Byron was the oldest son of James E. and Mary Alice Ayres Hall. He was born in Warrensburg, Johnson County, Missouri. His parents lived on a farm a few miles south of town, where their kids were raised. Sometime around 1902 Byron went to Washington State, where he worked on a cattle ranch near Walla Walla for six years.
The story now is picked up in the Warrensburg newspaper and it appears that he had some mental problems that were reflected in letters written to his family members and by some unusual actions, culminating in his heading for home on a train. On the train his actions were thought by some to be a result of alcohol and by others as that of a demented or deranged man.
Warrensburg Journal-Democrat, Warrensburg, Missouri, Friday, April 24, 1908.The newspaper goes on to state he went to the hotel, was met by three police officers and when they attempted to disarm him he shot all three of them, killing two. He then turned the gun on himself. The article reports that several days later a piece of mail from Byron Hall to his sister-in-law was received and written on the outside was “I leave Denver tonight. I have been followed from Canada by secret service men.”
Passengers on the “Hi Lewis Special", a local passenger train which arrives in Warrensburg at 8:10 p.m. from Kansas City, were annoyed and frightened Sunday evening all the way from Pleasant Hill to Warrensburg by a young man who persisted in walking through the coaches and flourishing a pistol. At times he uttered murderous threats, but nobody on the train seemed to be the object of his invective. At one time after the train left Holden he made a bold announcement that there would be bloody murder in Warrensburg that night.
The Train men succeeded in quieting the strange-acting passenger each time he would break out. Conductor Lewis used all the diplomacy at his command to get the demented man to Warrensburg and unload him before anything happened.
When the train reached here the stranger got off carrying his pistol in hand. There was the usual coterie of platform loafers who were not slow to discover the threatenings of the man. A few flourishes of his gun on the platform and he had everything to himself.
The newspaper reported being puzzled over these events, and described Byron's background thusly: "At home, in school, and socially, he was an exemplary young man and everybody was his friend. Nothing is known to indicate that he had departed in the lesst from his training since leaving home six years ago. In Washington he spent all these years in the employ of one man and bore a first class reputation. A dispatch from Walla Walla April 21 verifies this."
The newspaper reporter - and maybe the townspeople also - probably did not know that Byron's father James had a much older brother in Franklin County, Missouri who was considered deranged and who ultimately was hanged for murdering his own sister. His intent had been to kill all of his siblings so he would be the lone heir of his father's estate.