THE BROCK-HALSEY FEUD
The Jury Said Brock Was Not Guilty
September 15, 1893
After two trials in the circuit court, and at a cost of nearly $2000 to the taxpayers of this
county, Cassius Brock was acquitted by the jury of the charge of manslaughter, for which he
was on trial. On the first trial the jury could not agree. On the second trial the jury was
out about twenty-six hours. On the first ballot they stood eight for acquittal and four for
conviction, and so continued till Saturday afternoon when the four for conviction surrendered
and made it unanimous for acquittal. It is doubtful if ever any jury could be had in this
county that would convict Brock, and under the circumstances it may have been for the best
that the case was finally ended. Alexander Halsey, the prosecuting witness and the father of
the murdered boy, lives in McLean County. Cassius E. Brock lives just inside the DeWitt County
line, and the murder was committed opposite Brock’s farm. As a matter of fact DeWitt County
had no interest in either of the parties yet it had to pay all the costs.
The history of the case began forty years ago instead of the time when the two families were
plunged into grief. It was an old feud between Elias Brock, the father of Cassius Brock, and
the father of Alexander Halsey, and from both families it has been handed down from father to
On the 19th of April, 1892, the day of the fatal encounter, Alexander Halsey and two of his
sons, Oscar and Luther, were hauling corn from their farm to the railway depot. Between one
and two o’clock on that day the three Halseys were passing Cassius Brock’s farm, Oscar driving
the lead wagon, Luther the middle team, and the father bringing up the rear. Brock was
repairing a fence on the roadside, and when Alexander Halsey’s team was passing by the feud of
years broke out with renewed bitterness, when Brock pulled out a revolver and began shooting.
He claimed on the witness stand that Halsey had got out of his wagon and made a deadly assault
upon him with a pole, and feeling that his life was in danger he opened fire. Oscar Halsey
swore that the pole spoken of was in his (the front) wagon, and was part of some machinery,
and therefore it could not be true that his father had assaulted Brock with it. Two of Brock’s
shots took effect on Alexander Halsey, one wounding him in the nose and the other in the neck.
Oscar and Luther Halsey jumped out of their wagons and ran back to the defense of their father,
when Brock fired another shot which struck poor little Luther Halsey in the back and killed him
instantly. Brock had a five-shooter and he emptied its contents at the Halsey family, three of
the shots taking effect. After the battle was over, Alexander Halsey lifted his dead fourteen-
year-old boy into his wagon and took him home to his mother.
The coroner’s jury decided that Brock had committed murder; the grand jury toned it down to
The case was first tried at the March term, and after a hard fought legal battle the jury
failed to agree. Colonel Pash Warner represented Brock, while R. A. Lemon and State’s Attorney
Fuller conducted the prosecution. The second trial closed last Friday, and on Saturday
afternoon the second jury brought in a verdict of acquittal. Brock can thank his stars for
the ability of his attorney to watch all the corners and his power to convince the jury that
Brock was not really responsible for Luther Halsey’s death.
Alexander Halsey is unfortunate in having the enmity of his neighbors, for nearly every one of
them went upon the witness stand and swore to his vicious character. Probably the old feud
had embittered his life, and as he is surrounded by Brock’s friends it was not hard for them to
find an excuse in swearing against him. Halsey has not a bad face and no one would take him
for a bad man. In point of intelligence he will rank above the average, and as a farmer he has
been successful. The best thing he can do for the peace of mind of himself and family is to
leave that locality and go where life will be more congenial and pleasant.
The same may be said of Cassius Brock. There is nothing unpleasant about his face, and until
this unfortunate affair he was never known to do an unkind act.
Alexander Halsey and Cassius Brock are simply the heirs of an old feud that began with their
fathers forty years ago. Halsey will go through life mourning the untimely death of his
youngest son, while Cassius Brock will ever have the unpleasant thought that he killed a fellow