O'Farrell Family Data Sources

The Colyer Hall Case


The Evidence in the Habeas Corpus proceedings—The Prisoner's Statement

The evidence in this case before Court Commissioner Wm. Fisher was continued yesterday afternoon.   Mrs. C. W. Vickery followed her husband in the witness stand and corroborated him and Mrs. O'Ferrall in many respects.   She said that she was present and saw the men coming.   She called O'Ferrall's attention to them twice before he noticed them.   When he looked up and saw them he started for his pistol, but appeared to be cut off from it and then ran back.   The crowd was firing on O'Ferrall, but he didn't fall until Alex Hall fired.   She saw the crowd go up to him after he fell.   Knows that his throat was cut, but didn't see who cut it.   Saw a knife in Colyer Hall's hand, but didn't see blood on it.   John Beck was present, assisting in rolling logs.

Clemson Hall was the next witness.   He testified that he was 14 years old at the time of the killing.   He is a half brother of the prisoner, Colyer Hall. He was present when O'Ferrall was killed and said that when O'Ferrall saw the men coming he ran and got his old musket and prepared for them.   When the shooting began he ran away.   The witness also testified that O'Ferrall was a quarrelsome man and was considered dangerous.   He carried a pistol at all times, even to the table.

The witness is a son of Mrs. O'Ferrall and lived with her at the time.   He said that three or four days before O'Ferrall was killed he had gone with him to hunt Colyer Hall, O'Ferrall saying that he intended to kill him.   On Sunday, the day before the killing, O'Ferrall said that he had seen Colyer Hall and would have killed him then but for his wife, but he would kill him before the sun set three more times.

The witness further testified that he didn't know who did the shooting and did not know whether O'Ferrall shot or not.   He didn't see him shoot but saw him run when the firing began.   Didn't see him after he was killed.   He had told his brother, Alex Hall about O'Ferrall's threats and he said that he would tell Colyer Hall.

Mr. Medlock, of Bluff Springs, a nephew of the prisoner, testified that O'Ferrall had a bad reputation and he had heard him threaten to kill Colyer Hall.

Cliffton Hall, a son of Mrs. O'Ferrall , testified that he was 20 years old at the time of the killing and had often heard O'Ferrall threaten to kill Colyer Hall.

Mrs. Jake Godwin, a married daughter of Mrs. O'Ferrall , testified that on Friday before the killing she heard O'Ferrall say that either he or Colyer Hall had to die before the sun set next day.

Mrs. Clemson Hall said that she had once heard O'Ferrall threaten to kill Colyer Hall.

Duncan Hall, a son of the prisoner, testified that on Sunday, the day before the killling , his father and family were going to church and O'Ferrall raised up from behid a log on the side of the road, with a gun in his hand, and shaking his fist at his father, said “I'll get you yet.”

Several citizens of this county, among them being Judge L. M. Brooks, Messres. J. B. Roberts, William and Thomas Morgan, Bird Cooper and Robert Henderson, then testified that they had known the prisoner, Colyer Hall, before the killing and they united in declaring that he was a peaceable, law abiding man and a most excellent citizen in every respect.

The court then adjourned until 10 a.m. today.

The Prisoner's Statement

When the court met at 10 a.m. today, John W. Beck, who was named by the other witnesses as having been present at the killing, was called to the stand and testified that he was present, but was across the river on that day.

The prisoner, Colyer Hall, was then sworn.   He testified that he had been repeatedly warned of O'Ferrall's threats to hill him and knew that he went armed at all times with a pistol and had the reputation of being a dangerous man.   He had also heard several times that O'Ferrall had killed a man.

On Sunday while going to church with his family and his brother, Andrew Hall, saw O'Ferrall by the road side with a gun in his hand.   O'Ferrall shook his finger at him and said, “I'll get you yet.”   After this, instead of going to church the party returned to his house.   That day his brother Andrew's two sons, James and Taylor, came from Bluff Springs, and the four agreed to go hunting the next day.   The next morning Andrew Hall, his two sons, James and Taylor, and himself took their guns and started with the dogs.   After hunting some distance to a point near O'Ferrall's house, they concluded to cut across and go down another branch.   While going over a level place where there were only a few trees and bushes, they saw O'Ferrall and some others rolling logs and Clem and Alex Hall standing in the road. When O'Ferrall saw them he ran and picked up his musket and threw it up to his shoulder, as if to shoot.   The the firing began and he couldn't say whether O'Ferrall fired or not.   After O'Ferrall fell they went off.

Mr. Sheldon, of Mobile, made the opening speech for the prisoner and it was a very eloquent effort.   M. C. M. Jones replied for the state and at 1 p.m. the court took a recess until 4 p.m.

This afternoon County Solicitor Jones will speak and Mr. W. Blount will close for the prisoner.


©2004 John O'Farrell