Gene Hall was my granduncle, the brother of my grandfather Victor Earl Hall. Both are the sons of my eccentric great-grandmother Dovie C McBurnett and her first-of-six-husbands, my great-grandfather William Earl Hall.
William Earl Hall has always been a mystery man. He died when Gene and Victor were young boys and I have found very little documentation about him (1 census entry and the Hall-McBurnett marriage certificate only).
A few days ago, a cousin I met online a couple of years ago sent me a copy of Gene’s VA records. Thanks, Diane!
There is a wealth of information in these documents, but most importantly for me is a one-paragraph mention of William Earl Hall!
Father: Born in Topeka, Kansas, he was killed when patient was eleven or twelve years of age in a train wreck at the age of 34 (1917) while working as a locomotive engineer. He was a Methodist and regular church goer. He was a “red-headed Irishman, always smiling and happy.” Home atmosphere was a cheerful one.
This is a direct account from an immediate relative! Granted, that doesn’t make it gospel. But I had heard the story about the train accident from other, more distant relatives and this comes from William Earl Hall’s oldest son, so for now… I’ll take it!