About the Hayes Perkins Geobiography

Hayes Perkins  (1878 –1964) traveled the world from 1893 to 1936, working to pay his way, rarely staying more than a few months in any one place, and all the while keeping an extensive diary titled Here and There that ran to nearly two thousand pages. The full diary has never been published.

Though my grandfather John Donaldson was one generation and twenty-one years younger than Hayes, the two were close cousins.  Just before his death, Hayes called John Donaldson south from Bandon, Oregon to Pacific Grove, California to give him two copies of the diaries, one for John and one for John’s sister Mary Donaldson.  A copy of the diaries came to me, John Martin, from Ruth Engelbart, John Donaldson’s daughter.

Abbreviated Perkins Family Tree

Since first reading the diaries in the 1970’s, I’ve wanted to trace “Uncle” Hayes’ wanderings on a globe.  The google maps and google earth technology now makes such a “geo-biography” relatively easy to construct and share.  I will publish his 43 year wanderings serially in short segments with ordered place marks indicating places he stayed.

Blog entries will announce publication of new sections of the diary as google maps links. Clicking a place mark will pop up dates, photos, and synopses of diary entries for that place.  From google maps, with  google earth plugin installed, you can click to google earth to view Hayes’ path on the globe. For those who want only a written synopsis of the diary, I will post the text of all the popups in the body of blog entries as well.

To receive email notification when a new segement of the diary is posted for viewing, please click in the email subscription box and follow Hayes on his truly astonishing path around the world.

20 Responses to About the Hayes Perkins Geobiography

  1. mary martin says:

    Great reading. I never knew you were so interested in Hayes when you were in your 20ies. MM

  2. johnmmartin says:

    Thanks Mom, Yeah, it captured my attention even then. Had to wait until retirement to get to it. Fortunate that the technology caught up with my ambition.

  3. mike gimigliano says:

    I have a research project – Frank Preston,deep friendship with a Hayes Perkins in W. Pa. Do we have thee same person? Please feel free to e-mail me. Thanks,Mike

  4. mike gimigliano says:

    Was Hayes associated with Frank Preston in western PA? Please e-mail me -Mike

  5. John says:

    Big John — nice work. A cinder in the eye does NOT sound like a good time, especially not in 1897.

  6. what an interesting project!

  7. jerry hurlbert says:

    Thank you for taking on this project. I lived across the street from your Uncle from about 1939 until about 1954 when the place he was living was sold. He was a good friend and a great asset to the CIty of Pacific Grove. He told me some of his sea faring stories when I was about 10 years old and I’ve always wanted to know “the rest of the story”.

    Jerry Hurlbert

    • johnmmartin says:

      Hey Jerry, Very good to meet you. “The rest of the story” is pretty magnificent. So far I’ve published the synopsis for about half of the first of five 400 page diaries. I’d be very interested in hearing any stories or personal information you might have about Hayes. When I was about 20 I toured through the flowers at Pacific Grove that Hayes planted and tended. I’d very much like to get back there and meet you and any one else who might have known Hayes.

  8. jerry says:

    Hi John:

    If you walked the path above the rocks where the sign “Perkins Park” is placed, or near the rock with the brass plaque on it, you were within about 150 feet of the “house” he lived in for about 15 years. His home was a converted wash house, about 8 feet wide and twice that long, that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Brattin. As a child I would never have thought he had any money since his clothing was always “well used,” but reading your synopsis of his writing, it seems he may have become fairly well off. I don’t know if he paid the Brattins any rent, but he did do most of their gardening. During the war (WW II ) he came across the street and did some gardening for us when he thought my mother was letting the yard get out of hand. That irritated her and I’m not sure but what they may have had some words. In those days, she did not care for the fact that he was planting non-native iceplants and other moisture loving imports along the Bay, but later in her 90’s she often forgot and bragged about the PG oceanfront. (It IS beautiful, and uniquely identifiable.) In my own genealogy stories I have written a little about “Mr. Perkins.” I will relay it to you as time presents.

    • johnmmartin says:

      HI Jerry, Yes I remember seeing that plaque when at the park many years ago. Hayes never did become well off. In the 1930’s he was broke from traveling the world, in his fifties, and wondering how he could possibly manage in his later years. He became the caretaker of zoos at San Simeon for about three years and saved enough for his retirement to Pacific Grove. Thank you for filling in where he was during those years. The diaries cease in 1936. I know that he went to Butler PA to work for Frank Preston for a few years after that. Do you have photos of that 8×16 house (or any other photos with Hayes)? I suppose that small house was quite comfortable for someone of his modest ways. Tending your mother’s yard unbidden seems completely in character. I saw that you subscribed to the blog. Thank you. I am wondering how you came across it?

