4. San Francisco to Williams

View This Segment on Google Maps The numbered titles below also link to this same map.

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

View the First segment on Google maps You can view the numbered segments from first to most recent in the archive at right.

View the First Ten Segments 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):

– Mojave CA
– Randsburg CA
– Garlock CA
– Telescope Peak above Death Valley CA
– Kramer CA
– Harvey House at Needles CA
– Kingman AZ
– Williams AZ

Previous photo requests

Here and There diary Synopsis:

4.1 Orchard work at Stockton

September 18,1897

Walking nine miles eastward out of Stockton, Hayes and Marshall stumble onto a gang picking grapes, ask for work, and “are now a few dollars ahead.”  They eat well and sleep comfortably in a barn but scratch themselves raw with some kind of skin rash.  When not at the vineyard, the two stroll the Central Valley “selecting” fruit of every kind until no two men could eat their enormous windfall.

September 29, 1897

The two friends pop back over to see San Francisco again before parting ways.  Hayes could not wish for a finer traveling mate than Marshall, but “to get anywhere, to do the things one wishes to do, he must play the lone hand.”

Traveling alone now on his way to the mines in the Mojave, Hayes stops through Stockton where he finds some medical advice:  a hobo he meets in the rail yard informs him he has “crumbs” (Hayes’ quotes) or “in plain American, lice.”  Apparently mercurial ointment was available to indigent travelers in those days, Hayes anointed the seams of his clothing, his hair, and “a plentiful quantity elsewhere.”

4.2  Freight Trains to Mojave

October 3, 1897

While riding the rails towards Mojave, Hayes suffered a much more serious injury.  Initially all went smoothly; “an old miner” introduced Hayes to a conductor who, for a dollar, would let both men ride in the caboose.  Beyond Bakersfield they rode in the open air on the decks of boxcars listening to coyotes howl in the lonesome desert over Tehachapi pass.  The boxcar must have been near the smokestack, close enough that a cinder out of the stack caught Hayes in the eye nearly blinding him.

Hayes describes Mojave as little more than a junction between the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railways.  A couple of saloons, a store, restaurants, and a hotel for the affluent make a sorry little town where the tracks cross.  He does enjoy watching the gamblers practice their artistry of “beating the other fellow to it.”

4.3  Racing Coyotes to Garlock

October 5, 1897

Continuing on by stage, Hayes must part with his new friend the miner who, “had to invest his every remaining cent into alcoholic research in Mojave.”  Not to worry, when the money is gone, such an experienced miner will find ready work out here.

By contrast, his new traveling companions on the stage from Mojave fail to impress: “ A fancy lady of the evening, a gambler, a drunken miner or two.”  However, a pair of coyotes running along in front of the coach for miles charm him by cutting cross-country to the new road whenever the coach turns and leaping ahead at a crack of the driver’s whip.

The mines of Randsburg, ten miles further on, locate their stamp mills for crushing ore at Garlock because “water is near the surface here in quantity.”  At Garlock Hayes finds work developing a mine site for “a Mr. Worth, who has claims in the desert out toward Death Valley.”

4.4  Lonely Mountains as Far as the Eye Can See

October 8, 1897

The Panamints, the Slate Ranges, the Funeral Ranges, and even Telescope Peak rising above Death Valley “perhaps a hundred miles away,” stand lonely in the clear desert air.

Hayes has Worth and his partners, Dr. and Mrs. Garrison who run the mine, “sized up as crooks.”  The old lady speaks constantly of her son, “a preternaturally bright person.”  At least Hayes can learn from a buddy, Jack Nosser, “a grizzled old miner from the Black Hills of South Dakota” full of tales of his friends Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.  Hayes works a “whim” lifting material out of forty or fifty foot mine test shafts.

The food is not good:  bacon and beans.  And water costs two dollars a barrel.

October 20, 1897

One story Mrs. Garrison tells has her and Dr. Garrison confining their ten-year-old son Joe in a dark room for two years to slow his extravagant mental growth.  When Joe shows up looking like a tramp, Hayes has an opportunity to assess the cure:  “All I can say is, it was effective.”

As for Dr. Garrison, a teamster tells Hayes that Garrison practiced doctoring in Anaheim using a couple of “fast girls who set up most of the gay youth in the city.”  Garrison and the girls split the money Garrison made posing as “an expert at curing social diseases.”  Unbeknownst to the teamster, Dr. Garrison happened to be riding in the back of the wagon for this recitation.  Both ended with red faces.

