Railroad Stories: Hobos Abounded in Sweetwater, Tennessee

Hobos frequented Hobo Springs and my family's sheep farm.

| Good Old Days

I'm sitting here at Hobo Springs, down by the railroad tracks, with memories and pictures in my mind of long ago. I can still see the old freight trains coming down the tracks, the hobos riding along under the old black smoke.

All through the night you could hear the rumble of the trains and their whistles blowing as they went by

Hobo Springs and the sheep farm of EA. McCosh, three miles south of Sweetwater, Tenn. The old Hobo Springs is where the hobos would get off the train to get a drink of spring water while the trains filled the old boiler up at the water tank.

There were freight trains, passenger trains, mail trains and troop trains carrying soldiers during World War II. They all ran by the old Hobo Springs, the sheep farm and the old farmhouse that stood nearby.

The hobos sometimes played cards and rolled dice while they waited for the train to fill up with water or switch tracks for another train to go by. Or sometimes it was because they had to wait until the brakeman was out of sight, so they could climb back on and ride. Sometimes they ended up staying overnight, sleeping in the old farm barn.

The hobos would sometimes go by the back door of the farmhouse and ask for food or a place to sleep.

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