The Journal’s Big Story of Dictograph and Alleged Bribe Has Stirred the Whole City

G. C. Febuary, Secretary to Chief of Detectives N. A. Lanford.

G. C. Febuary, Secretary to Chief of Detectives N. A. Lanford.

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

Atlanta Journal

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

Chief Lanford Stated Saturday That Mayor Woodward, C. C. Jones and Others Were Also Dictographed on the Same Day That Col. Felder Was—The Complete Dictograph Record of These Conversations Appears in Today’s Journal


The exclusive story in The Journal’s home edition Friday afternoon, describing how the city detectives and their representatives dictographed Colonel Thomas B. Felder in an alleged offer of $1,000 for the theft of certain papers in the Phagan case from the safe of Detective Chief Newport A. Lanford, has created a sensation in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama where Colonel Felder is well known.

Atlantians were “put on edge” by this story. Everywhere one turned Friday afternoon and evening he saw persons reading and commenting upon the story in The Journal.

Chief Lanford Saturday morning made it known that Mayor Woodward, Charlie C. Jones, E. O. Miles and others were also dictographed. The record of their conversations are given elsewhere in today’s paper.

Chief Lanford did not discuss the substance of the mayor’s dictographed conversation. He gave it as his opinion that the publication involving Colonel Felder would in no wise hamper or affect the work of the Burns detective in their investigation of the Phagan murder mystery. The chief expressed his confidence in the integrity of the Burns men.

Late Friday evening Colonel Felder gave out an additional statement in that furnished The Journal during the afternoon. In this last statement he charged that the city detectives were destroying evidence against Leo M. Frank in the Phagan case; that the police department is vile and corrupt; that the heads of the police and detective departments are both guilty of gross immorality; that the police department is building up a graft protection system similar to that which has existed in New York.

Colonel Felder in this last statement brands A. S. Colyar, one of the several men who made affidavits charging him with attempted bribery as being a liar, crook, scoundrel, blackmailer and forger.

A. S. Colyar Saturday morning gave out a statement replying to Colonel Felder’s attack on him, in which he asserts that “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

“I have done my work,” declared Chief Lanford Saturday morning. “It is now up to the grand jury to investigate this attempt to bribe Mr. Febuary, who is a sworn officer of the city of Atlanta and a sworn notary public of the state of Georgia.” The facts in this case were made an open book by the story carried in Friday afternoon’s Journal.

Solicitor General Hugh M. Dorsey gave out a long statement declaring there was no use for him to deny such remarks as are attributed to Colonel Felder and declaring that Colonel Felder never expressed to him any intention of taking steps to show graft or fraud on the part of the city police or detectives.


To The Atlanta Journal:

“A drowning man will grasp at the last straw,” Thomas B. Felder, who in his visions imagines that he controls the governor of the state, the governor-elect, the judge of the criminal court, the solicitor general and the mayor of the city of Atlanta, prints in the morning Constitution the first chapter of his obituary address to his farewell tour as a lawyer, politician and grafter.

The Colonel says he knew that I was a crook, a blackmailer and irresponsible, and yet the gentleman supposed to be as shrewd as the astute lawyer is given credit for, is willing to enter into a deal with me, crooked as he knew me to be, to pay one thousand dollars for the papers in the Phagan case.

As to charges in the front page of the Constitution (better known as the Morning Eye-opener) I will reply to those with the records of the institutions referred to as soon as they can be obtained. As to anything that Colonel Felder, the attorney of the whisky ring and his morning paper may say in regard to me, I wish to simply say that I am not perfect and have never claimed to be. I have made many mistakes in life “but people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” A blind man can see tactics that Colonel Felder and his friends are attempting to resort to. Evidently they think it is a question of veracity between G. C. Febuary, Colonel Felder and myself, but they don’t know that I can be entirely eliminated from the matter and then produce five witnesses of unimpeachable character who will swear before any court in Georgia that Thomas B. Felder, lawyer, gentleman and scholar, offered G. C. Febuary, secretary to the chief of detectives of the city of Atlanta, one thousand dollars to steal the papers in the Phagan case.

May 24, 1913. A. S. COLYAR.

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Atlanta Journal, May 24th 1913, “The Journal’s Big Story of Dictograph and Alleged Bribe Has Stirred the Whole City,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)