Witness, Called by Defense, Testifies Against Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
August 16th, 1913


Daughter of Policeman A. W. Jackson Testifies That Frank Opened the Door of Dressing Room and Looked in While Young Lady Was Dressing and That a Complaint Was Registered With a Forelady, Miss Cleland, About It


Solicitor Dorsey Attacks the Pinkertons, Charging That They Failed to Report Their “Finds” to Police—Many Young Women Employed at the Factory Testify to Frank’s Good Character—Court Adjourns Until Monday Morning

With Harllee Branch, a reporter for The Journal, on the witness stand where he had just described Conley’s pantomime re-enactment of his alleged part in the disposal of the body of Mary Phagan, witnessed by him as a newspaper man, the trial of Leo M. Frank was adjourned at 1:05 o’clock Saturday afternoon until Monday morning at 9 o’clock. Mr. Branch, summoned by the defense to testify in regard to an interview with Jim Conley at the tower, over the protest of Attorney Luther Z. Rosser, was permitted by the court to describe Conley’s pantomime re-enactment when requested to do so by the solicitor.

Just before court adjourned, Judge Roan addressed a few words to the jury, expressing regret that it was necessary to keep them away from their families another Sunday but stating that he sincerely hopes this would be the last Sunday that they would have to held together.

Unexpected testimony for the state was drawn from Miss Irene Jackson, daughter of Policeman A. W. Jackson, a former employe of the factory, who had been summoned as a defense witness. On cross-examination Solicitor Dorsey developed testimony to the effect that the girls in the factory were somewhat afraid of Frank, that on one occasion Frank had looked into the dressing room while Miss Emily Mayfield was partly dressed and that Miss Mayfield had complained to a forelady, Miss Cleland. She told of other occasions on which the superintendent is alleged to have pushed the door of the dressing room open while the girls were in there dressing. She admitted on cross-examination that the occurrence to which she testified occurred last summer, but that she had […]

when her father made her leave. She also admitted that there had been complaint of the girls flirting through the windows of the dressing room and that Frank had spoken to her forelady about it.

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Factory Girls Eager to Testify for Frank

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

Atlanta Journal
July 29th, 1913

Thirty Girls and Men Are Waiting to Appear as Character Witnesses.

Thirty girls and men who are employes of the National Pencil factory are waiting to testify to the good character of Leo M. Frank.

“Ever girl employed at the factory believes that Mr. Frank is innocent,” said Miss Rebekah Carson Monday afternoon. “He was as kind as an employer could be. There never was a time when he wasn’t considerate of every one employed at the factory. But at the same time he was a man with two ideas. And they were his wife and his business.

“If he hadn’t been so intent upon his work, he would have taken a half holiday on that Saturday and he wouldn’t now be accused as he is. It was his faithfulness to his work which caused him to accused of this murder.

“He’s not guilty. I’d still believe in his innocence even though he was convicted ten times over.

“Everyone employed at the factory believes as I do. Everyone knows that Mr. Frank was kind and gentle, and that he was honest and straight in everything that he did. You won’t find an employe of the factory who doesn’t really believe that and who isn’t ready to testify to it before a jury.”

“I Could Trust Mary Anywhere,” Her Weeping Mother Says


Mary Phagan, 14-year-old daughter of Mrs. J. W. Coleman, 146 Lindsay Street, whose slain body was found in the basement of the National Pencil Factory, 37-39 South Forsyth Street. The girl left her home Saturday morning to go to the factory, where she had been employed, to draw wages due her. She was seen on the streets at midnight Saturday with a strange man. She was not seen alive thereafter.

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


Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

“No Working Girl Is Safe,” She Sobs, Overcome by Her Sudden Sorrow.

Lying on the bed in her little home on Lindsay Street, prostrated with sorrow over the murder of her 14-year-old daughter, Mary Phagan, Mrs. W. J. Coleman sobbed out the pitiful story of how sweet and fresh her child had left home Saturday, and issued a warning to all Atlanta mothers to guard the welfare of their own daughters forced to work for a living.

“There are so many unscrupulous men in the world,” she cried. “It’s so dangerous for young girls working out. Their every step should be watched. Mothers should question them and ask them about their work and associates and surroundings. They should continually tell them what they ought to do, and how they ought to act under certain circumstances.”

Girl Liked Work.

She declared that she never would have permitted Mary to go out to work at the age she did—12 years—if it hadn’t been that there were five children in the family and it was absolutely necessary for all of them to earn something toward their support. That was before she married her present husband, Mr. Coleman.

“That was a year ago,” said Mrs. Coleman, “and then it wouldn’t have been necessary for Mary to work. But she had got into the habit of it and liked it, and I thought she could take care of herself as she always had.”

“Oh, the poor baby!” she sobbed. “I did talk to her! I did tell her what to do! I was always telling her! And she took my advice, I know, because she was always so sensible about everything. Besides, she never was a child to flirt or act silly. That’s why I know that when she went away with this man who killed her she was either overpowered or he threatened her.”

Mrs. Coleman said that girls ought to look out for themselves, too, and never permit any familiarity from men.

“When a girl is pretty,” she declared, “naturally she is attractive to men. Mary was pretty, too; and, besides that, she was always happy and in a good humor. She had never stayed out any night before in the two years she had been at work. I could trust her anywhere I knew because she was always so straightforward, and what I thought when she didn’t come home was that she had met up with her aunt from Marietta, who was in town, and had gone home with her and had no way to let me know.”

Too Young to Know.

She covered her face with her hands.

“And to think that at the time I was thinking that she was in the hands of a merciless brute! Oh, if only Mr. Coleman had happened along the street and found her! They tell me she was crying on a corner at 12 o’clock and this man she was with was cursing her when a policeman came up and asked her what was the matter. She just told him she had got dust in her eye. I guess the reason she didn’t say anything was because she was afraid the man would kill her, and, in fact, just didn’t know what to do. She was too young.”

But with everything, Mrs. Coleman said, it wasn’t possible for a mother to be with a child all the time or to stave off all harm that could come to her with advice.

“Even with the greatest care, it looks like things will happen anyway—we don’t know how or why,” she declared, weeping. “Oh, it’s terrible to think of a young girl coming to her death like that! And she had already started home when this man met her and made her come back to town with him!”

So Young and Bright.

“Often I watched Mary on the car when men would look at her,” Mrs. Coleman said, “but she never paid any attention to them. I think she must have made the man who killed her mad, and that’s why he did it.”

She said that when Mary left the house Saturday she had only intended to go to the pencil factory to draw the little salary that was coming to her—$1.60.

“If you could only have seen her,” she told the reporter. “She looked so beautiful and so young and so bright! She said she was only going to see the parade before she came home. And look now! I am so sorry for all other young girls working everywhere! To think that they’re all open to the same things, and there is nothing to protect them; it’s so hard on mothers; it’s so hard on everybody. But there doesn’t seem to be any help for it, and that’s the worst part of it all.”

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Atlanta Georgian, April 28th 1913, “‘I Could Trust Mary Anywhere,’ Her Weeping Mother Says,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)