October 29, 1897

Jack, the miner from South Dakota, has decided to quit.  When making his announcement at breakfast, Jack kicked Hayes under the table and both gave notice together.  The “old lady” is so full of lies about her famous relations, Hayes can’t resist delivering one last whopper of his own.  “I have to lie in sheer self defense.”  He knows Mrs. Garrison doesn’t believe his tale of seeing five men hung with a single pull, but, “the last liar always has a tremendous advantage.”  He and Jack will be off with the teamster when he comes round again on his regular route.

4.5  Prospectors at Randsburg

October 31, 1897

Jack and Hayes catch a ride most of the way to Randsburg.  A few years previously, “a $600 nugget was found near Red Rock”; now mines dot the landscape looking for its source.  Most are barren, a few are “stringers,” with narrow unpredictable veins, but “the big thing is the Yellow Aster” from which much ore will be taken after all the stringers peter out.

Another kind of prospector works this area as well – a real estate agent, who Hayes describes as “lower than the pimps who prey on girls in the houses of prostitution,” offers lots for sale in Johannesburg, a town just east of Randsburg on a better location.

By now Hayes considers himself knowledgeable about the “tricks of poker, seven up, and lots of games.”  In the gambling houses, easy money can be won from an inexperienced player, especially if he’s drunk.  But then Hayes runs into a real professional, loses all his easy money, but wins a bit of free advice:  “ If you work don’t gamble, and if you gamble don’t work.  We are not here for our health.”  (Hayes’ quotes.)

4.6  Snookering a Brakeman at Barstow

November 3, 1897

Nothing going on at Randsburg grabs Hayes’ attention enough to hold him there.  The rail line is not near, but walking suits him to begin with.

Along the course of his twenty-eight mile walk through the desert toward a station on the Santa Fe line at Kramer, Hayes passes another “real estate proposition” called St. Elmo.  He sees no houses, no water, no possibility for a town, only white sticks marking lots and streets.  His own need for water in this dangerously desolate region pushes him hurriedly toward Kramer.

Immediately after hopping a passing freight train at Kramer, a watchful brakeman assesses Hayes a 25¢ bribe to let him ride.  Protesting penury, Hayes talks the fee down to 10¢ so he’ll have 15¢ to eat at Barstow.

Instead of spending his 15¢ upon arrival, Hayes trades a couple of hours cleaning up for a meal at the Santa Fe Harvey House.  While he’s at the mop, the train crew enters for dinner.  After pretentiously and unsuccessfully asking everyone at the table to change his twenty dollar gold piece, the brakeman inquires sarcastically if Hayes might help him out.  With some satisfaction, Hayes reports, “I accommodated him.”  The brakeman can say nothing in the presence of his conductor for fear he’ll be censured for “carrying hobos.”

4.7  A Long Ride to Needles

November 5, 1897

Just as Hayes hops a freighter in Barstow, he sees his brakeman sent out on the same train.  With a pretty good suspicion Hayes must be on board, the brakeman looks everywhere except into the feed rack of the cattle car where Hayes lies just out of reach the horns of the wild steers below.

Seventeen hours and 172 miles later, “sidetracked for every train on the way,” having eaten nothing and drunk only at a darkened way station, Hayes and the train pull into Needles.

And who enters the Harvey House at Needles the next evening just as Hayes sits down to supper?  His brakeman, “who beefed in a semi-serious way” about the fifteen cents and the twenty dollar gold piece.  “But I paid for his meal, and all was lovely again.”

4.8  Cold in Williams

November 7, 1897

Hayes jumps another train to Kingman and then pays fare to Williams, “a town kept by a large sawmill,” where he’d like to find work.  But for now, he takes a job at “an eating house” run by a bullying woman who is never satisfied except with her drunken son and sanctified daughter.  The girl’s job as a typist, her engagement to “some clerk,” and, “worse,” her attendance at mass, place her “in a set as far above us common stiffs as lies between her and the angels.”

Bill Williams explored this region of Arizona where a great mountain rises more than 12,000 feet high, “so they say.”  At this altitude and at this time of year, snow lies on the ground and Hayes complains, “my light underwear is insufficient to keep me warm.”

But the town should heat up pretty soon when payday arrives.  Checks are cashed at the saloon, “and every man must show his appreciation by spending most of his pay there.”

November 20, 1897

Temperatures are below zero most of the time now, but Hayes has outdoor work at the mill driving a horse, “hauling slabs from the conveyor to the lath mill and box factory,” and has acclimated to the cold.  He sleeps in a “ram pasture bunk house,” crowded in with “Cotty and Irish and Sam and Jerry and so many more.”  Some of the men are well educated, smart enough anyway to play a friendly game of cards at night in the bunkhouse away from the sharp Arizona gamblers who trained in the boomtowns of Tombstone, Jerome, Globe, and Bisbee.

