You Are There: Atlanta Georgian, August 9th, 1913

State Attacks Frank Report

Atlanta Georgian
August 9th, 1913

Intricacy of Figures Produced by Schiff Under Fire


The second week of the Frank trial ended at 12:30 Saturday with a bitter battle in progress over the testimony of Herbert G. Schiff, assistant superintendent of the National Pencil Factory.

Schiff was called soon after court opened in the forenoon and was on the stand when the adjournment was taken until Monday.

Schiff, besides denying that Frank ever had women in his office, describes in elaborate detail the duties of superintendent, particularly his work on the afternoon the little Phagan girl came to her death. It was the purpose of the defense to show that it would have been most improbable that Frank, after committing a murder, calmly would have sat down with the burden of guilt resting on his conscience and proceeded with his usual preciseness in the intricate and involved computations required in making out the financial sheet.

Dorsey was given the witness toward the close of the session and started at once to attack Schiff’s estimates of time that it would have required for the various details of the work. Schiff made a good witness and the solicitor was able to make little headway in his cross-questioning.

Says Frank Explained Nervousness.

Schiff admitted to Dorsey, however, that Frank was really anxious to get the Pinkertons on the job and that Frank called from his home three times a intervals of little more than half an hour, instructing Schiff to take the matter up with Sig Montag, one of the officers of the pencil factory company. He said Frank declared it to be the factory’s duty to its employees.

Schiff also admitted that Frank several times explained his nervousness of Sunday, the day when the body was found, by the abrupt manner in which he had been taken from his house without any breakfast or coffee and by the visit to the morgue where the light suddenly was turned upon the body of the girl victim as she lay before his eyes.

A search Saturday for C. B. Dalton, the man who told of visiting the factory with Miss Daisy Hopkins, developed that he had disappeared from the courthouse. He was called for by the defense when court opened, but did not answer. One of the girls, mentioned in his story declares in a letter to The Georgian, that Dalton lied in his statement.

The cross-examination of Schiff will be resumed when court opens Monday morning.

Financial Sheets Put In Evidence.

Reuben Arnold had in court the financial sheet over which there has been much discussion since the murder mystery developed; Schiff identified the series of figures and notations as in Frank’s handwriting. Arnold had also every financial sheet for the year previous to the crime, and Schiff identified them all as Frank’s work. He said that the least complicated of the financial sheets never took less than 2 1-2 or three hours to compile.

The financial sheet identified as the one Frank prepared the afternoon of April 26, the day of the murder, was displayed as an evidence that the writing of Frank was not tremulous, irregular or in any way different from his handwriting in the 51 other financial sheets on file.

Schiff went into the highly complex methods in which the financial sheet is made up, in order to show for the defense the clarity of mind that was required in order to complete the sheet without mistake or confusion.

He narrated that costs and profits were estimated each week on thousands of pencils of different classifications and grades, on hundreds of gross of rubber plugs, on the various classes of leads, boxes, “skeletons” on which the pencils were arranged, and other items of material that entered into the manufacture of the pencils. Schiff also read a number of orders to illustrate the amount of other work that ordinarily is taken care of on Saturdays.

An attack was made upon the testimony of young George Epps when court opened Saturday morning. Epps was called to the stand and made to tell of the visit of a Georgian reporter at his home Sunday evening, April 27. He was asked why he had not told at that time his story of riding to town with Mary Phagan on the day she was killed. Epps declared that he did not talk to the reporter.

The reporter, John Minar, was called immediately after and testified that he talked at length with both the Epps boy and his sister in an effort to determine who last had seen the murdered girl and when. Teh reporter declared that the sister replied that she had seen Mary Phagan Thursday before, but that young Epps, although present, said nothing, except that he had seen the girl occasionally. Arnold questioned the boy.

Q. Do you recollect the Sunday the body was found?—A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember a gentleman, a Mr. Minar, coming to your house and talking to you and your sister?—A. Yes.

Q. Didn’t he ask you when was the last time either of you had seen Mary […]


Herbert Schiff, Office Assistant, Tells of Intricacies of Work on Tragic Day


[…] Phagan?—A. Yes, he asked my sister; he didn’t ask me.

