John Tucker Dorsey


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  • Name John Tucker Dorsey 
    Gender Male 
    • From the Internet,

      Leo Frank Lynchers

      Copyright January 1, 2000 by Stephen Goldfarb, Ph.D.

      Since the infamous lynching of Leo Frank on August 17, 1915, in Cobb County, Georgia, the identity of those involved has remained a closely-guarded secret. The list reproduced below and the ensuing discussion documents for the first time the identity of some of those who both planned and carried out this murder. This document is an incomplete list of the men who planned and carried out the kidnapping and lynching of Leo Frank in August of 1915.

      The document (used with permission) is part of the Leo Frank collection and is housed in the Special Collections Department, Robert W. Woodruff Library of Emory University. Although the document is unsigned, the identity of the author is known to me; however, because of the nature of this list, I have decided not to disclose its author at this time.

      Leo Max Frank (1884-1915) was the manager of the National Pencil Factory in Atlanta, Georgia, from the time of its establishment sometime in 1909. On April 26, 1913, one of his employees, a young girl named Mary Phagan, was brutally murdered in the factory. Frank was convicted of this crime in the summer of 1913 and sentenced to be hanged. For most of the next two years, Frank’s lawyers appealed the death sentence, twice to the United States Supreme Court, but to no avail. In June 1915, shortly before he was to leave office, Governor John M. Slaton commuted Frank’s death sentence to life in prison. About two months later, Frank was kidnapped from the state prison farm at Milledgeville, transported about 175 miles to Cobb County, original home of Mary Phagan, and lynched near a place called Frey’s Mill on the morning of August 17, 1915. None of the lynchers of Frank was ever tried for the murder of Frank, much less convicted; in fact the identity of the lynchers has remained a closely-guarded secret. [2]

      The list itself contains twenty-six names, two less than contemporary accounts claimed as having taken part in the lynching.[3] Some of these names are of people who will very likely never be identified, unless someone with special knowledge of the lynching comes forward. In some cases only surnames are given, and in others the names are so common, that there are likely to have been several persons among the thousands of males living in Cobb County at that time with that name.[4] Nevertheless, nine of the lynch mob members, including all but one of those listed as being either a "leader" or a "planner" can be identified with confidence. The two "leaders" were identified as Judge Newton Morris and George Daniels.

      Newton Augustus Morris (1869-1941) was, according to his obituary in the Marietta Daily Journal, a "leader in the Democratic party in Georgia." He served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1898 to 1904, during which time he was speaker pro tem (1900-1901) and then speaker (1902-1904), after which he served two terms as judge on the Blue Ridge Circuit (1909-1912, 1917-1919), the Georgia court circuit that included Cobb County. [5] Morris was credited with preventing the mutilation of Frank’s body after the lynching. According to newspaper accounts, Morris rushed to the scene of the lynching as soon as he heard about it, and once there, he "interceded and pleaded with everyone to permit Frank’s remains to be sent home to his parents for a decent burial." While Frank’s body was being removed, one member of the crowd, who had earlier wanted to burn Frank’s body, began stomping on the corpse; Morris was able to stop this, which enabled the undertakers to remove Frank’s body to a funeral home in Atlanta. [6] The other man listed as being a leader is George Daniels. Research in contemporary documents has failed to turn up a man by that name, though two persons with the name George Daniel (or Daniell) have been identified, whose age was similar to those of the other lynchers. George Daniels is the only one on the list that is identified as being a member of the Ku Klux Klan. [7]

      The following three men are listed as being "planners": Herbert Clay, M. M. Sessions, and John Dorsey. Of the three, the best known was Eugene Herbert Clay (1881-1923). Son of United States Senator Alexander Stephens Clay, and older brother of four-star General Lucius D. Clay, who served as Allied High Commissioner of Germany from 1945-1949, Herbert Clay was mayor of Marietta (1910-1911) and solicitor general (i.e. district attorney) of the Blue Ridge judicial circuit (1913-18). In this capacity Clay should have prosecuted the lynchers of Frank, a bitter irony, as he himself was a planner of the lynching and may well have taken part in the lynching. He was subsequently elected to the Georgia State Senate and served as its president in the years 1921-1922; he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives the following year but died in an Atlanta hotel, a few days before the opening of the 1923 session. [8] Clay is the only lyncher whose identity as such has appeared in print.[9]

      Born in neighboring Cherokee County, Moultrie McKinney Sessions (1863-1927) moved to Marietta as a child and lived there for the rest of his life. Son of a prominent judge, Sessions received his legal training in a law office and became a lawyer while still a minor. A successful lawyer and financier, he founded Sessions Loan and Trust Co. in 1887. Although active in civic organizations, Sessions does not appear to have held any elected political office.[10]

      Also a lawyer, John Tucker Dorsey (1876-1957) moved to Marietta in 1908, after graduation from the University of Georgia and practicing law in Gainesville, Georgia. According to his obituary in the Marietta Daily Journal, Dorsey was active in many civic activities and served in the Georgia House of Representatives (1915-1917, 1941-1945), as solicitor general of the Blue Ridge Circuit (1918-1920), and as ordinary of Cobb County from 1948 until his death. Dorsey represented the state of Georgia at the Coroner’s Jury that met to investigate the lynching of Frank. [11]

      Of the remaining twenty or so lynchers, five more have been identified with confidence ...

      The identification of a third of the lynch mob certainly bears out the claim that at least some of its members were prominent citizens of Cobb County, and a few were known state-wide. Included are a former speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives and president of the Georgia State Senate, and other members of the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate, mayors of Marietta, as well as judges, prosecutors, and other members of the local judiciary. Furthermore, this research offers an explanation for the failure of the criminal justice system to prosecute Frank’s murderers, for a member of the lynch mob was also the solicitor general for the Blue Ridge Circuit, the person responsible for the prosecution of the lynchers. ...

      [11] MDJ, Feb. 22, 1957, pp. 1, 4; AC, Feb. 22, 1957, p. 48; NYT, Aug. 25, 1915, p. 6.
    Person ID I0857  Hull
    Last Modified 18 Oct 2009 

    Family Annie Robertson Coryell 
     1. Jasper Newton Dorsey, II,   b. 19 Jan 1915, Marietta, GA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Aug 1990  (Age 75 years)
    Family ID F287  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

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