One More Train to Ride:
The Underground World of Modern American Hoboes
Indiana University Press, 2003, 163 pages

by Cliff Williams (Oats)

Life stories, poems, songs, and drawings by current and recent hoboes




"Something in us wants to hike away from all these enormously complicated arrangements 
and head for the west side of town and hop an empty boxcar heading for the coast. One 
More Train to Ride is a memorial to that urge to roam free and to the men and women 
who’ve made that hike and taken the ride. It’s elegant and satisfying, and there’s one more 
reason not to take the ride: hoboes tend not to have extensive libraries. Stay home and 
read this book about the noble hobo."   – Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion

"One More Train to Ride is a riveting tale of the American hobo of today, drawn from 
intimate interviews with fourteen contemporary ‘knights of the road.’ The experiences 
of these men and women touch the very core of American freedom and individualism. 
Williams does a splendid job of capturing the words and tone of his subjects, providing 
a wonderful and often moving insight into the daily life and philosophy of the modern 
hobo."   – Errol Lincoln Uys, author of Riding the Rails

"One More Train to Ride is by turns moving, saddening, and inspiring."   – Craig Clarke,


Contents

Foreword by Gypsy Moon                                                                  "Sitting Around Our Little Fires" Oklahoma Slim
"Catchin’ Out for Freedom" Guitar Whitey                                       B
The Texas Madman                                                                             Photos
What Is a Hobo?                                                                                   A Hobo Story
"One More Train to Ride" Hobo Liberty Justice                               "The Hobo and His Bedroll" Bo Britt Eddie
New York Slim                                                                                      Preacher Steve
What Is It Like to Be on a Moving Freight Train?                             Good Turns
"Roving" Gideon                                                                                   "Making a Nighttime Run" The Texas Madman
Dante Fuchwa                                                                                       New York Grizzly
Catching a Moving Boxcar                                                                  Hobo Advice
"The Hobo’s Heart" Virginia Slim                                                       "There’s a Little Bit of Tex in Me" Hood River Blackie
Frog                                                                                                       Iwegan
Waiting for a Train                                                                               Roll Call of the Departed
"A Woman on the Go" Cinderbox Cindy                                           "A Hobo’s Remembrance" Luther the Jet
Shayla                                                                                                    Road Hog
Philosophy of Hoboing                                                                       Hobo Songs
"Clearing the Yard" Bo Britt Eddie                                                     "Softly by Tracks" Buzz Potter
Stretch                                                                                                  Raquel
Arrested                                                                                               Death and Injury on the Rails
"Shanty by the Main" Iowa Blackie                                                     "The Road to Nowhere" Dr. Poet
Hobo Monikers                                                                                    Adman
Shortstop                                                                                             "Hobo’s Lament" Virginia Slim
Drawing by Shortstop                                                                         "A Bindle Stiff’s Last Ride" Drummond Mansfield
In the Jungle                                                                                          Drawing by Drummond Mansfield


From the Foreword by Gypsy Moon

"The ‘boes who have contributed to this collection have entrusted Oats with their precious 
memoirs and their most personal work. And he has, in turn, listened with a sensitive ear 
and an insightful heart, compiling a revealing book that speaks poignantly about their 
desire for freedom and about the risks, consequences, joys, and hardships that they 
endure along the way. "If you have ever felt a spark of wanderlust in your heart, accept 
the invitation: Pull up a log, turn the page, and let the fire of the hobo community shine 
on your face."


Excerpts

Frog: "I got itchy feet. What keeps me going is the wanderlust."
New York Slim: "One of the reasons that most people ride trains, why most people 
hobo, is because they don’t fit in. I found the only place in my life that I ever fit is out here."
Dante Fuchwa: "There’s nothing out there that I want to do more than riding. That is 
the utmost freedom."
Shayla: "You get so sheltered when you stay in one place. . . . I want to live my life to 
the fullest."
New York Grizzly: "I don’t know what drives me. I have to keep moving. I feel 
compelled to do that, and I don’t know why."


Excerpt from "Softly by Tracks" by Buzz Potter

The train passes by and there’s mist in my eye
And it’s not from the soft falling rain
And I know I’ll be back to this place by the track
To watch freedom go by on the train






History of the book

Cliff Williams has been attending the annual National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, 
since 1990. When word got out among the hoboes that he was a college professor, 
Steamtrain Maury Graham, a patriarch of hobo culture, asked him if he would publish 
a booklet of hobo poetry. He agreed, founding The Hobo Press and publishing 
Around the Jungle Fire I in 1994 and Around the Jungle Fire II in 1997. Around 
the Jungle Fire III, which was published in 2000, contained life-stories of six current 
hoboes. One More Train to Ride contains material from these three booklets. Copies 
of the first booklet are still avaliable—click here.


Websites with links to other hobo websites:

       Hobos News



Recent books on hoboes

Ted Conover, Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes (Vintage 
       Books, 1981)
Eddy Joe Cotton, Hobo: A Young Man’s Thoughts on Trains and Tramping in America 
       (Harmony Books, 2002)
Duffy Littlejohn, Lonesome Whistle (Zephyr Rhoades Press, 2002)
Gypsy Moon, Done and Been: Steel Rail Chronicles of American Hobos (Indiana 
       University Press, 1996)
Errol Lincoln Uys, Riding the Rails: Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression 
       (TV Books, 1999)
Guitar Whitey, Ridin’ Free (Zephyr Rhoades Press, 2002)


Radio Interview with Cliff Williams:



Hobo Convention Songs

At hobo conventions, hoboes tell stories of their travels, talk, and sing. Here are the 
words to two songs from 1900 and 1921.


About the author

Cliff Williams (Oats) teaches philosophy at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, after 
having taught philosophy at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, from 1982 to 2013. 
He has published a number of articles and book reviews in professional journals, 


Contact information:

Prof. Cliff Williams
Department of Philosophy
Wheaton College
Wheaton, IL 60015
Oats1943@juno.com


© 2012 Cliff Williams