Sensational Affidavit Made by Minola M’Knight, Negro Cook at Home of L. M. Frank

by Archivist on October 24, 2016

sensational-affidavit

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

Atlanta Journal

Wednesday, June 4th, 1913

In This Affidavit Minola Tells of Conversation That Occurred Between Mrs. Frank and Mrs. Selig, In Which Mrs. Frank Is Alleged to Have Said Frank Was Drinking on Night of Tragedy, and That He Wanted a Pistol to Kill Himself

MRS. FRANK SAID, SO NEGRO COOK SWEARS, THAT FRANK MADE HER SLEEP ON THE FLOOR THAT NIGHT

Negro Says Further That Frank Came Home at 1:30 o’Clock on Fatal Saturday, but Remained Only About Ten Minutes, and That He Left Without Eating His Dinner—Affidavit Is Vague and Confused—It Is Given Here In Full

An affidavit, sworn to by Minola McKnight, the negro servant at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, where Leo M. Frank and his wife live, was made public by Chief of Detectives N. A. Lanford Wednesday afternoon. In the affidavit Minola McKnight tells of alleged conversations at the Selig home in which Mrs. Frank is quoted as having said that Frank was drunk on Saturday night, April 26, and that he made her sleep on a rug. The negro quotes Mrs. Frank further as saying that Mr. Frank couldn’t understand how he could be guilty of murder, and that Frank had begged her for a pistol that he might shoot himself.

The negro says in her affidavit that she has been kindly treated and gives this as the reason for not having made her statement sooner. She swears that the affidavit is made of her own free will.

The affidavit is nearly all hearsay evidence, and therefore inadmissible in court.

The affidavit follows in full:

TEXT OF AFFIDAVIT.

STATE OF GEORGIA, County of Fulton:

Personally appeared before me, a notary public in and for the above state and county, Minola McKnight, who lives in the rear of 351 Pulliam street, Atlanta, Ga., who, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

Saturday morning, April 26, 1913, Frank left home about 8 o’clock, and Albert, my husband, was there Saturday too; Albert got there I guess about a quarter after 1 and was there when Mr. Frank come for dinner, which was about half past one, but Mr. Frank did not eat any dinner and he left in about ten minutes after he got there.

Mr. Frank come back to the house at 7 o’clock that night, and Albert was there when he got there. Albert had gone home that evening but he come back, but I don’t know what time he got there, but he come some time before Mr. Frank did, and Mr. Frank eat supper that night about 7 o’clock, and when I left about 8 o’ clock I left Mr. Frank there.

Sunday morning I go there about 8 o’clock, and there was an automobile standing in front of the house, but I didn’t pay any attention to it, but I saw a man in the automobile get a bucket of water and pour into it. Miss Lucille (Mr. Frank’s wife), was down stairs, and Mr. and Mrs. Selig were up stairs. Albert was there Sunday morning, but I don’t remember what time he got there. When I called them down to breakfast about half past eight I found that Mr. Frank was gone. Mr. and Mrs. Selig eat breakfast and Miss Lucille didn’t eat until Mr. Frank come back and they eat breakfast together. I didn’t hear them say anything at the breakfast table, but after dinner I understood them to say that a girl and Mr. Frank were caught at the office Saturday.

I don’t know who said it, but Miss Lucille and Mr. and Mrs. Selig and Mr. Frank were standing there talking after dinner. I didn’t know the girl was killed until Monday evening. I understood them to say it was a Jew girl, and I asked Miss Luc[i]lle, and she said it was a Gentile.

On Tuesday, Mr. Frank says to me, “It is mighty bad, Minola, I might have to go to jail about this girl, and I don’t know anything about it.”

I heard Mrs. Rauzin, Mrs. Frank’s sister, tell Miss Lucille that it was mighty bad, and Miss Lucille said, “Yes, it is. I am going to get after her about it.” I don’t know what they were talking about.

WANTED TO KILL HIMSELF.

Sunday Miss Lucille said to Mrs. Selig that Mr. Frank didn’t sleep so good Saturday night. She said he was drunk and wouldn’t let her sleep with him, and she said she slept on the floor on the rug by the bed because he was drinking. Miss Lucille said Sunday that Mr. Frank told her Saturday night that he was in trouble, that he didn’t know the reason why he would murder, and he told his wife to get his pistol and let him kill himself. I heard Miss Lucil[l]e say that to Mrs. Selig. It got away with Mrs. Selig mighty bad, and didn’t know what to think. I haven’t heard Miss Luc[i]lle say whether she believed it or not. I don’t know why Mrs. Frank didn’t come to see her husband, but it was a pretty good while before she come to see him, maybe two weeks. She would tell me, “Wasn’t it mighty bad that he as locked up,” and she said “Minola, I don’t know what I am going to do.”

HER WAGES INCREASED.

“When I left home to go to the solicitor general’s office, they told me to mind what I said. They paid me $3.50 a week, but last week she paid me $4, and one week she paid me $6.50. But at the time of this murder I was getting $3.50 a week, and the week right after the murder I don’t remember how much they paid me. The next week $4, and the next week $4. One week Mrs. Selig gave me $5, but it was not for my work, and they didn’t tell what it was for. They just said, ‘Here is $5, Minola,’ but of course I understood what they meant, but they didn’t tell me anything at the time. I understood it was a tip for me to keep quiet. They would tell me to mind how I talked, and Miss Lucille would give me a hat.”

Question: Was that the reason you didn’t tell the solicitor yesterday all about this,—that Miss Lucille and the others had told you not to say anything about what had happened out there?”

“Yes, sir.”

Question: “Is that true?”

“Yes, sir.”

Question: “And that is the reason why you would rather have been locked up last night than tell this?”

“Yes, sir.”

Question: “Has Mr. Pickett or Mr. Cravens or Mr. Campbell or myself (Detective Starnes, evidently), influenced you in any way or threatened you in any way to make this statement?”

“No, sir.”

Question: “You make it of your own free will and accord, in their presence and the presence of Mr. Gordon, your attorney?”

“Yes sir,”

(Signed) “MINOLA M’KNIGHT.”

“Sworn to and subscribed before me, this third day of June, 1913.

([S]igned), G. C. FEBUARY.”

* * *

 Atlanta Journal, June 4th 1913, “Sensational Affidavit Made by Minola M’Knight, Negro Cook at Home of L. M. Frank,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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