Q. Weren’t you there?—A. No, I wasn’t there. I was in the house.

Q. Weren’t you standing by your sister and she said the last time Mary Phagan was seen by her was Thursday before the murder and you stood there and said nothing?—A. No, I didn’t hear that. I was in the house, but I didn’t hear all he said to her.

“Come down,” said Arnold.

Lad Didn’t Flee Court.

Mr. Dorsey interrupted.

Q. George, has there been any trouble to get you to come to court?—A. No, sir; I was playing ball when they sent for me yesterday and didn’t get the message.

Mr. Arnold objected to the question and reply and Mr. Dorsey said:

“Your honor, Mr. Arnold made the impression on this court yesterday that this boy was fleeing from the court. The deputy said he couldn’t find him. We just want to show that he was always willing to come.”

Judge Roan overruled the objection.

Q. George, you were always willing to come, weren’t you?—A. Yes, sir. I got tired hanging around the court, and asked you if I could go. You told me you would send for me when you needed me. I came when I got your message.

Reporter Placed on Stand.

John Minar, a newspaper reporter, was the next witness.

Q. Were you a reporter for The Georgian in April?—A. I was.

Q. After this girl’s body was found did you go out to this boy Epps’ home?—A. I did.

Q. What day and time?—A. Sunday evening, April 27, at 8 o’clock.

Q. Did you ask this boy and his sister when they last saw Mary Phagan?—A. Yes.

Q. Were they together?—A. Yes.

Q. Is there any doubt they both heard you?—A. No.

Q. What did they say in reply to your question?—A. The girl said she had seen her Thursday.

Q. Did the boy say anything?—A. He said he rode to the city with her in the mornings occasionally.

Q. Did he say anything about riding with her that Saturday?—A. No.

Hooper took the witness on cross-examination, but brought out nothing.

Herbert Schiff, who worked with Frank as office man and salesman, was the next on the stand.

Mr. Arnold questioned Schiff.

Q. You are assistant superintendent of the factory, I believe?—A. I have worked in several capacities.

Schiff Tells of Duties.

Q. What were your duties at the time of the murder?—A. I was assistant to Mr. Frank.

Q. What were your exact duties?—A. The duties were divided equally between Frank and myself.

Q. Did you have anything to do with the financial statement?—A. Yes. I helped collect the data.

Q. Did you or Mr. Frank have anything to do with the cash?—A. Only the petty cash.

Q. Who did the real handling of the finances?—A. The general manager, Mr. Sig Montag.

Q. Who drew the checks?—A. Mr. Montag.

Q. Did either you or Mr. Frank ever draw any checks?—A. No, we didn’t have any authority to.

Q. What time did you and Mr. Frank draw your money?—A. We drew our checks the last of the month. We never consulted each other about the exact time.

Q. Do you know how much Mr. Frank made?—A. One hundred and fifty dollars a month.

Q. How much did you get?—A. Eighty dollars.

Q. You said the general manage was Mr. Montag. Did he stay at the factory?—A. No.

Q. Was any of the financing for the factory done at the factory or at Montag’s?—A. No.

Q. All you did was to look after manufacturing?—A. Yes.

Q. That financial sheet, what was it for?—A. To show whether the week was a profit or a loss.

Q. Why did you make it up on Saturday?—A. Because our report never came in until Friday and the pay roll had to be figured in it.

Q. How long have you been making those sheets?—A. Since Frank went to the factory.

Q. Beginning with June, 1912, and running to January, how much time did you miss?—A. None.

Q. When did you take your vacation?—A. That’s right, I took a vacation from the last week in July to the first week in August.

Q. What time do you usually go to dinner?—A. At about 12:30 and get back at about 2.

Q. What time did Frank go?—A. A little after 1 and got back before 3.

Q. Did you do any work on the financial sheet before Frank got back?—A. Yes. I got up my slat racket.

Q. Did Darley do any work on it?—A. Yes, he helped.

Q. Did you all work together?—A. Yes.

Q. Did the stenographer work Saturday afternoon?—A. Very seldom.

Q. You were frequently interrupted by salesmen?—A. Yes.

Q. You would stay there and leave together?—A. Very often.

Q. Did you ever have a negro night watchman there before Newt Lee?—A. No.

Denies Seeing Women.

