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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

1859 :: Death of Isaac Peacock

The Weekly Telegraph, March 23, 1859. TEXAS ITEMS. The East. The Crockett Printer has the details of the killing of Mr. Isaac Peacock by Jas. M. Hall, Esq., in that town. According to the account of the Printer it is a bad affair, and we hope when the other side is heard some palliating circumstance may be found. We have known Mr. Hall for some years and have been in the habit of looking upon him as anything but a desperate man, and we feel sure there must have been great provocation, to have lead him to commit the awful deed now laid to him. The funeral of Mr. Peacock was attended by a large concourse of people. He was buried by the Odd Fellows.

The Crockett Argus has the following concerning the killing of Peacock by Hall, in that town the other day: --

The material facts, and such as may be stated without prejudice to any one, are, that Mr. Isaac Peacock, an enterprising, industrious and much esteemed gentleman of this town, one who had long been on the most intimate and friendly terms with Maj. Hall, the proprietor and publisher of this paper, had inconsiderately interfered in a domestic matter, and in a manner to exasperate the feelings of that gentleman, already wrought up to a very high tension. The interference consisted in aiding a much beloved child to carry out an act of insubordination and to place herself in opposition to the wishes of her parent. We accord to the memory of Mr. Peacock the justice of believing that he did not think he was transgressing the bounds of friendship, and that he thought Maj. Hall unreasonable and prejudiced in his opposition to the marriage which he assisted in bringing about. This marriage had taken place in a clandestine manner, on the morning of Tuesday of last week. Immediately after supper that afternoon, Maj. Hall was standing, in conversation with another gentleman, on the gallery of Hall's hotel, when Mr. Peacock drew near, and, apparently under the impression that a remark had been addressed to him, began to participate. Maj. Hall applied some abusive epithet to him, and bade him begone. Mr. Peacock replied, not violently nor in denunciatory terms, but denying the right of any one to drive him away. A very few words, and an almost inappreciable short space of time sufficed to bring the parties into collision, in the course of which Mr. Peacock received the stab of which he died on Friday night succeeding.

We would "nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice;" but believing that no controversy can arise as to the material facts, so much may be said without prejudice to truth, or to the interests of any one. We cannot, therefore, expect them to accompany us into a full contemplation of the processes through which the mind of a gentleman of education, liberal fortune, enlarged views, and essentially philanthropic purposes, such as characterize Maj. Hall in a high degree, must have passed, before he could be induced to deal a fatal stab to one of his long tried and most intimate friends. Our intimate knowledge of the facts of the case, enables us to say in the most positive manner, that the act which caused Mr. Peacock's death, was not of a moment's premeditation. The instrument with which the fatal stab was inflicted was a pocket knife, the blade of which was about three inches long. Whether Maj. Hall had it in his hand at the commencement of the difficulty, as some suppose, or found time to draw it in the course of the brief struggle, is not known, and the darkness was such as not to enable those who stood nearest speak positively.

We have only further to say, for the information of Major Hall's numerous friends and acquaintances, that he is at present a fugitive, wandering, we know not where. We know enough of the character and disposition of the man, to satisfy us that he is as an unhappy as his most inveterate enemy could desire; and that, whatever may be the future course of events, the balance of his life will be one of continued scene of suffering. The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 1, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 23, 1859

Dreadful Affair! The following is an account of a homicide, which occurred in Crockett. -- The narrative of the unfortunate tragedy, is related with evidence of a strong bias against Hall; yet the facts may be strictly correct.

ANOTHER HORRID MURDER. -- We have again the painful task imposed upon us of chronicling another of the horrid events too common, alas, in our town of late. The circumstances, as briefly as we can relate them, are that on yesterday week, (March 8th) a difficulty occurred between James M. Hall, owner of the "Argus" and Isaac Peacock, architect, at or near Hall's Hotel, the boarding place of both. The causes which led to the difficulty need not be made a public matter, but events had occurred, not, however, sufficient to endanger the life of a peaceable, quiet citizen, yet it caused a bad feeling with Jim Hall against several persons, Peacock among the number. Some words passed when the two met, Jim Hall struck at Peacock, who acted on the defensive solely, retreating the while, when Hall stabbed him in the side, some say once, others that two stabs were made. The affidavit made asserts that Peacock acted solely on the defensive, compels us to class this as the most cold blooded murder, with not even the palliation of intoxication or passion, that ever occurred in own town. Jim Hall immediately fled, although efforts were made to arrest him., he eluded pursuit and escaped. Parties have been in constant pursuit of him and once twice he narrowly escaped.

