"Reefer Charlie" Fox rode the rails from 1928 to 1939; from 1939 to 1965 he hitched rides in automobiles and traveled by foot. From Indiana to British Columbia, from Arkansas to Texas, from Utah to Mexico, he was part of the grand hobo tradition that has all but passed away from American life.
He camped in hobo jungles, slept under bridges and in sand houses at railroad yards, ate rattlesnake meat, fresh California grapes, and fish speared by the Indians of the Northwest. He quickly learned both the beauty and the dangers of his chosen way of life. One lesson learned early on was that there are distinct differences among hoboes, tramps, and bums. As the all-time king of hoboes, Jeff Davis, used to say, "Hoboes will work, tramps won't, and bums can't."
Tales of an American Hobo is a lasting legacy to conventional society, teaching about a bygone era of American history and a rare breed of humanity who chose to live by the rails and on the road.
Singular Lives: The Iowa Series in North American Autobiography
University of Iowa Press
Biography, Tramps, Vagabonds
Copyright © 1989 by the University of Iowa Press. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Fox, Charles Elmer. Tales of an American Hobo. University of Iowa Press, 1989.