Friday, March 20, 2015

Part IIII: The Last of Grandfathers' Hobo Trek 1930

Dec.5-30  Six oclock and darkness has been over the desert for an hour and a half.  The moon is shining full and save for the fore knowledge to the contrary one would think they were alone on the earth, the car broken down and watching now for over 3 hrs for a car on the highway without one passing, one can appreciate what others have gone thru, especially now that our food + water supply is getting dangerously low, and if we don’t connect with a car tomorrow one of us must start walking to Moapa for supplies and tube repair material; what a lot of grief a (this was crossed out: car can make after all) The loss of a small tube of cement can make.

Dec. 7-30  After a two day wait we were able to get a tube of cement from a car driven by two Indian trappers for which we paid 25c and which when opened proved to be almost empty. After three attempts we finally succeeded in getting the stem to hold air, and thinking all was now ready we stepted on the starter and lo the battery was dead; hailing a passing car (we were fortunate to see two cars in one day) Greg went to Moapa to get another battery.  I have just eaten just about all the grub if Greg doesn’t get back today I will have to start for Moapa myself tomorrow morning.  This desert life after nearly two weeks is getting frightfully monotonous especially now that I’ve been here alone  The nearest water is 15 miles and I have grub enough for two more meals by using up all I have.  I will surely appreciate some home made bread again as we have live almost entirely on hot cakes + din bobs since we came here two weeks ago.  I can hardly realize that this is early Dec., except for a north wind that blows night + day the weather is fine, the days are almost hot but the nights are cold or what is considered cold, barely freezing.  I wonder what luck Greg will have today and when we will leave here.   Still I can wonder very long, for I must leave here tomorrow morning if he doesn’t come today, yet there is a certain fascination for this desert waste one feels awed at natures formidable claim of drouth + waste, which ever way I look I see gray sand and mesquite brush and low Mts in the offing, if I only had company.

5:30 P.m  At last we are back in the states again having one of the most harrowing experiences in the desert; I am glad I made the trip now that it is over all tho had I known what was ahead of me before going, I don’t think I could have been induced to make the attempt.  I hope I may say farewell to the desert all tho sometime when nature is in a relenting mood it may yet become a paradice.

This transcription was copied word for word.  My grandfather, Leon Augustus Valentine, made this ‘adventure’ during one of Americas’ poorest eras.  Why he did I don’t know nor do I know the final destination.  The journal stopped at “paradice”.  I have done some research and  I believe the Indians he spoke of were most likely the Paiutes.  The Indians and their dirt-poor and barren reservations were no better off.  Although I do have to wonder about the “new Levis”.  Who knows?  I have read this journal many times and copied it three and each and every time I get another picture in my head, another view of this grandfather that I never knew but who was SO loved by his children!  And how he could flower his words!


The Moapa practiced irrigation agriculture before contact with Europeans. The Moapa suffered from Spanish slave raiders attacks in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

In 1869 the United States relocated the Southern Paiutes to the Moapa area. Originally the entire Moapa River watershed and lands along the Colorado River (some of which area is now under Lake Mead) was assigned to the Moapa; however, in 1875 their reservation was reduced to 1,000 acres (4.0 km2).

They later suffered from decimation by disease in the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1941, they organized with a formal constitution. In 1980 the Moapa River reservation was expanded, with about 75,000 acres (300 km2) added.

High rates of unemployment have plagued the reservation and caused some of the Moapa to relocate elsewhere.

An Excerpt From Hobo Jungle:

The name "Hobo" first started appearing in the early 1800's. Before the Civil War many hoboes had taken to the rails as a way of life. Around the time of the Civil War, railroads were being built a an astonishing rate and in the early 1870's there were between 50,000 and 60,000 miles of track interwoven throughout the United States. During the early days late 1880's a depressed economy was certainly prevalent, times were hard and hoboes took to the rails in great numbers, hitchhikers were also increasing, nobody had any money to go anywhere and pay the ticket to get there. By the 1930's this had grown to about 241,000 miles of track and the trains were running to all the bustling markets, Chicago, Michigan and from all points south to move raw goods to the industrial northern areas, hauling cattle grain and everything else imaginable. Some during the early days would say that the hobo was one into doing a lot of bad things, stealing and you name it., that they would derail trains and take over the entire train. But in the rural communities people would help them and give them jobs during the harvest time. Every hobo had a thing that he do real well, repair shoes, make wire fruit bowls and he sure could hoe a garden for a little something to eat. Many could play good music with a guitar or harmonica, or some other musical instruments. It was not uncommon to see a hobo standing in the rear of a house drinking a cup of coffee and eating a sandwich, standing up, then doing a little chore for the donor of the coffee and food. In around the time that World War 1 was raging and we were yet to join in the war, hoboes were running rampant, trying to get into a stable work force and maybe settle down and some did, but the number continued to grow.

