Woman’s Handkerchief Brought to Officers

Woman's Handkerchief Brought to OfficersAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Constitution

Friday, May 9th, 1913

The detectives are investigating today a clew in the Phagan case brought to Atlanta Thursday by W. A. Smith, of Jonesboro, an employee of the Central of Georgia railroad, which was to the effect that he had just completed a thirty-hour chase, covering a trip of more than 100 miles, after two men who talked and acted suspiciously in his presence at the Jonesboro station Tuesday afternoon. The men, he said, escaped and the only tangible evidence which Smith showed the detectives was a lady’s blood-stained handkerchief with a hole—apparently chewed—in the middle of it. Mary Phagan’s mother was unable to identify it as the property of her daughter.

Smith, who came to Atlanta with Constable J. M. Archer, of Jonesboro, stated that on last Tuesday night he was standing in the Jonesboro station and overheard a part of a conversation between two strange men about the Phagan case, and his suspicion was aroused. He looked for an officer, but he could not find one, and as the men were boarding a southbound Central train he made up his mind to shadow them.

When the train pulled into Barnesville the men got off and Smith followed them. While in their wake here, Smith found the bloody handkerchief. The men hired a buggy and drove to Coggins, about 5 miles away, and Smith followed in another buggy.

From Coggins the men drove to Constitution, a station on the Southern about 10 miles south of Atlanta, but when Smith arrived they had disappeared. At Constitution Smith found the buggy the men had used, but all trace of the men had vanished.

Smith returned his buggy to Barnesville and proceeded to Jonesboro, where he related his experience to Constable Archer.

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Atlanta Constitution, May 9th 1913, “Woman’s Handkerchief Brought to Officers,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)