One More Train to Ride: The Underground World of Modern American Hoboes

Cliff Williams (Oats)

Indiana University Press, 2003, 163 pages

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,

The Green Man Review


Foreword by Gypsy Moon

"Catchin’ Out for Freedom" Guitar Whitey

The Texas Madman

What Is a Hobo?

"One More Train to Ride" Hobo Liberty Justice

New York Slim

What Is It Like to Be on a Moving Freight Train?

"Roving" Gideon

Dante Fuchwa

Catching a Moving Boxcar

"The Hobo’s Heart" Virginia Slim


Waiting for a Train

"A Woman on the Go" Cinderbox Cindy


Philosophy of Hoboing

"Clearing the Yard" Bo Britt Eddie



"Shanty by the Main" Iowa Blackie

Hobo Monikers


Drawing by Shortstop

In the Jungle

"Sitting Around Our Little Fires" Oklahoma Slim



A Hobo Story

"The Hobo and His Bedroll" Bo Britt Eddie

Preacher Steve

Good Turns

"Making a Nighttime Run" The Texas Madman

New York Grizzly

Hobo Advice

"There’s a Little Bit of Tex in Me" Hood River Blackie


Roll Call of the Departed

"A Hobo’s Remembrance" Luther the Jet

Road Hog

Hobo Songs

"Softly by Tracks" Buzz Potter


Death and Injury on the Rails

"The Road to Nowhere" Dr. Poet


"Hobo’s Lament" Virginia Slim

"A Bindle Stiff’s Last Ride" Drummond Mansfield

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."


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

Buy this book from Indiana University Press

Buy this book from

History of the book

Cliff Williams attended the annual National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa, for nearly twenty years, beginning in 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 available—click here.

Websites with links to other hobo websites

Hobos News

The Hobo Minstrel

Other 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

WILL AM June 9, 2004 The Afternoon Magazine

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) taught philosophy for fifty years, including at Wheaton College in
Wheaton, Illinois, from 2013-2018, and at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, from
1982 to 2013. He has published a number of articles and book reviews in professional
journals, plus
other books.

Contact information: cliffwilliams30 at gmail dot com

© 2012 Cliff Williams