19. San Francisco to Liverpool

June 5, 2011

The rain in Eureka prevents Hayes from recovering fully from the ravages of his last trip around the horn,  so he rides cross country to see the family in Galveston and from there – signs on to sail to Liverpool again!

(If you aren’t seeing a map in the email, please click the title above)

Click here for links to maps and downloads of more maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

19.1 Loggings at the Slough in Eureka

July 10, 1902

After a week at the San Francisco ironworks, Hayes can no longer stand the noise. The bosses are decent about his quick departure and now Hayes has earned enough money to pay fare on the Pamona, a small passenger steamer sailing north to Eureka. Of course the dreadful seasickness strikes him down but upon arrival at Eureka, all there welcome him back, even George Glynn his old boss who has both a position and a promise of a better one to come.  Hayes writes, “I hope to stay on for a long time.”

August 2, 1902

“Time slips by pleasantly and quickly when one is in a congenial place.” Hayes moved out of town to where the logs are floated into a deep slough and made into rafts. He works with Wallace and Billy and “being adept as seafaring it gives me an advantage in handling ropes, wires and rigging in general.” When not on the log rafts, a three-mile walk into town takes him to the library where long quiet hours transport him to other worlds. “To get an education has always been my desire, but thus far it has been one of hard knocks instead.”

August 21, 1902

A small railway runs about ten miles back into the deep woods where the trees are cut. Two or three times a day, a railcar dumps a load of freshly cut redwood into the waters of the slough. The butts of most trees hold so much water the first log cut from a tree almost always sinks. “We bore holes in the sinkers, as these heavy logs are called, then hang them onto a lighter one of corresponding size.” The very lightest logs are pushed far up into the slough to save for winter cutting; the rest are ganged into rafts and towed to Eureka for milling.

October 2, 1902

With so many logs coming the slough is entirely full. “Many of the logs are so large we must blast them into smaller pieces.” The saw mill can handle logs no larger than nine feet in diameter; the largest Hayes has seen is sixteen feet, “and it had to be halved in the woods before it could be loaded on the train.”

Even in the midst of the cutting, all the destruction troubles Hayes. “ Sometimes it seems a crime to destroy all these fine forests. What will posterity think about it?” The cut stumps would rapidly re-grow but the company burns them to seed for pasture seeking short-term profit.

The wild world of Hayes’ childhood is rapidly vanishing: “There is not a tenth duck or goose. The elk are all gone; the fur bearing animals and most of the Indians are gone. Only at the Klamath reservation are there any number now.”

December 3, 1902

In this region of Northern California rain falls nearly every day. As Hayes is not yet recovered from the starvation of the Crown of India, “My teeth are still sore, loose, gums fallen away from the teeth and I fear of losing them all,” the severe weather may force him to leave this very comfortable position. Remarkably, he writes that he still sends all his money out repaying people he outsmarted years ago. “Business, of course, but it was unfair and must be returned.

December 26, 1902

“Christmas, and for the first time in my life I have been to a Christmas tree.” Of course he immediately downplays the evident excitement of this sentence writing that his gifts were trinkets that would have been appreciated when he was a boy, “but give little thrill at my present age.”

The rains swell the slough into a rushing river threatening to sweep all the stored logs out to sea. Dancing on the bobbing log rafts in hobnail boots on a rushing river requires great skill. “Strangely we cannot discern the various elevations of the logs at nights. Thus we sometimes step down two feet, falling overboard or jarring ourselves badly in the darkness.” When new men are sent to help hold the logs against the current, Hayes and the others must constantly rescue them from spills into the muddy waters.

Now comes a tree 28 feet across the stump. “We made 35 logs out of it by blasting it. Surely this tree must have been 3,000 years old, perhaps more than that.” Reading Hayes diaries more than one hundred years after this account, perhaps we know what posterity thinks of cutting and blasting to bits such a magnificent tree.

January 11, 1903

The Northern California rains won’t let his lungs, damaged on the Crown of India, heal – but where to go. Australia? Perhaps in that dry climate he will avoid the tuberculosis that killed several of his relatives.

