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This Day in Georgia History

August 17, 1915

Leo Frank Lynched in Marietta

Through the early morning hours, the lynch mob who had seized Leo Frank from Georgia State Prison in Milledgeville drove by back roads towards Marietta. Sometime early on the morning of the 17th, they reached the outskirts of Marietta. Here, at Frey’s grove near Mary Phagan’s girlhood home, the gang decided to hang Frank. Asserting his innocence to the very end, Frank’s only request was that his wedding ring be returned to his wife (which it was several days later). The lynch mob then hanged Frank from a tree. When word of the lynching spread, crowds gathered to see the body hanging from a tree. Photographs were taken, one of which later became a souvenir postcard. A few in the crowd threatened, and even began to inflict, violence to Frank’s body, before former judge Newt Morris convinced them to stop. Frank’s body was rushed to an undertaker in Atlanta, with a line of vehicles trailing behind. Although the undertaker tried to keep the body concealed, a large crowd soon gathered demanding to see it. After a rock was thrown through a window, officials agreed to let the public view Frank’s body. Under police supervision, thousands of curious Atlanta-area residents filed by single file to view Frank’s body - including the city detective who had arrested Frank. That night Frank’s body was quickly embalmed and placed on a train for New York, where the burial services were held in Brooklyn’s Mount Carmel Cemetery. As a footnote to the lynching, no one was ever prosecuted for the murder of Leo Frank.