"Death by Unknown Causes" Ruled in 1936

(08/23/2001)

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 12/31/1936.

Arnoldsburg Tragedy Darkens Christmas

Cleo Hall, 32-year-old state road worker, of Arnoldsburg, whose body was found Christmas eve in his blazing residence near that place, is believed to have been killed by a gun shot wound before the flames which destroyed his home had reached him.

Officials who investigated the tragedy said the victim's head was almost blown off from the charge of a shotgun.  A 12-guage shotgun was found in the room where the body burned with a exploded shell in the chamber of the weapon.  Another shell which had not been fired was also found near the body of the unfortunate young man.

The tragic happening brought gloom to the Arnoldsburg community and lessened the joy of Christmas festivities.  The young man was a member of one of the most prominent and highly respected families in Calhoun county.  A son of Postmaster and Mrs. E.W. Hall, of Arnoldsburg, he was highly regarded on account of his good traits of industry and honesty.  He had been employed for some time by the state road commission prior to his death.

According to evidence produced before a coroner's jury, the young man and his wife and two small children had come into Arnoldsburg in the afternoon.  Mrs. Hall and the children remained there with relatives and friends and the husband went back home late in the afternoon to attend to the farm chores.  Later he came back into Arnoldsburg and started home when he found out that his wife and children were attending a Christmas entertainment in the town.  Mr. Hall was then seen to go into his home by neighbors and shortly afterwards the house was discovered in flames by neighbors.  By the time volunteer fire-fighters could get to the place, the flames had destroyed so much of the house that it was impossible to recover his body from the fire.  At first it was thought that an explosion of the kitchen stove lighted with kerosene or gasoline had wounded the unfortunate young man in such manner that he was unable to escape from the flames.  Before the floor fell in it was noticed that the stove had been blown apart as an explosion.  Mr. Hall's body was found a few feet from the front door and a considerable distance from the kitchen stove.

Later the shotgun was found and authorities worked on a suicide theory.  No motives for suicide could be advanced and the investigating jury brought in a verdict of death by unknown causes.  Neither could motives for murder be found, and the death of the popular young man will likely remain a mystery.

In addition to his wife, who was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Bailey, of near Minnora, the deceased is survived by two small children; his father, E.W. Hall, of Arnoldsburg, and a large number of other near relatives.

Funeral services were conducted Friday afternoon at the Sand Ridge church and interment was made in the nearby cemetery.


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