19.2 Hico with the Family

February 10, 1903

Finally the pleurisy drove him from California – to Hico Texas for his 25th birthday.  Instead of Australia, he now thinks maybe he’ll go to South Africa where “the climate is dry and warm,” and mining work available.

His report on the family comes in the same laconic tones as before:  “Mother is getting old. …  I wish I might do something to aid her more than I do.”  Just this for his sisters:   “My sisters have grown up until I scarcely know them.”  And he has only disdain for his father, now moved to Oklahoma:  “Why a man should be inherently cruel to his children is beyond me, but he was.  It is over forever now, and he has lost the affection of us all.”  His sisters know that Hayes will again leave them shortly; they “chide me because I am given to roaming.”

19.3 Galveston and Back to Sea

February 24, 1903

His sister did survive the flood of 1900 at Galveston but much wreckage to the city still remains. In this Southern town, enmity concerning the Civil war also persists; “there is a certain coolness toward the Yankee who invaded their country and defeated them.”

Despite its tiny size, Galveston is a great port of the world frequented by many British ships but also those of Germany, France and Norway, hauling into stream, loading, and departing as fast as they can, one after another.

Hayes catches a job on the biggest ship in port, the Irak, preparing to leave immediately. His rationale for returning to work as a seaman while still sick from the previous trip is rings hollow: “I am not well, but the clean air of the sea should soon drive away the weakness I have acquired and make me well.” Hair of the dog? Or more likely his desperation to get free of the family: “’meeting my mother is like going to a funeral, she takes it so hard when I leave.” In any case, he sails with the Irak tomorrow.

19.4 Florida Straits.

March 1, 1903

As the Irak was leaving Galveston harbor a tidal surge tossed her against another ship, crumpling the railings on both sides. Neither ship sustained any real damage, but “There were many sweet compliments exchanged between the respective skippers…”

Surprisingly cold air hangs the Florida Strait with thick weather and poor visibility, but a strong current pushed the Irak smartly forward. The small sandy spits of the Bahamas and a quick glimpse of the Florida coast fleeting by indicate the swift passage of the ship.

19.5 Coaling at Hampton Roads

March 6, 1903

Fine weather past Cape Hatteras gives way to “a cold blast right out of the north.” The Irak drops anchor in the wide mouth of the James River with Hampton Roads to the south and Newport News to the north. Many ships stop here for Virginia coal and the Irak will also “take on a deck load of Cattle for Liverpool.” Building pens to hold the bulls on deck delays the Irak’s departure for several icy days. “We do have good food, poorly cooked always, but ample and would be excellent if a man who knew the rudiments of cookery was in the galley.”

19.6 Bull Pushers

March 8, 1903

The 458 bulls on deck headed for the British army boarded the ship as wild animals, “but the sea has tamed them.” Their tenders must keep them standing for the entire voyage for once down they will not rise again. “If there be a more picturesque crew than these bull pushers, as they are called by the sailors, I have never seen them.” These men have fallen to lowest position on the shipboard social scale and their pay reflects that status: $65 for a forty day trip with a second class return ticket for the headman and $25 with a third class return for his underlings. The seamen despise the bull pushers but for Hayes they provide an opportunity to admire a new “fluency in cusswords.”

Fortunately Hayes draws the port watch under a genial Irish mate. The scurvy still weakens Hayes and when the mate sees him struggling with heavy work in seas breaking over the forecastle-head, rather than curse him as Fleck would have, the mate sensibly re-assigns Hayes to lighter work.

19.7 Mid-Ocean with Bulls on Deck

May 12, 1903

All the bulls have great horns, so when their pens break down in heavy weather, even those bull tenders not down with seasickness are afraid to try corralling them. “I was too at first, but one seemed so cowed I petted him a little, then took hold of his ear and led him into a stall farther aft.” Soon Hayes working with another Swedish sailor have the bulls all safe in new pens.

After describing the line dividing the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current as deep blue on one side and light green on the other, Hayes relates some kind of prank that involved painting some of the bulls. He and the Swede had been detailed to paint the insides of all the deck ventilators. He’s not clear about how the paint got on the bulls, but the head bull pusher speaks to the mate in no uncertain terms: “These bloody souji-mouji artists of yours … have ruined my cattle. Wotta hell you keep such punks for is more than I can say! Now they’ve gotta git it off before I am back here. See to that!” The mate sharply assents to the demand, but he’s “grinning at me out of the corner of his eye,” and nothing more is said.

