“Smile,” Says Gheesling, “When Facing Bear-Cat Like Luther Rosser”

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

Atlanta Journal
August 2nd, 1913

“Keep smiling on the witness stand.”

That is the motto of Will Gheesling, of the P. J. Bloomfield undertaking establishment, who testified at the Frank trial Thursday.

“When you get a bear cat like Luther Rosser after you,” he declares, “the only thing you can do is to laugh at him.”

Gheesling was one of the few witnesses who came through the ordeal of Attorney Rosser’s cross-examination with flying colors.

His face wreathed in beatific grins, and he calmly fanned himself with a tremendous palm leaf fan from the moment he took the stand until he left it several hours later. Not once did Attorney Rosser’s cross-fire feaze him, not once did the battery of questions from the guns of the defense ruffle his demeanor.

While other witnesses left the stand with dripping brows and a vast respect for Mr. Rosser’s quizzing powers. Gheesling only grinned.

“It was the fan did it, you see,” he stated. “It gave me good luck. Keep fanning and keep smiling. How could I get rattled with this palm leaf?”

William Gheesling, Embalmer, Tells of Wounds on Girl’s Body

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 1st, 1913

William Gheesling, the undertaker who embalmed Mary Phagan’s body, was next called in.

“What is your business?” queried Solicitor Dorsey.

“I am an embalmer.”

“How long have you been in that advice?”

“Fifteen years, or more.”

“Did you see the body of Mary Phagan?”

“Yes, I first saw it at 15 minutes to 4 on the morning of April 27.”

“Where was it?”

“In the basement of the National Pencil factory.”

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Watchman Swears Elevator Was Open; Changes Evidence

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

Atlanta Journal
August 1st, 1913

E. F. Holloway Angers Dorsey When He Testifies Contrary to Affidavit—Had Told Dorsey Elevator Switch Was Locked

Court adjourned at 4:58 o’clock until 9 o’clock Friday morning after a day of surprises in the trial of Leo M. Frank, charged with the murder of Mary Phagan, in the National Pencil factory building.

That the switch board which controls the motor used to operate the elevator in the National Pencil factory, where Mary Phagan was murdered was left unlocked Saturday morning when he left the building at 11:45 o’clock, and that anybody could have entered and run the elevator up and down the shaft during the balance of the day, was the statement of E. F. Holloway, one of the factory’s watchmen at the trial of Leo M. Frank late Thursday afternoon.

Although Holloway made an affidavit for Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey, which he identified in the court room, swearing to the fact that he left the switch box locked on that Saturday, he positively declared on Thursday that he left it unlocked, and when confronted with his own signature answered, “I forgot.”

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William Gheesling First Witness Today

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

Atlanta Constitution
July 31st, 1913

Harry Scott, Pinkerton Detective Will Also Be Called to Stand During Day

William Gheesling, the P. J. Bloomfield undertaking attachee who made the first examination and emblamed [sic] the body of Mary Phagan will probably be the first witness called to the stand in the Frank trial this morning.

He will be followed by Harry Scott, the Pinkerton detectives who worked with Detective John Black in the murder investigation and who engineered the third degree which resulted in Jim Conley’s confession.

Dr. Hurt, county physician who made the medical examination upon the corpse and who it is rumored testified before the grand jury to the effect that no assault had been made upon the girl will likely be called this afternoon.

Evidently, a big fight will be waged upon Dr. Hurt’s testimony as the defense, it is stated, has already made arrangements for an expert stenographer to take notes of his story.