By the 1920' the unsettling image was making a change , there were some very notable people that had rode the rails, among them Jack London, and author Carl Sandburg, they made it big in their field so many people took this to mean that there were some that had it all together and could make a go of it , without living around a bunch of trains. A clown made up as a hobo caught a lot of attention , what they really did was depict a way of life in America, some people could relate to that. During the Great Depression over 8,000 women & over 200,000 children rode the rails as well.

In 1932 the Bonus marchers arrived to pressure Hoover for their long awaited bonuses, and they were not the same as the hobo who was resourceful in making his way and not starving, he made it on the ability to get by, they improvised when the chips were down.. The center of the hobo life as the camp's or jungles, which were located wherever it was most convenient , preferably close to a railroad track. Generally on the sunny side of a hill near a source of water; and as close as as possible to the tracks. No real names were given, you used a moniker like Luther the Jet, Hobo Joe and Greenie, Cinder Box Cindy, Oklahoma Slim, Guitar Whitey, Mister Bojangles, Midwest John, Boxcar Willie (see story below), Gats, New York Maggie, Photo Boll, Pig Train, North Bank Fred, New York Ron, Liz Lump, Senator John Mc Claughry, There were certain rules, pots were left clean, no fellow hobo was to rob another one. ( who came into camp ) Thievery was to be kept to a minimum, maybe a piece of food taken or vegetables taken from a garden or something off the clothesline. There was to be no breaking into any house or threatening people, these were serious offenses and could bring death by a fellow hobo.

Part III: Grandfathers' Hobo Trek of 1930

St. George Thurs. Oct. 16—In my new work of soliciting repairs I find it quite different to soliciting in a city.  Here the people are very careful in spending, they usually trade work and produce with someone else, receiving different produce or a return of labor from the other party.



Sun about the 21st of Oct—Sun is here again, I have just finished breakfast of Jungle Mulligan, the first I have had time to prepare since beginning my work of soliciting here.  I have just returned from a forage of the pile as I will need some cans in which to put my spices eggs ect.  I also found a round piece of tin about 4 ft in diameter which I put on top of a tub for a table top; I don’t just relish the idea of moving now that I have my Jungle  house hold in convenient shape.  I have a nicely arranged grate for my fireplace which I salvaged from the dump.  My bed of auto springs in a cabin 2 miles from is getting used to me now that I can sleep the entire night I must leave it. It’s a good thing I’m going by auto or I would have to ditch much of my chuk box, well leave it as you find it is the jungle law and it is seldom violated except by the Marceled punks that have little or no regard for the rights of others.



While on my way to work yesterday I beheld an amusing spectacle and which was freely commented on and criticized by older and more experienced members of the jungle fraternity; nearing town were several efiminated hiking shuks all with their hair perfectly coifured and rolled socks, most of them showed signs of having flopped (sic) in a barn or beside a campfire; straw and hay clung tenaciously to the clothes of some, the others were covered by ashes a little soap and water would have increased the appearances of the majority of them but oh! How that marcel was taken care of.  (Marcel; to wave the hair with special irons).  Alltho it is early morning (8 a.m.) the thots of the other stiffs have already commented on this day as the Sabbath  from there it is plain that religion finds at least a fleeting rest on their minds and finally expressions are heard, one stiff inquired concerning the Mt. Meadows massacre and Murphy long a traveler in Utah, blurted out with the information that the Mormons was drove outa Misouri and ILL, suffering untold afflictions and percecutions from the Misourions, which they never forgot and when this gang of Mossback misourions came through Utah they got just what they handed the Mormons when they were in Misouri  the mormons had to wait a long time to get back at them Misourions and “I don’t blame the Mormons a G.W.Bit I got as much use for a Mis. As I have for a buzzard, 12 years ago I hiked across that damn state and couldn’t hustle enough chuk to feed a canary, them Misourions got just what was comin to em”.  To bad they didn’t go back and mop up on the whole mule herding state”.


