Lessons Learned Early

View This Path on Google Maps Clicking any of the numbered titles below will take you to the same map.

View All Paths Published to Date on Google Maps As the diary progresses, the entire journey becomes increasingly amazing.

View the First Ten Paths Without Popups This is a preview showing the path Hayes records in the diary up to age 22 without synopses.  Look at it in Google Earth if you can.

Requested photo places (see About Photo Requests):

– Sacramento, CA
– The Dock at Bandon, OR
– Mouth of the Coquille River, OR

Here and There diary Synopsis:

2.1  Kindness at Sacramento

December 1892

On the train to Sacramento, other passengers saw a fifteen-year-old boy, who looked even younger, traveling alone. Many shared food with him, so he was able to hoard his resources arriving in Sacramento with $1.65.

Upon arrival, some of the most down-and-out residents of the city recognized a boy adrift and responded with kindness as when a gambler handed him a dollar. Country life in Texas and Oregon had never introduced Hayes to a “fallen women.” They appeared to Hayes “the most beautiful girls I had ever seen,” and so many of them, “sitting at their casement windows, beckoning to passers-by.” To Hayes, obviously alone in the world, they always offered a coin, some food, or even a place to sleep. From these “waifs in the world,” the gambler, the prostitutes, Hayes learned that those with the least are often the most generous with what little they have.

2.2 A Walk Up to Marysville


Walking was a common mode of transportation in these days before the automobile. Still, 52 miles up to see the nearest town must have been a strenuous jaunt. Soon though, “the tutelage of more experienced wayfarers,” instructed Hayes in jumping trains. He rode the rails throughout the American west for years – as long as his conscience would allow.

2.3 Four Rough Years: Mining, Lumber Camps, Ranching


The diary compresses events of the early years of the 1890’s. He mentions working at mining, lumber camps, and ranches and speaks of staying with uncles for a time without saying where. His first job was cooking in a lumber camp for which he was not paid. The owner explained, “You are a minor, and all contracts are null and void.” He fell through a gap in a dock at Bandon, Oregon requiring two years to recover from his injuries. This brief gloss sums up the half decade

He does, however, record the lesson life taught him in these rough years: “The prizes of this life were to those who took them.” Those who wronged him, “were special objects to wreak vengeance upon.” Eventually, wronged or not, he determined that a smart man in an unjust world must take all he can by whatever means.

Perhaps the short paragraph covering these years indicates that the older author writing this portion of the diary was less than proud of the actions of his younger self.

2.4 Between Coos Bay and the Mouth of the Coquille River


At eighteen, Hayes meets a nice girl, two actually, one a cousin he “loved as a sister.” Apparently their influence elicited some self-reflection; in the same paragraph he mentions the girls, he says, “I began to realize I was wrong… [and] I turned from the worst of my evil life.”

Working the entire summer of 1897 at his uncle’s ranch pays $65; the crops are good but there is no market. Hayes describes the men of his father’s family as “high strung, quarrelsome, and somewhat tight in money matters.” They have some virtues: “they all worked hard, paid their debts and kept out of jail.” But this “fair record” doesn’t prevent Hayes from quarrels and departure at the end of the summer. From his uncles he learns another lesson: “in a quarrel someone must give in in the end” – so it is best to avoid conflict with those who love controversy.

During these years Hayes also tried his hand at trapping along the “desolate coast” of southern Oregon. But the blood and broken bones of these innocent animals turned him from making a living this way.

This completes Hayes’ recollections of his earliest years. From September 3, 1897 his diary continues with dated entries written as the remarkable events of his life unfold.

2 Responses to Lessons Learned Early

  1. His recollections and ensuing life lessons are striking. How old was he when he wrote these early entries recalling his youth?

    • johnmmartin says:

      He does not say when he added these early parts. My guess is that it was after 1936 when he settled in Norther California. But that is just a guess. Nice avatar.

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