Q. When did Newt Lee come there?—A. About the first of April.

Q. What was the night watchman before him?—A. A white man named Kendrick.

Q. Who was the watchman before him?—A. His father.

Q. Did you ever seen any women there Saturday afternoons?—A. Never.

Q. Did Mrs. Frank ever come down there on Saturday afternoons?—A. She would come down some time and go home with Mr. Frank.

Q. Is there a bed, cot or anything of the sort in the factory?—A. No, sir; they did call my attention to a dirty box in the basement that was used by the Clark Woodenware Company.

Q. Were you at the factory every Saturday from Jun 1, 1912, to January 1, 1913?—A. Yes.

Q. I believe you said you went on the the road the first Saturday in January?—A. Yes.

Q. What time did you leave?—A. About 5:10 in the afternoon.

Q. Did you go by the factory that day?—A. Yes, I went by and talked with the fellows until about half an hour before train time. Mr. Frank and several went to the train with me.

Q. Have you ever seen this man Dalton?—A. Yes, I saw him for the first time upstairs.

Q. Did you see him around the factory?—A. I did not.

Q. Do you remember Daisy Hopkins?—A. Yes, I would know her if I should see her.

Q. When was she there?—A. The witness referred to his books and replied: “This shows her first as being there on May 21 and last on June 6, 1912.”

Remembers Thanksgiving Day.

Q. Did you ever see her around there on Saturday afternoons?—A. I never did.

Q. Do you remember Thanksgiving, 1912?—A. I do.

Q. What sort of a day was it?—A. Cold and rainy. It had snowed.

Q. Were you at the factory that day?—A. I was.

Q. Who else was there?—A. Mr. Frank and myself, an office boy and Jim Conley came there under instructions. I told Jim Conley to come and stack up some boxes on the fourth floor.

Q. Do you remember what time he left?—A. Yes, about 10 o’clock.

Q. What time did you and Mr. Frank leave?—A. Shortly after 12 o’clock.

Q. Where did you go?—A. Home. Mr. Frank’s Washington street car came before my Whitehall street car, and he got on it.

Q. Do you know of anything he had to do that night?—A. Yes. He was president of B’nai Brith and it was giving an affair that night. He had some packages in his hands, some crackers and things.

Q. What is the B’nai Brith?—A. It is a charitable organization.

A. What were they going to give that night?—A. An affair at the Orphan’s Home.

Q. You went to the car with him?—A. Yes.

Q. At what time?—A. About 12:30.

Q. Who paid off on April 25?—A. I did.

Q. Do you recall a girl, Helen Ferguson, asking for Mary Phagan’s pay?—A. No.

Q. Did she ask for her own pay?—A. Yes.

Q. What is the rule as to one employee collecting another employee’s pay?—A. They have to bring a note.

Q. Did anyone go to Mr. Frank for pay on Friday?—A. No.

Q. Was there any necessity for anyone going to Frank for their money?—A. No.

Q. Did you or did you not see anyone go to Mr. Frank?

Dorsey objected. “Your honor, I object to Mr. Arnold leading this witness,” he said. “He is willing enough.”

“I move that Mr. Dorsey’s statement be ruled from the record,” said Mr. Arnold.

Dorsey’s objection was sustained.

Q. Did you put posters in the factory when there was a holiday?—A. Yes, twelve of them, notifying the employees they could get their pay the day before.

Q. What time did Frank go home Friday?—A. Six o’clock.

Q. Did you get up any of the financial sheet Friday, as usual?—A. No. It was an unusual week. We had to work very hard to get up the pay roll Friday, and I could not touch it.

Q. Did that put other and additional work on Frank?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you go to the factory Saturday?—A. No.

Q. Why?—A. I overslept myself.

Q. Did anyone call you up?—A. Yes; Mr. Frank called up twice to know where the data for the financial sheet was.

Q. Did you answer the phone?—A. No; the maid did. I only know what she told me.

Q. Then Mr. Frank had to take your data and make up the financial sheet?—A. Yes.

Q. Did that require more than the ordinary amount of work on his part?—A. Yes.

Questions Schiff About Chute.

Mr. Arnold asked Solicitor Dorsey’s permission to use the State’s diagram of the National Pencil Factory prepared by Bert Green.

“Help yourself,” said Dorsey. The diagram, however, did not suit Mr. Arnold, so he had his own model brought in.