I must write Edith a birthday letter it is soon the 25th, I must also write Bro Harry a short epistle and acquaint him with the fact that he may soon be visited by his illustrious older Bro., and Mim my little sister whom I haven’t seen in 8 years may also behold her derelict Bro. 

*Edith was 2 years younger than my mother, and daughter #2 by second wife Ora.


St. George  Oct. 26—Today is Sunday again, and as is characteristic of Sunday the inhabitants of the Murphy clan jungles spend the day “boiling up”.  It is 11:30 a.m. and I have just finished boiling up; in this jungle the pond of water is beside our fire, after boiling up I heated some water and bathed beside the pond without feeling any cold and this on the 26 of Oc.


Sat. Nov. 22—Las Vegas Nevada—At last the Western Wonderland the Eldorado of the west to those whose circumstances in the past have been somewhat cramped.  Leaving St. George, one is struck by the complete bareness of the country, not withstanding that Nev is noted by its great amount of arid land.  Mile after mile of wasteland, signs along the road read something like this: nearest drinking water 111 miles; or goes through a process of filtering which leaves it almost or little better than before  it maybe pure but the taste is not what most people expect.  I arrived in Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m having ridden on the rear of an open truck bound for Los A. with 2 tons of dressed turkeys.  One of those Nevada wind storms blew from the north.  About Sundown the driver a Mex, invited me to ride with them in the cab, which act I think saved one as I was so numb I could hardly get off the rear end of the truck and walk around to the front.  Arriving in Vegas I walked around tightly squeezing my full capitol of 60c which I had to make last until the next job.


North Moapa Valley  Nov. 29-30  As I turn my back to the fire and look toward the west where the sun has not long since set, the beautiful horisen of green, purple and blue seem out of place with the vast expanse of desert which surrounds me for miles in every direction and in this large area of apparent wasteland only water is needed to make it the garden spot that Southern Cal. So loudly boast of: what miracles could be wrought here with water, of which to much also makes wasteland.  I wonder by what science this land will be reclaimed, if one only knew or could see ahead 15 years what an enviable position a person could be set in; here gold maybe found for we paned (sic) out a small pan of the frillings from the well hole, by what means in the future will it be this desert be made to yield a fitting reward for the lives and fortunes of men who have gambled, battled against natures most formidable weapons, burning sun and no water; has this region been reserved for a future time or for a chosen purpose or people, surely there is plenty here to make one wonder and marvel at the beauty of waste and desert.  Here one my stay and rest secure far from the din and tumult of civilization and science, I wonder if I fully appreciate this so called wilderness.  Here there is no strife, here the speed of civilization never comes, the wail of want the senseless screaming of pleasure seekers is here but a memory and oh! What a victory t’ would be to fight against nature and win a place on the desert, it will be as ever before the pioneer, one in a million of inhabitants, will wrest against nearly impossible odds from nature his claim of victory.  Strange that I am not dissatisfied nor blame the wild city life, am I getting old?  Our living here boarders on the primitive; yesterday I cut 6 willow sticks 7 ft. in length these I drove in the miry sand and wove willows thru them for a wind break against the north wind, and each night before the camp fire, we talk of future possibilities here in the desert, and always it is “if we could only strike water” and think of ways to bring water flowing over this rich but arid land.  Greg is a typical deseret man, (me: now I am not sure if he meant desert or Deseret regarding the Mormons) for 35 years he has fought this desert, given the best part of his life and most of his savings in search of water.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Part II: Grandfathers' 1930 Hobo Trek

Part 2:
Wed. night 9:30   A little better luck this afternoon.  My first ride this afternoon was with two young men from Michigan, on their way to Las Vegas in an Essex car that threatened to spill itself any moment.  Suffice it to say that it was a 1923 Essex.  After numerous punctures we finally made it to within 10 miles of Filmore when after several convulsive sheep jumps it quit altogether.  The driver coasted it into the borrow pit, after closing all adjustments he straightened in his seat and fervently uttered Utah’s advertising slogan.  From a mile up the highway I looked back and saw with much satisfaction that the car was pretty close to the place that I had been shiriking (?)  all afternoon. it should be in just then a car slowed down and was taken to Kanosh by Seth and in the Kanosh jungles I am writing this at 10 p.m. By the light of a jungle fire, and like Omar Kayam, I feel to say “A jug of wine and thow exerit paradise e-now”.  We passed through historic Filmore, saw the old state house that served as Utah’s first state capitol and on which the state last year spent $10000.00 for repairs to keep it as a landmark and relic; the dwelling houses also show designing of an early period, many of them being constructed of homemade brick.  The scenes experiences and impressions during this evening will long be remembered. 

