Depression Era: Hobos

Illinois woman remembers her father inviting in and feeding hobos during the depression era.

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Another thing more or less connected with memories of food during the depression era was the constant procession of hobos that stopped at our house. They got off of the trains when they stopped at the depot, which wasn't far from our house, and then went begging for food. As poor as we were, Dad always gave them something - sometimes just a slice of bread and a glass of milk. If they looked pretty clean, he would invite them in to sit at the dining room table. He would talk to them about where they had been and seemed to enjoy them. I don't remember any of them doing anything wrong or being afraid of them - they were just part of living.

B. Alice Holtsclaw
Hamilton, Illinois


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.