These boots were made for walking. . .

img_2554I’ve always had a strange fascination with hobos, specifically the rail riding hobos of the Great Depression era. I did a quick search trying to find some pictures for Zoe as she seems to be picking up my fascination and found out some interesting things…

Did you know that there was a Hobo Code of Ethics? Here it is


As inscribed in the Annual Convention Congress of the Hoboes of America held on August 8, 1894 at the Hotel Alden, 917 Market St., Chicago Illinois;


1.-Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.

2.-When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.

3.-Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.

4.-Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but insure employment should you return to that town again.

5.-When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.

6.-Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals treatment of other hobos.

7.-When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.

8.-Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

9.-If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

10.-Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

11.-When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.

12.-Do not cause problems in a train yard, Another hobo will be coming along who will need passage thru that yard.

13.-Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose to authorities all molesters, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

14.-Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.

15.-Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

16.-If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it, whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!


Here are some hobo signs. . . 




“Rubber Tramps” are modern day hobos that roam the country on wheels!


I liked the following “NB:   Just hopping freights doesn’t make one a Hobo.  Tramps, bums, yeggs, criminals and some just plain no goods also ride the rails. 


A Hobo is a person that travels to work. 

A tramp is a person that travels and wont work. 

A bum is a person that will neither travel or work.


I liked this site “how to become a Hobo” good practical advice!! I’ll keep the day job! Oh, remind me do I have one? Today Zoe wants to be a hobo for Halloween! A princess or a hobo which will it be!

And for others with similar interests a few books

One More Train to Ride: The Underground World of Modern American Hoboes  by Cliff Williams about Modern day Hobos

Riding the Rails DVD

Woody Guthrie: A life by Joe Klein

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: Letters from Children of the Great Depression by Robert Cohen

Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley

(please note that these books are not suggested for young children)

Woody Guthrie Poet of the People by Bonnie Christensen

This Land Is Your Land  by Woody Guthrie

This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie By Elizabeth Partridge

I  have several fun “home school ideas” on this topic. So to be revisited soon. . .




working on that halloween costume!


2 thoughts on “These boots were made for walking. . .”

  1. That’s cool. I didn’t know they had a code of ethics, and conventions and stuff. I did know they had a code, from the Kit American Girl movie that came out last year. Hopefully we won’t all be hobos soon! (j/k, I’m not really that pessimistic–although maybe it would be fun anyway…) I’ve always imagined myself FEEDING the hobos if the economy comes to that, not being one though.

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