newt Lee, who is held in connection with the Mary Phagan murder, has been submitted to the detective department. It reveals that the stains were caused by human blood, not more than a month old. Continue Reading →

The Case of Mary Phagan

The Case of Mary Phagan

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

Atlanta Constitution

Sunday, May 4th, 1913

At the top is a sketch made by Henderson from the last photograph taken of little Mary Phagan, the 14-year-old girl of tragedy. Below is a photograph of her mother and step-father, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Coleman, and her sister, Miss Ollie Phagan. The other picture was taken at the funeral.

Could you walk for hours in the heart of Atlanta without seeing a person you know?

What did Atlanta detectives do to keep murderer from “planting” evidence against suspects?

Are all the men who have been held as suspects marked men for the rest of their lives as the result of a caprice of circumstance?

This not the story of Mary Phagan. It is a story about the story of Mary Phagan.

All of the story of little Mary Phagan that can be learned has been told simply and without further sensation than the facts themselves afforded in the columns of The Atlanta Constitution from the time of this paper’s exclusive story of the grewsome discovery of the girl’s body last Sunday morning. It is, therefore, not for this story to shed light on the case, but merely to point out and discuss a few of the extraordinary phases of the most extraordinary case that has ever shocked a city. Continue Reading →