The solitude is inspiring, not a sound but the rippling waters of the creek beside me, the dying embers of the fire as the midnight hours approach.  How like life the fire dies for want refueling, yet the creek from an endless source babbles on and like emerald settings, the lowing of cattle in the distance, the babbling brook make me wonder with the scientist Bock, “What is light and what is sound?” I wonder where I’ll be tomorrow night?


Thursday morning 10:00 a.m. I have covered five miles since high fast, my feet ache so much that I’m going to sit here until a car comes.  Out here on the desert there aren’t many cars passing.  I’ve heard it said by hikers that one car in every hundred is a fair average of the motorist who will pick up hikers, the arid desolation which surrounds me almost makes me exclaim with Satan “Is this the region, the clime that we must trade for realms sublime, Hail! Horrors, Hail! Thou profoundest hell, receive thy new possessor!” To one who never saw anything different this would be a beautiful country if one had only some means of transportations, one must look at so much to see anything and with out transportat, one sees then a lot of nothing; I imagine one would get frightfully bored if traveling with the speed of lightening over this forsaken era.

This drizzling rain is getting to be just a triffleng disagreeable and monotonous.  I’m glad that I can’t forsee each coming day in advance or Las Vegas would loose patience in my delayed coming.


Hitchiking could be systemized much to the advantage of the hikers if the above average was strictly maintained. It being understood that every 100th car must pick up all the hikers they meet.  The hiker then would choose some convenient spot and by the process of counting tell just when to arise and board his transportation.


Thurs. 3:30 p.m. The same two boys whom I left yesterday at Filmore pick me up about 10 miles back.  The first thing was a flat, and now we are sitting in the car 25 miles north of Beaver with another flat, the rain is falling in torrents, the boys have no patches, so there is no telling when we will move again, it won’t be at least until we can hail a passing car and mutch (mooch) some patching rubber.


Thursday night 9:00 p.m.  I have just come in soaked to the skin after a 9 mile walk thru the rain.  We finally mutched some patching rubber and got the Essex moving once more, but every mile or so something went wrong and one of us would have to get out and crank the car after adjustments had been made, we were 3 hours going 20 miles, during all this time the rain fell and all of us were wet, at last the carburetor ceased working altogether and my two young friends decided to leave to the mercy of the pilfering public: they however intend sleeping in it tonight but will abandon it in the morning, as there was not room for three of us to sleep there it seems my place to vacate, which I did during a lull in the rain, however it was soon raining as hard as ever and continued til I reached a light in the clearing 3 hrs. later.  A more disagreeable trip I have never undertaken in my life, I had walked but a short distance until I was wet through the water sloughed in my shoes and my wet corduroys slaped (sic) my wet legs. The wind was in my face and was cold enough to have been blown right from a snow bank.


Car after car went by me not withstanding my signaling, I think my conscience would suffer were I to honk for a man to get out of the road in a desert country 15 miles from the nearest town, and in a down pour of rain.  Never did up in shelter and the prospect of dry clothes seem so good as tonight and now that it is all a matter of history I look upon it as the outstanding experience from the stand of misery, hunger and cold.  This house is occupied by 4 or 5 cow men and thank God they were here.  I wonder where I will be tomorrow night?


Fri 3:30 Well here I am at Anderson’s Ranch 33 miles (s or n) of Cedar City, had good luck today in getting a ride.  I wonder where I will be tonight?


7 p.m.  Supper is over, I met up with the two boys again and we are camped on a creek 15 miles east of St. George.  There is plenty of wood, so I will at least keep warm, although the climate is much warmer than the country north of Cedar City, yet the nights are getting cooler.  We have but one little frying pan on which to fry bacon and potatoes which one of the boys bumed (sic) from a nearby farm house.  9:30 p.m. Supper is over and the beds of dry weeds are made, how much better a person feels and how ones spirits rise when the appetites has been satisfied.There is a beautiful moon shining, the air is still as I lay me down to sleep. 


Sat 7:30 a.m. Another full stomach of bacon, fried potatoes, bread and coffee, we also have shaved, the air is warm and optimism prevails.  The country around here is quite different to any that I have been in.  The little hamlets are built along the creeks and then there will be rocky desert between there and the next creek.  Well I must be goin, I wonder what time I will be in St. G.

