10 February 2010

A Man of Means by No Means...


From the Montreal Gazette on this day in 1938:

'Hobo King' Pays Fare To Sail on Queen Mary
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New York, February 9. - (AP) - Jeff Davis, self-styled King of the Hoboes [sic], arrived in New York "on the rods" today and departed for England amid the streamlined luxury of the liner Queen Mary.

The rail-riding sovereign of North America's "Weary Willies" sailed to attend an international convention of hoboes [sic] "some place in England."

Jeff has a grievance. He's mad, he said, about the misunderstanding about "the most misunderstood man in North America." He meant the hobo. The hobo, it seems, is not a tramp and by no means a bum. There's a difference.

"A hobo is willing to work a little, and split what money he has," Jeff defined. "But a tramp - now, a tramp will never work and thinks the world owes him a living. A bum is a man who can't work."

Davis said that while he is abroad, he is going to attempt to have the English dictionaries give a true definition of the hobo.

The head man of the "willing to work a little" Bedouins said that while he was riding the rods last night from Chicago to New York, a hobo delegation met him at Altoona, Pa., and gave him a purse of $300 to pay his passage to Europe and back, third class.

"I wouldn't have taken it," he said, "if there was any way I could ride the rods on the Queen Mary."

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