The hobo ethical code of 1889


Hoboes were itinerant workers who traveled illegally by freight car, and gathered in camps called “hobo jungles”.   Most respectable people looked down on them.   This formal ethical code was adopted at the Hobo National Convention of 1889.

1.  Decide your own life; don’t let another person run or rule you.

2.  When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.

3.  Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.

4.  Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.

5.  When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.

6.  Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.

7.  When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.

8.  Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

9.  If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

10.  Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

11.  When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.

12.  Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.

13.  Do not allow other hobos to molest children; expose all molesters to authorities…they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

14.  Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.

15.  Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

Source: BRKTrail

Words to live by.

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One Response to “The hobo ethical code of 1889”

  1. tiffany267 Says:

    What a great code 🙂

    I only worry about returning runaway children to parents who may be profoundly abusive. I wish that our culture had better mechanisms to protect children, both from abusers at home and from outside predators.


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