Q. Are you familiar with this door that leads into the Clark woodenware department?—A. It was two or three days before I noticed it. It was cracked open.

Q. Is there a hole in the rear of the building leading into the basement?—A. Yes; there is a hold boxed up, but open. It was used to carry waste shavings into the basement.

Q. Was it large enough to put the body of a girl the size of Mary Phagan through?—A. Yes.

Q. Was there a trapdoor back there?—A. Yes.

Q. Was it nailed?—A. I don’t think so.

Q. The door to the department was usually locked?—A. It was nailed up.

Q. When did Mr. Frank first discover that you had not made up your part of the sheet?—A. Saturday when he called me up, I guess.

Q. How long did it usually take you and Mr. Frank to make up that financial sheet?—A. About three hours.

Q. This sheet (handing the witness the sheet Frank made up Saturday afternoon of the murder) was not made up Friday, was it?—A. No, sir.

Q. When did you first see it?—A. The next week, when I got it from the general manager’s office.

Says Sheet Is Correct.

Q. Have you looked over it and seen that it was correct?—A. Yes.

Schiff enumerated the various items on the sheet showing the amount of work required to make it up. Frank had to add, divide and multiply various items, the witness said, to arrive at the cost of production during that week.

Q. How many pencils do you produce a week?—A. About 3,500 gross.

Q. How many are in a gross?—A. One hundred and forty-four.

Q. Have you any other places?—A. Slat mill, in Oakland City, and a lead plant on Bell street.

Q. Did he have to do any bookkeeping for these places?—A. Yes.

Q. I will get you to state what that second sheet is?—A. Another financial sheet.

Q. The financial sheet is reduced to one page?—A. Yes.

Q. Is this Frank’s handwriting on the sheet of the week of April 26?—A. Yes.

Q. You are familiar with the handwriting?—A. I am.

Q. Is it his usual handwriting?—A. It is.

Q. Was that sheet of the week before made out by Frank?—A. Yes.

Q. How do the handwritings compare?—A. They are the same.

Q. Neither you nor Frank had done any work on that sheet of the 26th—on Friday—had you?—A. We had not.

Q. How long would it have taken him or any other man to have made it out?—A. About three hours.

Dorsey Again Objects.

Q. How does his handwriting here of April 26 compare with his writing of the week before?—A. Almost identical.

Q. Does this one of April 26 show any nervousness?—A. None at all.

Dorsey interrupted: “The jury should decide that, your honor,” he said.

His objection was sustained.

Q. Are these the financial sheets for the whole year?—A. Yes.

Q. What is the shortest time you ever saw one of these compiled?—A. It couldn’t be done in less than two and one-half hours.

Q. Look at these—June 6, 13, 20, 27. Are they in Frank’s handwriting?—A. Yes.

Q. These of July 4, 11, 18, 25?—A. Yes.

Q. August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, September 5, 12, are they Frank’s handwriting?—A. Yes.

Q. These of September 19, 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, November 7, 14, 21, 28, December 5, 12, 19, 25 and January 2?—A. Yes.

Q. You left the following Saturday to go on the road, didn’t you?—A. Yes.

Q. From May, 1912, to January 2, 1913, did Frank miss making the report on Saturdays?—A. No.

Q. Are these in Frank’s handwriting, January 9, 16, 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20 and 27?—A. Yes.

Q. How about these of April 3 and 10?—A. Yes.

Q. You have in your hand the last two weeks?—A. Yes.

Q. This is the one of April 17?—A. Yes.

Q. And this one of April 26, made out on the day the girl was murdered?—A. Yes.

Q. He has not missed a day?—A. No.

Cash Book Produced.

Attorney Arnold introduced the petty cash book to show the small sums drawn out each week.

Q. How much did you pay out that week?—A. $39.61.

Q. How much did that leave?—A. $30.64.

Q. Not Frank’s money?—A. It certainly was not.

The witness was next shown the requisition and the house order books, which he identified as having been used by Frank in compiling the financial sheet. He showed where Frank had made interest on the order book on April 26.

Q. Are these orders correct?—A. Yes.

Q. Look at these letters and see?—A. There is a better proof than that. If they were not correct, we would have heard from them.

Q. Did Mr. Dorsey call for these books?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you hold back or conceal anything?—A. No; we gave them everything they asked for.