19.8 Paid off at Liverpool

March 19, 1903

Sailing through wild stormy weather, Hayes took quite a shock on the the Irish sea: “I was on the lookout last night, the sleet driving in my face right out of the north. Suddenly a light appeared dead ahead. Too bright for a ship, it seemed like a search light from a warship. I leaped for the bell lanyard and had just reached it when the light jumped twenty feet up the forestay. I hesitated. The light began to move slowly up and down the stay, remaining there for some minutes. It was St. Elmo’s fire, the first time I have ever seen this phenomenon.”

All the bulls but one were happy to disembark the ship at Liverpool. “For three hours he held the fort, the side captain cursing in every tongue he knew until he could speak only in a whisper.” When the mate tried to help out, he collapsed laughing upon receiving whispered curses from the side captain. Finally, they roped the renegade and winched him off the ship.

At payday in England by custom wives collect half a seaman’s salary, “to prevent their spouses from spending their substance in riotous living with the women of the streets and in the pubs.” As he is unmarried, Hayes collects his full pay and takes up residence at the sailor’s home run by missionaries.

March 22, 1903

Now that Hayes is finally ready for Africa, he can’t find a ship. Well, one, the Burutu would have taken him in return for a bribe, but it carried liquor to West Africa. Hayes won’t pay the “pour boire” and, “I don’t care to carry liquor to anyone.” According to Jack O’brien at the Sailor’s home, 50,000 other men are looking for ships out of Liverpool. “I have walked these docks form Hornsby to Herculaneum, seven miles of waterfront, seeking a place on a ship.” Nothing.

March 25, 1903

With a dwindling purse and no ship in sight, Hayes decides he might have better luck in London. Jack O’brien warns of fewer jobs there but Hayes has to move – here all the ship’s mates sign only sailors they know or those willing to pay the bribe.

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14. San Francisco to Eureka

May 1, 2011

To some readers of the diary Here and There, segment 14 contains Hayes’ most remarkable decision.  At age 22 he’s been on the road for 7 years and apparently swindled, cheated, or stolen from a lot of people along the way (I wish he had included a little more detail about the misdeeds, the list seems to be quite long).  On September 30, 1900, he decides to make amends.

Click here for links to maps and downloads of maps.

Here and There Synopsis:

14.1 South of Cape Mendocino

June 7, 1900

After searching up and down the wharves at San Francisco, Hayes gives up on a ship to China. He cannot catch on with the British ship Straghgyle just leaving port for China, nor can he stow away – they’ve just fumigated its hold turning out 22 “embryo warriors” headed for jail rather than the Boxer War.

So instead, Hayes pays $2 to “Murray & Ready’s, labor agents and robbers who contract workers for the entire state.” His first thought was a mining job but someone in the office said that job was no good, second choice was logging work in Mendocino County.

14.2 Dumped at Usal

June 10, 1900

For transport north, Hayes and a dozen other recruits including one Bill S. Hogg, a “London Bookkeeper,” roll around the empty hold of a steam schooner, “every one of us deathly sea sick because of the stench and rolling of the empty ship.”

At Usal near Cape Mendocino, “baskets strung on cables” dump the men like cattle onto the redwood shore. In reply to Hayes’ joke about a thirteen hour work day at this camp, a grinning Irish dock man replies “Ounly Twilve” (Hayes’ quote). Bill S. Hogg blusters back at the dock man but Hayes can see Hogg already: “the city life has ruined him as a man of the woods.” Hogg doesn’t even know to load his pockets with sandwiches at dinner for the next day’s work.

14.3 Cutting Redwoods.

June 14, 1900

Cutting a redwood trunk right to the ground won’t kill the tree. The massive stump immediately sends multiple shoots struggling back toward the sky. Near Usal, “for seven miles the fine trees have been destroyed completely,” by burning and repeatedly cutting – to clear the ground for cattle pasture.

