Weary Willy Season Now in Full Blast

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: June 1, 1904

Weary Willy Season Now in Full Blast

Spring Crop of Tramps Has Been an Unusually Large One.

Dull Times Add to Numbers

The Roving Fraternity Deadbeat Their Way Searching for Employment.

The “Weary Willie” season is now at its height. He comes with the apple blossom and fades away with the first heavy frost. The “handout” request is becoming very common in Fort Dodge. Hungry Hank walks around to the back door, makes his request and when complied with either sits down on the door step and devours it or drops the foodstuffs into his pocket to go out and “whack up” with a companion, who has been delegated to “rush the can.”

The railroad yards about the city are of course the most frequented places of the fraternity, but this is a poor place to liquidate a thirst or fill an empty stomach, so they may be found in any part of the city.

There are more tramps this year, that is, men out of a job tramping and “bumming” their way thru the country, than have been seen since Coxey let his motley army of unemployed men from the west toward Washington nine years ago. Every freight from north, from south, from east, from west, that passes thru Fort Dodge bears from two to a dozen of these men hidden among and in the cars. Many of them pass thru the city with only a lookout at the yards where they stop, while others leave their hiding places and skirmish around after a drink or a “hand out.”

The closing down of factories, mills and industries of all sorts over the country has thrown a vast number of men out of work and these being single men in many instances float about from place to place in search of work. The rumors of the paving which is going on here call many of these men tot he city and being unable to secure work, get a “hand out” or two, “booze up” if they have or can get a cent and go on in their endless search for a job to other towns.

Men from the east are of the impression there is plenty of work in the west. The western man’s Mecca is toward the east and the northerner goes to the south, and the southern toward the north. Thus this endless procession of jobless men surges back and forth across the country from Maine to California, and from the “Golden” state to Main. Scarcely a wreck occurs but among the list of dead and injured, one or more unknown men are mentioned who were beating their way on the trucks, the bumpers or the blind.

Fort Doge, being a railroad town, gets more than its quota of these travelers, but the city also has a reputation for making it hard for them and they stay pretty close to the railroads, where they may board a train and get out of the city at any time. The police have always been active in their efforts and have succeeded in making Fort Dodge unpopular with the profession, and they are (missing word) to lie low while here, so the (police) are not greatly bothers by (them). It is a good reputation to maintain.

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