Byrd was a merchant and farmer, and moved to Arkansas in 1826. Byrd became auditor for the Arkansas Territory and served in that position from 1829 to 1831. He served in the Territorial Legislature in 1833.
Byrd had an unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 1844.
When Governor Thomas Stevenson Drew resigned from office on January 10, 1849, Byrd was president of the Senate and became acting governor. Byrd left the office on 19 April 1849, and returned to his mercantile store in Jefferson County, Arkansas.
Byrd died at his home in Jefferson County following a lengthy illness.
He served as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1836, and in the Arkansas Senate in 1840, 1842, 1846, and 1848.