10:30 a.m. St. George at last it almost seems that my journey is over.  Coming into St. G this morning the first site to greet my gaze was the temple dome in Pure White, a truly inspiring sight, sitting on a hill as it is clad in its white coat.  As I was sitting here to begin my writing and old village settler stopped beside and began plying me with the usual questions where from, where to, etc. He told me that the man who picked me up was caught making liquor and was now in court, even the natives here seemingly have their troubles.  Some Indians have just driven up in a Buick Sedan all dressed up in calico and Levis five of them, one of the squaws has a papoose on her back and as they go up the street I fail to hear the usual “here carry this baby aways”. 

(That statement comes from the point that MOST Mormon wives had several children, one right after the other and apparently Grandfather had heard that request as well).

Many of the buildings here are of adobe and earlier design rather than most of the younger cities with their new buildings.  All the old timers are typical of frontier people who have not been much in the cities.

Mon. Morn 11 a.m. The two jungle stiffs with whom I have been cooking up the last three days have each just returned from an expedition among the house wives in this end of St. G., laden with vitals of all kinds, these two men are here for the winter and will so live until their exodus north in the spring.  At night a big fellow “Blackie Welsh” or “Oklahoma Blackie” came into the jungles for a muligan, under one arm he carried a soup bone, from a nearby field potatoes, onions, carrots and corn were selected and all hands some 6 or 7 began preparations for a muligan.  After the wrinkles were fairly welled smoothed out, Blackie entertained with some of his experiences which included a crap shooting of several times with Monte Blue, whom he eulogized as a good scout, drinking gambling and all, always good for a feed, a movie acting experience with Anita Stewart, also a liberal spender, Blackie it seems is known from Denver to L.A. as a dealer and is on his way to Vegas to deal Farobank.