Q. After Frank entered the orders on this book, what did he do with them?—A. He put them on these orders here.

Q. Take each one of those eleven orders and see if they were checked in his handwriting.—A. They were.

Frank of Nervous Temperament.

The witness went carefully over each order.

Q. I have asked you about a mass of business relative to some orders. They came on Saturday, didn’t they?—A. They did.

Dorsey: “I object. He doesn’t know to his personal knowledge.”

Schiff: “They were not there Friday night, and they were there Monday.”

The objection was overruled.

Q. Was not this work entirely separate from the financial sheet?—A. It was.

Q. Did you know little Mary Phagan?—A. Her name was familiar on the pay roll, but I did not know who she was until after her death.

Q. When did you see Frank after Sunday?—A. I saw him Sunday at Bloomfield’s.

Q. Was Mr. Frank of a nervous temperament?—A. He was.

Q. Did anything unusual upset him?—A. Yes. He would go all to pieces and run up and down the office.

Q. When anyone would get cut or hurt, you or Mr. Darley would have to look after him, would you not?—A. We would.

Hooper objected to Arnold leading the witness. Arnold admitted that he was leading the witness.

Q. Do you know Jim Conley?—A. Yes.

Q. What sort of a negro is he?—A. There isn’t much to him.

Hooper interupted: “I object to the form of both of these questions,” he said. “I move that they be stricken from the records.”

Arnold again admitted that he was leading the witness.

Q. What work did he do?—A. Truck and ran the elevator.

Q. Do you know his character and was it good or bad?—A. Very bad.

Q. Would you believe him under oath?—A. I would not.

As to Monteen Stover.

Arnold showed the witness the murder notes.

Q. Where do you find this paper in the factory?—A. Anywhere from the roof to the basement.

Q. Are they swept into the basement?—A. Yes.

Q. Why are they thrown around?—A. We use them for note paper in the different departments because this paper is much cheaper than any other we have.

Q. Do you recall hearing a conversation between Mr. Frank and Mr. Ursenbach Friday about going to the ball game Saturday?—A. Yes, but not exactly what was said. I heard Mr. Frank say something about “I will go if I can, Charley.”

Q. Can you sit in Mr. Frank’s office at his desk and see the clocks?—A. Only half of one of them.

Q. If that safe door is open, could you see out?—A. No.

Q. Could Monteen Stover have seen over it?—A. It would have been impossible.

Q. How much is that safe kept open?—A. All the time when anyone is working in the office.

Q. Did you return to the factory Monday?—A. Yes.

Q. Who opened the safe?—A. I don’t know.

Q. Did you look into the safe that day?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you see anything of a silver mesh bag in that safe?—A. No.

Q. Did you ever see a purse of any kind in the safe?—A. Yes.

Q. When was it?—A. It was a little leather purse Joe Stelka found in the front of the factory a year ago. It was kept in the safe so that if anybody ever called for it it would be there.

Says Conley Was Scared.

Q. How much money did it have in it?—A. Sixt-five cents.

Q. Did you see Jim Conley at the factory Monday?—A. Yes.

Q. Tuesday?—A. Yes.

Q. Did you see Mr. Frank when he came back Monday?—A. Yes.

Q. Tuesday?—A. Yes.

Q. Do you recollect him going up to the fourth floor? Were you with him constantly that morning?—A. Yes.

Q. Did he speak to Jim Conley that morning?—A. No.

Q. Did you see Jim Conley speak to him?—A. No.

Q. What did Conley say to you that morning?—A. I saw him near the shipping room. I asked him what he was doing there. He said he was scared to go out—that he would give a million dollars to be a white man. I answered that that would not do any good as they had taken Mr. Frank. I told him to go on down.

Q. Everybody was excited down there, were they not?—A. Yes, the girls were crying. We had to dismiss all the employees for the day.

Q. Were you aware of the fact that this negro Jim Conley sometimes failed to punch the clock?—A. I had gotten after him several times.

Q. You never excused him?—A. No, I docked him.

Q. Did you ever see blood spots on the floor?—A. Yes.

Q. How did blood spots get on the floor?—A. Well, when anyone cut their finger, or anything of that kind, they would come to the office on the second floor to get it fixed.