December 2, 1897

Hayes moves to a small cabin with “a couple of pals,” and a foot of snow outside.  One of the pals recounts his companionship with William Henry McCarty who died in New Mexico sixteen years previously.  According to the friend, McCarty, better known as “Billy the Kid”, was, “a quiet unassuming young man who minded his business and was the last man on earth one would consider a super killer.”

When the company hires a man for ten hours a day, seven days a week, this means ten hours a day, seven days a week actually hauling slabs.  A driver cares for his horse on his own time.  Tending a horse late into the night suits Hayes; nothing else to do other than saloons, gambling houses, and “a bagnio or two for the lustful lumberjacks.”  He wonders where these girls come from to do this work in these remote forsaken places.

December 13, 1897

In the increasingly cold weather, a railroad tunnel on the Santa Fe line east of Williams has collapsed.  The rail line pays a dollar an hour to any man willing to risk dangerous work clearing the tunnel; four have died so far.

Now it is Hayes’ turn to advise a gambler:  Ed Abbot, “a professional gambler and a member of Soapy Smith’s gang,” flat broke, bummed a dollar from Hayes and ran it to $6.50 at the roulette wheel.  Double down or buy some shoes?  Hayes advised the shoes and by swiping a pair of gloves while at the mercantile, Abbot has clothing enough for a job, “and he will actually work for a while, believe it or not.”

4.9 Colder in Williams

December 26, 1897

Working seven days a week at the mill includes Christmas day in temperatures far below zero with icicles “a foot long” hanging from the horse’s mouth.  But at least they put on a good feed:  “roast pork and trimmings and lots of other junk.”

Work didn’t take for Ed Abbot.  Hearing Abbot suffered a bad cut in the mill, Hayes hurries to check on him only to find the gambler grinning from ear to ear with a hand “full of bills of large size.”  Abbot crows he’s cleaned out “Dugan’s dump,” sent Dugan to the bar for more money, and won that too.  Now Abbot begs Hayes to come along for more, “you always bring me luck.  We’ll clean up on the whole town.”  At the end of a long night, Abbot holds hundreds of dollars.  No house anywhere in Williams will take another bet against his lucky streak.  With all that money in his pocket, Abbot hops a freight headed toward the Klondike in Alaska.  “Said Soapy was there somewhere and he would join him.”

January 20, 1898

So much time in one place makes Hayes restless.  He won’t gamble but he likes to hang around and watch the games especially immediately after payday.  The “main joint at Kelley’s” imports girls from Los Angeles to “maul the piano and drum up trade for the place.”  He says, one of the girls, Milly O’brien, “was nice to me, me being the only kid in the place.”  The continuation of that same paragraph calmly reports that a gambler dissatisfied that Milly would sell him no more than a single  $20 hour, “swatted her over the head with a gun, laying the scalp down over her eyes with blood running like water.”  Somebody must have intervened; the gambler is in jail at Flagstaff awaiting trial and transfer to the severe prison at Yuma.

February 10,1898

Though he describes the wedding cynically, Hayes seems pleased that Milly O’brien came immediately on happier days.  She wore, “Orange blossoms and crepe de chine and all the flimsy stuff women wear,” marrying Sandy Grogan of Flagstaff in “the society event of the year.”  The gambler got off easy too.  When asked, Milly told the judge her $20 an hour rate, to which he replied, “Don’t you think that is pretty steep?”  (Hayes’ quotes.).  Instead of the prison at Yuma, the judge gave the gambler a reprimand and a fine.  “Such is high society in Arizona.”

At some point Hayes had his diaries typed.  An entry on this date appears out of order.  In February he describes, “the strangest New Year I have ever heard of this time.”  First the train and mill whistles blowing started the coyotes harmonizing, then, “at the Cocnino Bar some hound slipped in and put a bit of limburger on top of the stove.”  Drunks were vomiting, the bar had to be closed, and there was talk of lynching.

February 20, 1898

The bitterly cold weather prevents hopping a train, but Hayes wants to quit this place and go visit his mother and sisters in Texas.  The railway charges $40 from San Francisco to El Paso with no reduction for boarding at Williams.  The mill pays $1.75 a day, with half subtracted for board.  Hayes won’t pay a railroad 53 days hard work when he can jump a freight for free and it’s too cold to ride, so he’ll just have to wait it out in Williams

Occasionally Hayes records an extremely dark entry into the diary.  Stuck in this high, cold Arizona mill town, he writes a long paragraph about the women he sees made prematurely old by their terrible lives of prostitution and of old “miners, prospectors, cowboys, and other adventurers,” reduced to menial labor to scrape together a few coins for liquor.  He concludes, “I wonder if I will be like this when I am old?  Better a thousand times I die first.”

March 2, 1898

Still stuck in Williams.  The mill pays monthly and March is five weeks this year, but “I will have that much more cash and the weather will be better.”


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