  9. jerry says:

    Good morning John:

    I will put everything I know about Hayes right here since I think it’s absolutely the perfect place for it to fit in with his own story, however there will be things I would like to discuss with you “off-blog” before I make them public. My email address associated with this blog is jh7727@hotmail.com. If you don’t mind sending me an email, we can get into a less public dialogue.

  10. Stéphane Simard says:

    Mr. Martin
    I was searching anything that has to do with the steamship Thrasher, and just landed on your project (via google). It is a magnificient project that you are creating. It is, in a way,the library of our ancetors! For my part I have to tell you why I am specificaly searching about the Thrasher. I grew up in Montréal,Québec, Canada, from a french canadian father and an North West Territory Eskimo mother.
    The Thrasher belong to The Pacific Steam Whaling Co. circa 1884-1905.
    Many men from Cap Verde (Island at the shore of Africa) where hired as salesman,cook, boatstearer etc. Capverdean are a blend of African and Portugeese due to the slavery that the portugees did for more than 400 years over there. The father of my grand-father, Antonio Constantino Silva was one of them. He was 7 feet tall, about the size of a tall senegales man, and dark skin with a portugeese face…. around 1880 he decided to quit the starving Island for a better life and found himself in the USA. At that time the whaling industry was also starving from too many hunt…there was no whales anymore…until someone find out a new whale sancuary in the arctic.
    Antonio Constantino Silva got a job on the Thrasher as a boastearer and headed for the Bearing sea. The hunt went pretty well until they realised it was too late to go beck down in the pacific, so the ship got caught in the ice.
    I won’t tell you about the birds & the bees & the flowers & the trees but guess what happen? Antonio Constantino Silva get very close to a local eskimo women…she got pregnant! After the winter, the ship came back home in San Francisco, only to go once again in the artic. So when Antonio Constantino Silva came back, my grand father was already born!
    Silva did go back and forth more than 5 years until he decided to live forever in San Francisco ( with 2 or 3 younger of his sons, that the end of my info about him) but my grand father did stayed in Toktoyaktok.
    He told my mother that the last name Constantino Silva was too long and too hard to pronounce for the locals that he took the ship’s name as his last name. That is why my mother’s name is Julia Thrasher. And all the Inuit Thrasher you will meet comes from that ship. The same ship Hayes Perkins is talking about. I like it!
    Thank you

    Stéphane Simard

  11. johnmmartin says:

    Wow, Stéphane, That is an amazing story. I’m wondering if it would be all right with you if I forward it to another friend I’ve met through this diary? Jean – who is a genealogist I hadn’t met before beginning the Hayes Perkins project – whom I now know is my cousin. I know she would appreciate that amazing story about the name Thrasher and your lineage. I will also ask my brother, who has recently read all five diary volumes, if Hayes ever stopped at Cape Verde. I don’t think he ever made is as far north as Toktoyaktok in Alaska.

  12. Stéphane Simard says:

    In fact Toktoyatok ( it mean THE ISLAND THAT LOOKS LIKE A CARIBOO) is in NorthWest Territories in Canada. I have some relatives over there, you will find many Thrashers.
    Talk to you later
    Stéphane Simard

    • johnmmartin says:

      Yes, Stphane, so sorry, when I looked for Toktoyatok on the map I wasn’t attentive to the borders. Thank you for the correction. I’d like to see the northern lights some day. Perhaps I’ll meet a Thrasher.


  13. Mike G says:

    I may have a hunting picture in Africa, late 20’s with Frank Preston. Let me know if you are still involved and interested. Mike at Preston Laboratories

    • johnmmartin says:

      Thanks Mike, sorry for the long silence – I would be most excited to see this photo. Those guys were quite a pair.

  14. Kami Horton says:

    I am interested in using some of your material for a documentary. Can you please email me? Many thanks.

  15. Catherine Carpenter-Bartley says:

    I am very excited to learn more about the man we called Mr. Perkins. He was a friend of my grandfather (A. B. Jacobsen of Pacific Grove),I have several photos of him and a letter he wrote while visiting Peru.

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