Redwood Crew circa 1900
photo sent by Kayann Short

As predicted, Bill S. Hogg broke down 17 miles out of Usal. Hayes left him a dollar alone in the woods and continued on himself, hiking 90 miles in two and a half days through the dense forest to a job in the planing mill at “a big sawmill thirty miles from Eureka.”

June 22, 1900

At every new place, Hayes almost always comments on the availability, quantity or quality of its food. At this rough lumber camp with its “vast rambling cookhouse” feeding 500 hundred hungry lumberjacks three times a day, he writes three awed paragraphs concluding: “The technique is that of hogs in a pen. No other example would express it more fully.”

Unbarring the door releases a mad scramble: any piece of fruit anywhere in the room disappears into a “sweat-soaked shirt”; whole pies vanish; a giant Swedish hand clamps the milk pitcher to the table until the giant Swedish lumberjack downs his seventh cup of milk. Hayes and a tattooed buddy, Preston, position themselves to grab as a team so that together both can insure that neither goes hungry. Each tries for a good bit of meat for the other but, “the steak and other meat seem to be put through some sort of process whereby it is preserved indefinitely.” Outside the hall, for recreation, Preston throws a piece of meat to the huge bulldog kept by the superintendent of the mill. “Every muscle under his sleek hide may be seen hauling and sliding and writhing with tremendous effort, and men gather round in admiration at his strength.”

If a man can hold his own in the cookhouse melee, at least he can get enough to fuel the heavy work required in the woods. At the camp work-shifts end at ten hours but Hayes says, “I get tired sometimes. … There is a good bit of overtime.” This written as he’s coming off a 36-hour shift. “It’s all right for a while.” Now he’s thinking maybe he’ll travel south to Australia.

July 2, 1900

Hayes must be in correspondence with his mother and sisters. He knows that one sister works as a nurse in Galveston, Texas where the tidal wave from a great hurricane has killed thousands. “Whether she be alive, I do not know.”

Galveston Flood, 1900

Hayes’ mess hall buddy Preston, “a genial German we call Frenchy,” has cleared out in search of more tattoos. “Almost every bit of his body other than his head is already covered with weird pictures of art from all the world.” The shrewd logging company, knowing the leisure time habits of its employees, lets the men drink – at the saloon owned by the company – up to the amount owed them. Accordingly, Frenchy got paid out, went straight to the bar ahead of the accountant, drank all night, and then skipped the camp.

Cutting redwoods stains Hayes’ hands black and fills them with angry splinters. The black comes off only with the skin, “so deep and lasting is the juice that filters from the wood.” Hayes still dreams of Australia even as a tug of guilt nags him about deserting the McCulloch back in San Francisco.

14.4 Eureka!

July 20, 1900

Fed up with the logging camp, Hayes hikes the 30 miles back to Eureka determined to board a ship for Australia. But just as he was “shipping to Tasmania on a sailing vessel, the Woolhara of Sydney,” an agent from a mill in Eureka offered a job at “a place too good to pass up lightly.” Australia will have to wait for another day.

Eureka is to become a place to which Hayes will periodically return from his far-flung travels over the years. “It would be hard to find a more congenial place.” So, with his hands still stained black from lumberjacking and starting into a new mill job in town, Hayes also enrolls “into a business college here with a lot of other young folk of my own age.”

August 21,1900

For the moment, he enjoys the company of the “refined type” of young people at the business college even if, “they have never rubbed up against the realities of life as I have.” And the mill work suits him: “much rowing a boat… a horse that must be looked after twice a day… helping the carpenter, the blacksmith and engineers.”

Oddly, at Eureka, Hayes fails to describe the saloons, gambling houses, and prostitutes as he usually writes when arriving at a new place – this town has a library! With a full time job and attending business college, Hayes writes that the library “ holds me most of my spare time.” How can there be any spare time? However, in addition to the job, school, and the library, some of the same missionaries Hayes encountered in Victor preach in Eureka and he starts attending church, “for though I am a wrong ‘un I like to see decent people.”

September 30, 1900

Business College comes easy, “because I always liked figures,” and Gill, the mill superintendent encourages him to continue but a remarkable new idea has come into Hayes’ consciousness: “I believe I am wrong and should pay up the money I beat people out of.” He is about to quit business school to work overtime at the mill so that he can begin sending reimbursement to everyone he ever cheated – including the railroad companies whose trains he hopped without paying fare!

