Career of A. S. Colyar Reads Like Some Story In the Arabian Nights

by Archivist on July 20, 2016

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

Atlanta Constitution

Saturday, May 24th, 1913

The criminal career of A. S. Colyar reads like a story from the Arabian Nights. Probably no man in Tennessee has imposed so successfully upon the public and has escaped so lightly.

The son of Colonel A. S. Colyar, in his day one of the most prominent citizens of Nashville and a grandson of ex-Governor Albert S. Marks with a family connection that includes many of the aristocrats of this section, he has been exceptionally fortunate in escaping the law although on various occasions he has done time.

He has probably been arrested more than a score of times and for years Alex Barth-[illegible], special agent for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis railway, did little else but follow his trail.

Two of Colyar’s exploits stand out above the others. The first of these was his impersonation of the son of the late John G. Carlisle. Having forged a check on his father, at that time the controlling spirit of the old Nashville American, Colyar went west and finally drifted into Mexico. A newspaper reporter boarded the train and inquired for the son of John G. Carlisle. As the latter was not aboard, Colyar’s quick mind saw an opportunity for a coup. He introduced himself as Carlisle, was received at Mexico City with great éclat and a big dinner was given in his honor which was attended by the president of Mexico and other notables. The following night Colyar gave a theater party, and later informed the American ambassador that he was embarrassed by the failure of funds to arrive, and secured from him the sum of $10,000. He went out to take a smoke and never came back. Later he returned $7,500 of the money, mailing it from a point in Florida.

On his return here he stopped over at McMinnville, Tenn. and stole a mule which he rode into Nashville selling the animal on the Haymarket.

Through his father’s influence he was sent to the Middle Tennessee Insane asylum. He fined the asylum and escaped a number of persons being burned to death. Colyar rode a horse to death in a mud race to Nashville to warn the fire department.

Colyar’s other notable adventure was in regard to the famous Mullinax case, in New York. A pickpocket named Raymond had been arrested here and sent to the penitentiary, escaping a few hours later. Colyar got into communication with the elder Mullinax who was very wealthy and convinced him that Raymond and the chief witness for the prosecution were the same. He secured money from Mullinax and endeavored to have the witness returned to the penitentiary here having secured requisition papers from Governor McMillan. The fraud leaked out here and a wire caused the arrest of Colyar in New York. He was sentenced to Sing Sing.

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Atlanta Constitution, May 24th 1913, “Career of A. S. Colyar Reads Like Some Story in the Arabian Nights,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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