2.1 September 7, 1907 – October 16,1907

February 26, 2012

Hi all, Volume II is every bit as adventurous as Volume I:  the Yukon gold rush, Australia and New Guinea, and back to Africa.  I’ve streamlined the text a little bit.  I’m still trying to convince the reluctant of the inestimable value of the maps.  The currently sparse Google Earth version will soon show Hayes’ first circumnavigation of the globe.  At least click to the site to see the flat map.

You will recall that in September of 1907 Hayes has just departed Africa, sick, disillusioned, and broken-hearted.

Download Volume II in google earth.

September 7, 1907 – October 16,1907

In August of 1907, forced from Africa by Malaria, outrage at colonial injustice, and his steadfast refusal to trade in liquor, Hayes fled north to Liverpool. He had planned no destination beyond that “dirty, windy city” – only a retreat to heal the wounds suffered in Africa.

If Hayes can be said to have a home in 1907, or at least a center from which his adventures radiated, it would be the Southern California coast. With little volition of his own, San Francisco drew Hayes back, Los Angeles restored his health, and a small town near the Mexican border offered him farming work.

From Liverpool he sailed third class in the “Asiatic steerage” on The Empress of Britain across wild seas bringing his ever-attendant mal de mer. Once across the Atlantic, in the relative calm in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Hayes and some fellows had recovered their sea legs enough for a small prank:  before every meal, the immigrant passengers jammed down a small passageway leading to the ship’s one dining saloon. “Yesterday a half dozen of us slipped down in the first lot and waited for the crush. When the doors opened, we seized hold of the handrails on either side of the alleyway leading to the saloon and watched them pile up. We won’t do it again, for my ribs are stoved in and very sore.”

SS Empress of Britain in 1905
SS Empress of Britain 1905

Feeling “old and beaten,” with “no heart to face the crowd in the United States, who will say I am a failure,” Hayes dawdles a day in Quebec to allow the shipboard immigrants a day’s head start toward Montreal. He knows the immigrant train has cold, hard, steel seats. If that train gets away, with luck the next “might have velvet cushions to ride on to Vancouver.” But Quebec was not a lucky city in September of 1907; the center span of a massive bridge construction had collapsed just before Hayes arrived.

Quebec Bridge Collapse of 1907
Quebec Bridge Collapse of 1907

Even after touring the wreckage for a day, Hayes had no luck avoiding the immigrants either.  He joined them on the steel seats at Montreal for the long ride across what he describes as “desolation all the way from Ottawa to Winnipeg.” The scenery improved in Western Canada, but after seven day’s rail journey across the continent, Hayes arrived to a Vancouver convulsed by race riot: “I find myself in the midst of a riot that approaches war. The workers of Vancouver are raging tonight, tearing down store fronts of Chinese and Japanese business houses, tossing belligerent Japs in the bay, beating up Chinese and breaking all the windows in the Asiatic quarter.”

Damage done by the Asiatic Exclusion League
Damage done by the Asiatic Exclusion League
Vancouver, Canada 1907

After the rioting settled, Hayes left Vancouver, a city still “ominous of trouble” sailing on the Puebla, “an old time wooden vessel plying this coastal run” to San Francisco. In the year since the great fire, San Francisco already rises from the ashes – emphatically unionized! “And woe be to the reckless fool who does not join a union on arrival… he will wake up in a hospital, or in a back street so badly beaten he will never be right again.”

Not a union man, and not liking hospitals, Hayes continued on to Los Angeles on the Hanalei, “an antiquated steam schooner that carries a few passengers on the side.” Down to $170 on arrival, he needed:  first, the return of his health; second, a job; and third, no company of any old friend. A week in Los Angeles provided the return to health, but “is the last place in the world to look for [a job] these days.” Feeling strong again, Hayes beat it out to Holtville in the Sonoran Desert and a job driving four mules clearing land for cultivation.

In six months he’ll be in the Yukon Territory, Alaska.

Advertisements