Tues. Oct. 8-6:30 a.m.  Yesterday I went out to the dumping ground in search of a “jungle” stove and while there came across several gallon cans of fruit which I boiled over and after sugaring put it in bottles all so found on the dump.  Murphy the Jungle chief entertained by relating his history or part of it, from his talk he has been a brave man; among other things, I learned what guts in salesmanship had it’s origin among just such men as inhabit Jungles because of pure laziness, (sale of Glasses) such salesmen as much in evidence today in the sale of magazines, brushes, etc.
Wed. 8  7:00 a.m. Breakfast is over which calls for the greatest effort and meal making takes the most time and work as the work is practically over as soon as the meal is over, dusting, sweeping, righting furniture ect. is eliminated by this more simple means of living; imagine being thru with all household duties as soon as the meal is over.  Murphy has just left on a foraging expedition which he figured will take him an hour and from which he will derive a weeks worth of living if necessary but as Murphy craved a few extra delicacies the expedition was made a few days in advance of actual needs.
The required extras today were poultry products, rice, flavoring and raisins, of course, anything that can be eaten will be excepted, but delicacies he must have and if not included in the housewifes varied giving those commodities most desired will be procured in this manner “Good morning Sister, Mother or Grandma (according to appearance of age) I have a sick friend over in the grove who is just getting over pneumonia, his stomach is still weak, we were on our way west when he was taken sick, I would like to get a chicken for him if you have one, for myself I can eat almost anything that will give me but he must have more delicate things like chicken, rice pudding, so just include some sugar and flavoring yes times are tough, there is little or no work for a man my age (55) no one wants to hire men that age.  “Chop some wood? Well lady, I’d be only too glad to chop up everything in the yard if it weren’t for my friend waiting for me to hurry back.  I really hate to bum like this but having a sick man on my hands takes all my spare time but I’ll come back tomorrow and chop some for you.  Yes I hope he soon gets better it’s hard on me to have to take care of him and rustle nice things for him”.
Back in “jungles” again.  “Good hell, I had more dam trouble getting a dam little bit of grub than any day I’ve been out yet, hell you’d think some of these grease balls (housewifes) was hard up the way they hang on to what little they give you.  I wish I was down in San Pete, them women there can’t give you enough, yesir old man you jist sit right down while I fix you something, eggs, ham, bacon.
Wed. Oct. 9.  My galley supplies are at low ebb and I am confronted by the necessity of foraging or start for Salt Lake.  If those two Jungle bucks can live year in and year out on the generosity of St. Georges “housewifes”, I surely ought to be able to “pan” them for a little at least when I intend offering some work in return, the question is should I go now or wait until tomorrow I still have a little now that the time draws near to go on my first foraging expedition.  I feel just a wee but like postponing if for awhile, well nothing attempted nothing gained.  So here goes.
Later---well, that wasn’t so bad, mostly the housewives here seem to be human and so sympathetic as any other part of the world.  I selected a street and walked nearly to the end of it before I could muster enough courage to face a door and make my errand known, seeing three women in earnest conversation I started toward them, half turned in retreat but finally made for them in a forceful stride asking which of them would like to have me chop some wood for something to eat, in well chosen tones they all informed me that had men folks around, not knowing what next (to) do as I had not rehearsed any parts in case of rejection I assumed much astonishment and congratulated them on the feat and slunk towards the nearest exit: three blocks further on I was successful and the wood pile groaned under my onslaught.  Back in camp taking stock of my handout I found a loaf of well made home spun bread, about an ounce of tea, 2 eggs, 3 slices of bacon, a two ounce jar of pomegranate jelly, a pound of sugar, an ounce of salt, and 8 or ten pomegranates.
St. George Sat. 9 or 10th. The last 2 days have been rainy and unsettled.  Yesterday morning we stood around in the jungles waiting for the rain to stop but by the time it did stop we were wet thru.  Water was in our jungles the wood was wet and depression generally prevailed.  About noon it stopped and we all preceded to jungle up and dry out.  Last night Shorty and I walked a mile to an empty shack back in the hills, it was dry and it contained among other things several pieces of dry clothing and a camp cot.  Considering the clothing I had I should have slept warmly but I awoke often with a chill and was glad when morning came even tho it rained until nearly ten oclock.  The roads were mudy and when we readied the jungles our feet were soaking wet, but this was forgotten when we had eaten.  My grub was getting low this morning that is some things I was short of.  I went out in town and offered to work for something to eat; the three days that I have been out since coming here have been very profitable, each house gave me enough for several days; today I went out (after supplication) and it is striking how I  wound around and finally was led to the house of Bp. (Bishop) Worthe when I was given
nearly a qt of honey, a dozen nice tomatoes, 7 potatoes, 6 eggs, about 3 lbs of beans, part of a loaf of bread- 2 pomegranate besides being invited in to sit down at the table which I did.  What am I going to do with this blessing of food.  I don’t know, I have no need of begging any more food; my success today has been impressive and a great manifestation, I wonder when I shall be impressed to leave?  I would like to hear from home before I go.  I’m also wondering where I will eventually stop.
Sun. Oct. 12.  Breakfast is over and with the chores all done I can settle down to enjoy the Sabbath.  The jungle stiffs now in number are boiling up in preparation of traveling for “traveling” tomorrow or Tuesday by which time most of us now will be miles apart in various directions, Murphy however will be here to keep the home fires burning for us, and ventures the prophecy that we will all be back again inside a year which is undoubtedly true, Murphy is exhorting the men to remember this is the Sabbath himself emphasizing it with an oath.  He has just finished telling in very detail the principals of the mormon religion which is characteristic of most jungle birds.  Murphy has traveled widely and is not to be disputed on any question.  He is a busy man, when not eating he is making preparations to do so or else up in town rustling food of which he usually has his pack sack full.  It is a peculiar fact even tho in a jest the religious instincts of many men assert themselves even among such as these and much reverence and respect is seen and heard.  Among the 5 here assembled are two professed catholics, 1 baptist, (himi-tarian; something Grandfather Leon wrote) and 1 mormon.  All are high in their praise of the mormon people and communities.  My stay here among this gathering of derelicts has been interesting and I shall miss them when I move on tomorrow or Tues.  I have beans on cooking and must mend my coat sleeve.  Murphy is reading an account of the opening session of the L.W.S. Conference from the Salt Lake Telegram, all 5 present are listening attentively without comment at the conclusion it was plain that all were thinking, and finding that I was a mormon I was plied with really intelligent questions.  My beans are ready and I am hungry.  That was really a sumptuous repast, bread, butter, tomatoes, peach pickles and tea: it is 4 p.m and the sun is shining warmly we are all sitting in our shirt sleeves; as I look away from the jungles I see the bushes laden with drying clothes  it will soon be time to gather them in as it is pitch dark at 6 p.m. and alight doesn’t come until 6 A.m---
5 P.m. I am writing this on a high cliff over looking St. George from the North West.  The country round about is a series of irregular plateaus, so red in color even in the valleys that one wonders that anything grows without fertilization.  The little towns here about are built where ever a stream is found, these streams many of them gush right out of the Mts of red sandstone.  Below me stretches the winding highway on past Santa Clara the last town and stream before going into the desert.
Wed. Oct. 15—made a $1.55 yesterday soliciting scisors and knives, have made $1.00 up until noon today in this manor I get first hand information concerning this country, which because of its isolation from railroads is quite different from those nearer the R.R.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Grandfathers' Tale of 1930's Life As A Hobo

