You will not have to work there nor even change your socks, Where the little stream of whiskey comes flowing down the rocks… The Dyin’ Hobo, Recorded by Doc Watson


Lower Douglas Street, Omaha, is one of the hobo centers of the West

Lower Douglas Street, Omaha, is one of the hobo centers of the West

Hoboes : bindlestiffs, fruit tramps, and the harvesting of the West  Mark Wyman  New York : Hill and Wang, 2010  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 336 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Two hobos walking along railroad tracks, after being put off a train

Two hobos walking along railroad tracks, after being put off a train

When the railroad stretched its steel rails across the American West in the 1870s, it opened up a vast expanse of territory with very few people but enormous agricultural potential: a second Western frontier, the garden West. Agriculture quickly followed the railroads, making way for Kansas wheat and Colorado sugar beets and Washington apples.

A hobo "jungle" along riverfront. Saint Louis, Missouri

A hobo “jungle” along riverfront. Saint Louis, Missouri

With this new agriculture came an unavoidable need for harvest workers-for hands to pick the apples, cotton, oranges, and hops; to pull and top the sugar beets; to fill the trays with raisin grapes and apricots; to stack the wheat bundles in shocks to be pitched into the maw of the threshing machine. These were not the year-round hired hands but transients who would show up to harvest the crop and then leave when the work was finished.

Hobo wakes up early in the morning from his bed alongside a corral. Imperial Valley, California

Hobo wakes up early in the morning from his bed alongside a corral. Imperial Valley, California

Variously called bindlestiffs, fruit tramps, hoboes, and bums, these men – and women and children – were vital to the creation of the West and its economy. Amazingly, it is an aspect of Western history that has never been told. In Hoboes: Bindlestiffs, Fruit Tramps, and the Harvesting of the West, historian Mark Wyman captures the lives of these workers. Exhaustively researched this narrative history is a detailed portrait of the lives of these hoboes, as well as a fresh look at the settling and development of the American West.

James Eads Howe, Pres. of the Hobo's Assoc., recently invited Pres. Harding to attend the assoc.'s convention to be held in Buffalo N.Y., July 2, 3, 4

James Eads Howe, President of the Hobo’s Assoc., recently invited President Harding to attend the assoc.’s convention to be held in Buffalo N.Y., July 2, 3, 4

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