14.5 Restitution

October 27, 1900

Of course, Hayes’ new conviction stems from conversion by the mission. “I have peace in my heart now that does not come to one in the world.” With “the divine presence” keeping him free from sin, he dons his oilskins out into the rain seven days a week to pay back all his old debts. “One has to be clean if he gets by in this world. I believe I will be happier for it in the end.”

A Norwegian sailor pal at Eureka, Ted Sundbye, “has fallen for a lovely missionary girl and it is likely they will be married.” Though Hayes admits marriage tempts him too, he knows he’s got to choose: a married man in Eureka will never make it to Africa. If he is to emulate “the explorer Stanley [who] has always been a demigod to me,” Hayes must “put all out of my life I can to achieve the goal I have set.” He will not marry; he will be an adventurer.

October 30, 1900

Ted’s girl left for California urging him to follow but Hayes wonders if Ted shouldn’t clean up his responsibilities back in Norway before chasing a new girlfriend to Pasadena. To Hayes’ way of thinking, the family servant Ted loved “unwisely” and the child he abandoned in the old country, are Ted’s first responsibility. Watching Ted’s low dealings, Hayes’ redoubles his own intention that all must be made right with those he cheated.

December 3, 1900

Hayes declines the honor serving as best man at Ted’s wedding in Pasadena; he’s too busy with the repayment project. “The first man I sent $25 to returned it.” Nevertheless, Hayes thinks the gesture made a “profound impression” on the man and he vows to continue despite, “the deep sense of shame on admitting his folly.” Ignoring the siren call of ship’s adventure and sure that he’s “ruining my own career,” Hayes works on in the rain. “I must clean up the entire business of the dark days regardless of what people did to me. Then there may be something else left for the days to come.”

January 16, 1901

Six month of mill work and every dollar gone to pay self-imposed debts. “Some of them write me bitter letters, some demand more… some return the money, some never answer me, some chide me.” Still he keeps on paying. The list remains long after retiring the largest debts first.

And the business of the McCulloch – deserting ship still bothers him. He thinks about returning even though, “it would be hell.” Perhaps that sin can be cleared after all the debts are paid…

14.6 About Ready to Leave

March 22, 1901

Even at a place like this with decent working conditions, the supervisors “wring every ounce of strength from every man.” Hayes writes, “Gill, the superintendent constantly worries me,” to work more and faster. Because Hayes works harder and more efficiently than others, Gill always pushes him for more.

The mill supervisors ratchet up the speed of the machinery until the older men break from the pace and can be replaced by younger men hungry for work. An older man can still do lighter work – for less pay – outside – in the rain. “I see all this, and wonder if I, too, will come to this.” With their riotous living, none of these men saves any money. But sending all his money off to clear his conscience leaves Hayes in exactly the same financial strait as his profligate workmates. “It is easy to make money if one has no scruples, that is why most of these great companies have so much ahead.”

April 16, 1901

For Hayes, “tired, both physically and mentally,” nine months is a long stay even at a good place like Eureka. The bickering Jewish landlady who wants him to wear a good luck charm, the old married couple he hears cursing each other through the thin walls of the rooming house, and worse, the “two turtle doves” newly married, all grate on the nerves of a traveling man overstayed in one place.

Then too, an event more serious than these slight domestic annoyances: Hayes hoisted the ballast from a schooner from Hawaii captained by the 21 year old son of the owner accompanied by another sailor on their way out from Eureka to Arcata at the head of Humboldt Bay. A storm in the night upset the schooner and both men drowned, their bodies washed up on the flats the next morning. From a 23-year-old adventurer poised to strike out again into the world, Hayes’ summary reads with a certain self-reflective foreboding: “Life is so uncertain. … Just as he begun life it is finished.”

But, as often in the diary, an observation of some natural beauty dispels such a dark thought: “There are thousands of ducks on the bay. Canvas backs, mallards, teal, widgeon, spring, bluebill and so many other sorts.” Who knows what beauty lies beyond the horizon line? A man wishing to see some of it has to accept the risks.