I found this tiny 2x5, teal blue spiral notebook years ago, written in pencil during my grandfathers' travels.  I was captivated by his storytelling and his descriptions of camp.  It is the ONLY connection I have to him, I never met him.  I do know my mother loved him deeply.  I do not understand why he left his family of five during the depression to go 'explore'.  For the most part, I have written this word for word as he put it on paper.

Journal of Leon Augustus Valentine                                            Begins: October 1, 1930

I have just finished my breakfast of bacon and coffee, which I ate at the tourist camp here.  There are camped here also some tourists, their families and are typical of the gypsie travelers of these times. While gathering some black walnuts that strew the ground here in the park I heard the wailing notes of Carry Me Back sung by the wife of one of the mechanics which is quite a contrast to the other mechanics wife who quarreled I am told, with her husband several days ago. Their style of quarreling must have assumed the proportions of a light heavy weight chamionship, no holds bared (sic) nor discriminations used on the selecting ammunition. The husband, true to activities of earlier pioneer days is a minute or less man, that, a minute after any comotion (sic) in the busy kitchen, he knows that target practice is in cherce (?) of preparation and experience has taught him to seek an obstructed view between him and his lifes sparing partner.  After such a fusilade the doors are barricaded and screaming warnings are directed toward attack that have been started from ambuscade (?) etc.

It is ten a.m. and I must be on my way.  I wonder who will have the distinction of picking me up first this morning.  2 p.m. and Nephi lays over the hill some 8 or 9 miles south.  These towns are always just over the next hill.  I wonder if any of the autoists who pass me up have ever ridden in my car? It is curious how many of the drivers see something on the opposite side of the road when they pass me.  I suppose the consciences of the wretches prick them slightly, for even at their speed it is noticeable that they would try to think that they didn't see me.  I wonder if I could check their speed if I rolled some big rocks on to the road.  I must choose some means of letting them know how tired I am and at the same time assure them that I am not a road holdup.  Hello brains? Ring courage for me, I need some help to be put aboard some of these passing autos, it is getting late, I am hungry and rain will fall any time now.  When I get rich I am going to bequeath 1/2 my fortune to the purchase and upkeep of the biggest and most luxurious buses for the soul purpose of carrying hitchikers, I would equip them with mehaphones that the tramp passengur might hoot at the owners of the cheap caddilacs, buicks, et. And just let some cheap car owner try to bum a ride on one of them.

This little shed if it never serves any other purpose has saved Juab County the expense of housing me in the hospital, pneumonia, or at the very least gout would inevetibly result  had not some one with fourthought erected this little castle.

Wed. Oct 1--11 a.m.  I can still feel the straw trickling down my neck as it did last night at 10 p.m. when after an usuccessful day at riding, I waded thru mud and water to burrough into a straw stack that loomed like a castle in the moon light.  Except for a touring and friendly pig my sleep was uninterrupted. I know now that pigs snore for didn't I quake thinking I could hear the echo of my own labored breathing.  I gathered up  my roll as quietly as tho I were stealing, but Mrs. Pig had her bugle trained on me in a move to friendly attitude and had she leaped upon me I shouldn't have been surprised.  She emitted a grunt that was by no means a new sound to me (I've heard it in hotels) and heaving a disgruntled sigh of relief my last vision of her was seeing her settle down deeper into the straw pile.  Getting to the highway I walked on briskly, the morning (6:30 a.m.) was cold and it looked as tho each minute might bring rain.  About 10:00 a.m. I espied an apple orchard with a wind mill towering in its midst, toward it I hyed, found everything necessary to my needs excepting a can to heat water in.  Meahnwhile, the rain came in torrants, everything was wet, but at last I succeeded in inducing some wet wood to burn and as a result I've bathed shaved and dined and am ready to meet the public on their own highway.  I wonder how far I will have to walk?