Q. Would they pass near the ladies’ toilet on the second floor on the way to the office?—A. They would in coming from the rear of the second floor.

Q. Have you seen that hair since?—A. No.

Q. Was there any blood under that lathe?—A. No.

Q. Was there any water where this negro said he found the body?—A. No.

Q. Has that place been washed?—A. No.

Q. Dorsey took the witness on cross-examination.

Q. Did you talk to Gheesling at the undertaker’s Sunday?—A. No.

Q. Do you recall talking to Sam Hewlett, a detective?—A. Only when we employed him as night watchman.

Q. When did you tell the detectives about Mrs. White seeing a negro?

Arnold interrupted, “How can that have anything to do with this case?” he asked.

His objection was sustained.

Employment of Pinkertons.

Q. How many times did Frank phone you Monday?—A. Two or three.

Q. Where was he then?—A. At home.

Q. The factory was full of detectives?—A. Yes.

Q. What time did he phone you about the Pinkertons?—A. About noon.

Q. What did he say?—A. He asked me to take up with Mr. Montag the employment of a private detective and suggested the Pinkertons. He said he thought it was only fair to the employees.

Q. What time did he call you again?—A. About 1.

Q. What did he want?—A. To know if I had located Mr. Montag.

Q. What did you tell him?—A. I told him I had not been able to get him yet.

Q. In your conversation with Mr. Frank did he say anything about his nervousness?—A. Yes, he spoke of it.

Q. What did he say?—A. I don’t remember. I think he mentioned how terrible the girl looked. Again about them flashing a light on the body in the dark room.

Complained of Being Upset.

Q. He complained about being terribly upset about being rushed from home, didn’t he?—A. He said something about that.

Q. What did he tell you the police told him over the telephone?—A. He said they told him a catastrophe or tragedy—I don’t remember the term—had happened.

Q. He told you he asked them if there had been a fire?—A. Yes.

Q. What did he say about his breakfast?—A. He said one reason he was nervous was that he had not had any breakfast and wanted a cup of coffee.

Q. How long would it take a man to enter those eleven orders on a book?—A. An hour and a half.

Q. You have gone up some since you swore before the Coroner?—A. I did not swear before the Coroner. I said I thought.

Q. Didn’t you swear that it would take about 30 minutes?

Arnold objected. “He asked it like he means all that work,” he said.

Dorsey: “He knows what I am asking.” Laughter followed Dorsey’s remarks and the deputies were forced to rap repeatedly for order.

Arnold: “I am going to move that this courtroom be cleared, if there is any more of this disturbance. If we have got to take all of this crowd in, we might as well try the case out in the open.”

Judge Threatens Disturbers.

Judge Roan: “Mr. Sheriff, find out who is creating this disturbance and bring them to me. I will see if I can’t stop it.”

Dorsey continued his questioning.

Q. You know that Miss Hall made the acknowledgment, don’t you?—A. Sometimes.

Q. That would make some little difference wouldn’t it?—A. Yes, five or ten minutes.

Q. Will you explain to this jury, if you can, how it took 30 minutes to enter the orders and only five minutes to write the acknowledgment?—A. I said it would take an hour and a half to do all the work on that paper.

Q. It took that long to fill out an order, enter the number, etc.

Arnold interrupted: “He has asked the witness that question and got his answer,” he said.

The objection was overruled.

Q. I want you to detail the work that it work that it took an hour and a half to do. (Schiff took the order book, the transcriptions to the order blanks, the check, and the requisition from the storeroom.) It took 30 minutes to put this much on the book?—A. I don’t think so.

Quizzed on Office Details.

Q. Look at this acknowledgment. What are these initials? ‘H. H.’?—A. Hattie Hall.

Q. Then she did this?—A. Yes.

Dorsey took an order bearing the initials “H. H.” and bearing date of April 26.

Q. Did Miss Hall acknowledge this on April 26?—No, I wouldn’t think so. It was probably acknowledged Monday or it might have been the day before April 26.

Q. Well, was it the custom to write these before or after they were entered in the book?—A. Either way.

Q. Then you had no regular system?—A. Yes, but one does not hinge on the other. It did not make any big difference how this was done. It had to be done in the regular course of business.

At this point court adjourned until 9 o’clock Monday morning.