5. Williams to Hico

I’d like to try a new format making it easier to go directly to the map with popups.  I think it will appear immediately below.  Scroll down if you don’t want to click the balloons on the map.  Enlarging the map will make the popups fit better.

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

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):

– Gallup NM
– Isleta NM
– Las Cruces NM  (filled)
– El Paso TX   (filled)
– Juarez Mexico

Previous photo requests

Here and There diary Synopsis:

5.1  Quit After All

March 7, 1898

Whatever made Hayes change his mind about quitting happened an hour after payday.  He showed up late, was advised by the bookkeeper to say nothing to “the old man” about leaving, and managed to get his previous month’s salary.  He pocketed the money, jumped a freight for one ride all the way to Gallup, New Mexico, and “almost froze all the way.”

Throughout the diary Hayes makes broad stereotypical remarks based on race, ethnicity and national origin.  Often his remarks are derogatory to native people, as in the entry on this date.  Because this edited version of his diary is intended for readers of all ages, I am choosing to omit those types of remarks even though these omissions will give a sanitized picture of Hayes and of the times in which he lived.  For historians interested in this particular aspect of his diary, unedited copies are available in various museums.

5.2  Hungry Enough to Eat a Four Horned Sheep

March 10, 1898

Of course Hayes cannot always outsmart the railroad conductors and brakemen.  He caught a freight shortly after arriving in Islet (sic) “but was ditched half a mile out and had to hike back to this place.”  The locals had “a four horned sheep tied up as a curiosity,” and Hayes is so hungry he and another boy seriously discuss butchering it for a meal.  Instead, he “managed to buy a little food,” to get by while looking for the next eastbound train.

5.3  Too Near the Fire

March 14, 1898

On the trip south to Las Cruces, Hayes “doubled up with a German who speaks such broken English I can scarcely understand him.”  In some cold desert place alongside the rail line, the two men slept huddled so near a small fire Hayes’ clothing burst into flame.  “Dutch,” the German speaking companion, put it out but not before both Hayes’ hands suffered burns.

Organ Mountains East of Los Cruces
photo by Mary Katherine Ray of Southern NM, 2008

Burned, sleepless, and cold from exposure, Hayes writes, “I’m tired of this bumming along the railways.”  In fact, his money earned at the sawmill, more than enough to pay train fare home to Hico, survived the fire.  But he refuses to pay fare on principle:  “the railroads are so greedy one wants to beat them back”

5.4  Walking Pneumonia in Hico

March 17, 1898

As his freighter pulls into El Paso, Hayes sees several police officers searching the train for vagrant riders.  Fortunately, a Mexican worker carrying a heavy can of milk comes by – evidently in need of help.  “I lined up on his other side, paying no attention to the torrent of Spanish he handed me.”  The “railway bulls” give the unlikely pair suspicious glares but the milkman gets assistance and Hayes makes it clear of the rail yard – just far enough to collapse into a hotel room with pneumonia.

Mt. Cristo Rey, El Paso TX
photo by Mary Katherine Ray, 2010

March 23, 1898

The Texas doctor Hayes eventually visited diagnosed walking pneumonia and recommended him to the county hospital for the indigent.  Hayes will pay his way when the price is fair.  Surprised that his scruffy young patient had any money at all, the doctor charged only two dollars.

If you’re Hayes Perkins, walking pneumonia means ignore the pain in your side and walk across the border to see what Juarez looks like.  Very much like the north side of the border: “saloons, cribs filled with painted women and many gambling houses.”  Maybe more burros and chickens in the streets.

5.5  Goodbye to Mother and Sisters

March 30,1898

Despite the dangers of cold, fire, illness and possible arrest he faces jumping trains, Hayes hates to shirk his, “public duty to beat [the railways] if possible.”  Evidently though, pneumonia and burned hands are enough to compromise duty for the moment; he pays fare to Hico where his, “mother and sisters have changed.”

The girls, Jennie and May older, then Annie, Memrie, Pearl, and Vance younger, have all “increased in stature and knowledge.  Mother and father have divorced and now live in two sides of a divided house.  His father “accosted” Hayes in the Post Office, “but I ignored him.”

That one paragraph is all he has to say about his family after a five-year absence.  The flowers are blooming beautifully on the Texas plains.  Everyone talks of the big gold strike in the Yukon.  War will soon be declared with Spain.  These observations all get more space in the diary than word of the family.

April 10, 1898

The pneumonia flared up again and Hayes swears he’s done hopping freight trains.  “I have paid for it times over in money as well as in health.”  Ten days reunion with the family has him itching for the road again.  He’s rebuffed all his father’s attempts at reconciliation.  Perhaps he returned home to show his father that, “at twenty I’m big enough to stand him off.”

But where to go?  Kansas City?  Seattle?  The Klondike?  The last would be a fool’s game:   “If there is good ground there, it has long since been taken as in every rush that ever happened in this world.”  No firm decision yet, “but I’ll have a fling at something.”

April 20, 1898

On the day of his departure, “Mother is in an agony of worry.”  She supports the six girls by taking in washing, menial work held in lowest regard.  Hayes records two sentences touching on his own sense of responsibility to stay and help his mother support the girls:  “I would like to make enough to keep her in comfort, also my sisters.  But work is hard to find and money is slippery to hold on to.”  Three days later he is in Kansas City.

2 Responses to 5. Williams to Hico

  1. John S. says:

    John, another good entry. Probably a good idea to leave out the stereotypical remarks! I still can’t believe that all this is happening to him and he’s only 20 at the time.

    • johnmmartin says:

      Thank you John. The amazing thing is that this stuff is all very tame compared to where he’s heading. By the time he’s 24 he’ll have sailed around The Horn twice. That’s just to the middle of volume 1 of the 5 volumes.

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