Jim Hall is the publisher and controller of the Argus newspaper, was once head of the Masonic Order in the state, an Odd Fellow (suspended); held the office of district clerk until last election, when he only received a few votes. James M. Hall is a short thick set man, gray hair, red beard and florid complexion. We learn a reward will be offered by both societies of which he is a member, and another from the citizens, for his arrest. -- Crocket Printer. The Southern Intelligencer. (Austin City, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 31, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 23, 1859

J.M. Hall, of the Crockett "Argus," killed Isaac Peacock, in Crockett, a short time since. The "Printer" says Hall immediately fled and escaped, and classes it as a cold blooded murder. Hall was well and favorably known over the State. Dallas Herald. (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 7, No. 38, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 23, 1859

The Crockett Printer gives the details of the killing, and funeral of Isaac Peacock, in that place. He was killed by J.M. Hall, proprietor of the Argus. Mr. Peacock is represented as being a very worthy man, and his death is greatly regretted by the citizens. Hall has fled. The Colorado Citizen (Columbus, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 30, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 26, 1859

James M. Hall, publisher of the Crockett Argus, killed Isaac Peacock, an architect, at or near the former's hotel in Crockett, and the boarding place of both, by stabbing the latter with a knife, on the 8th March inst. The Eastern Texian (San Augustine, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 45, Ed. 1 Saturday, March 26, 1859

From the "Argus" we learn that the difficulty between Maj. J.M. Hall and Isaac Peacock of Crockett, resulting in the death of the latter, was caused by Peacock's aiding in the clandestine marriage of a daughter of Maj. Hall against his consent. The latter is still a fugitive. Dallas Herald. (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 7, No. 39, Ed. 1 Wednesday, March 30, 1859

The Killing of Peacock. -- The Rusk Enquirer is rather hard on the Printer for his persecution of Maj. Hall, who killed Peacock in Crockett, not long since. We think the Enquirer is right. There may be causes which led to the commission of the deed; but the Printer mentions none, and goes on to denounce Hall in the most bitter manner. The following particulars of the transaction are taken from the Rusk paper, as related by an unprejudiced witness:

"Mr. Hall had an only child -- a lovely daughter, just entering her sixteenth summer -- upon whom he lavished all his wealth of affection -- she was his idol. This daughter had eloped with and married a young gentleman of Crockett. The deceased was one of the parties who accompanied the eloping couple. Shortly after, and while Mr. Hall was smarting under the affliction, the deceased approached him, in perhaps a friendly manner, and offered the common salutations of the day. Mr. Hall desired the deceased to leave him, as he wanted to have no communication with him. The deceased left him, but shortly returned and attempted to force himself upon Hall. Hall again telling him, the deceased, that he believed him to be a d____d scoundrel. The deceased then struck Hall, and they closed in a fight. Hall had a small pocket knife in his hand, with which he had been cutting tobacco. He struck the deceased several times with his fist, without using the knife, and finally stabbed him in the side, inflicting the wound from which he died."

These, then, seem to be the circumstances attending the difficulty. We, with the Enquirer, would not be the apologist of Mr. Hall, or of any transgressor of the law, yet we think that Justice should be the motive power of the Press; but in this instance, we think, justice has been overleaped, and perhaps private malice and rival ambition are its usurpers! In all cases, crime should be looked upon with a degree of abhorrence; yet, when a man in a moment of passion so far forgets himself as to commit a deed of violence which, when reason is again in the ascendance, is calculated to make him miserable, we think it is within the teachings of Christianity, to say nothing of humanity, to look upon it with a lenient eye, "nothing extenuating, nor setting down aught in malice." The Colorado Citizen (Columbus, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 31, Ed. 1 Saturday, April 2, 1859

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD. -- We see from the Crockett Printer that Gov. Runnels has issued a proclamation offering a reward of three hundred dollars for the apprehension of Jas. M. Hall, who killed Peacock in that place. The citizens offer an additional reward of seven hundred dollars, making one thousand dollars as a compensation for his apprehension and delivery up to the Sheriff of Houston county. The Colorado Citizen (Columbus, Tex.), Vol. 2, No. 33, Ed. 1 Saturday, April 16, 1859

ARRESTED. -- By the Crockett Printer we learn that Jim Hall, charged with the murder of Isaac Peacock in that place some time ago, and for whose arrest a reward of one thousand dollars had been offered, was arrested and brought in by the sheriff W.E. Hail, assisted by Clint Allen and Isaac Adair. The Eastern Texian (San Augustine, Tex.), Vol. 3, No. 6, Ed. 1 Saturday, July 2, 1859

The East. The Liberty Gazette learns that Jas. M. Hall was tried at Sumpter last week, for killing Peacock, and the result was a mistrial, the jury being unable to agree. It stood between murder in the second degree and acquittal. The Weekly Telegraph (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 25, No. 34, Ed. 1 Wednesday, November 9, 1859

As a sidenote . . . J.M. Hall was tried a second time in regards to the death of Isaac Peacock . . . and was found not guilty . . .