Hobo Blocks

Today, I made the next five blocks for the Mulligan Stew quilt. The project is taken from this book:

This is an interesting book and an interesting quilt. I've made 10 of 60 blocks for my project so far, and today I made 5 more. If you'd like to read the inspiration for the quilt, you can read about the quilt and the first five blocks right here. The second five blocks are covered on this post. The next five blocks are these:

This one is called "Camp Here". Michael Corinchock of Pennsylvania is quoted as saying that many of the "hobos" that road the rails would end up in an isolated area, but some intended to. They were in search of a sand house that was considered a haven. It was a large basement full of sand. The railroad was above and sand was unloaded through hatches in the building, which provided a dark area for sleeping and hiding. There were also two steam dryers for heat.

The next block is called "Catch Out Here". Don Rodgers of California told a story of trains approaching the roundhouses where the locomotives were repaired and crews were changed. Near Greybull, Wyoming, the northbound trains came to a near stop near the southern boundary of the city and all the non-fare-paying passengers jumped off to avoid the so-called "railroad bulls" that went through the trains and rounded up trespassers. (The same was probably true of the southbound trains.) When they jumped off the trail, they would walk through the town and jump back on at the other end of town. Engineers would slow the train down and the "Knights of the Road" would jump on.

The next one is called "Catch Trolley Here". There wasn't a lot of explanation for what that meant, but I'm assuming it had to do with the type of car and a similar story to the one above.

The next one is called "Chain Gang". It was against the law to hitchhike in George, but that didn't stop folks from doing it. If caught, it meant 30 days on the chain gang.

Finally, this one is called "Cops Active". Billy Watkins of Indiana explained that near the Texas border with Mexico, the trains were stopped by the Border Patrol and the police in search of illegal immigrants. Everyone was told to get off, but town residents walked up and down both sides of the train wielding pick handles and clubs, shouting at the hobos "not to get off, there was no work..." There were more folks riding the trains than there were residents in the town. They stayed on the "right-a-way, leaning on the cars," until the patrol found what they were looking for and allowed the train to continue.

I have 15 of 60 blocks completed now, so I'm 1/4 of the way. Here are the blocks I have so far:

And this must be my weekend for learning history from quilts because tomorrow I'm going to make the next block for the Pony Express quilt. If you want to read about the inspiration for this quilt, you can read this post right here.  The quilt pictured below is the quilt made from the pattern book.

I love the quilt, but the pattern book uses a technique that I'm unfamiliar with. Initially, I thought I was going to have to give up on the whole project, but then I decided to substitute different blocks for the ones I wasn't able to duplicate using the pattern. There are plenty that I'll be able to do as written. I've done the center block, using a substitute pattern:

The next block I'm going to make is called "Fort Kearney, which looks very similar to the Square and Star block that can be found in Quilter's Cache.

It's a paper-pieced block, and it will end up at 10 inches finished. Fort Kearney was the first division of the Pony Express route that ran from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Marysville, Kansas. After that, the trail turned northwest along the Little Blue River to Fort Kearney in the Nebraska Territory. Along the way were 26 pony express stations. Fort Kearney also served as a United States military fort and a stage coach stop, so it made sense that riders would stop there to deliver mail to the men serving in the military.

I'm getting very close to having all my goals for the month complete. How are your goals coming?

6 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I do like the Hobo quilt - the blocks don't really mean anything until you know the story behind them. I finished my goals for the month, which left me no more excuses to put off some of that dratted housework.

quiltzyx said...

I enjoy reading the stories behind the blocks of the Hobo Quilt. My Dad hopped a train, I think it was after WWII, when a hoped for job in NoCal didn't pan out & he was trying to get back home to SoCal. He said there were 2 young kids also on at the same time - they were riding, taking care of themselves during the summer while there Mom worked & they were out of school. They taught Dad some of the rules of the rails - you can get off the train & take milk from someone's porch...but ONLY if there is more than one bottle there. That way there is still milk for the family. They showed him the good place to sleep (get & flatten out a cardboard box for insulation under you) & where they could pick fruit (cherries, I believe) that leaned over the train!

Celtic Thistle said...

Fascinating blocks when you know the story behind them. Thanks for the history lesson Barbara :)

Tami C said...

I remember my father talking about jumping the trains during the time after WW II. Your quilt blocks look great. This is sure to be a good looking quilt!

Brown Family said...

Two very interesting quilts. I need to post more Dallas Quit show photos because I have pictures of the Pony Express.

Kate said...

Lots of fun history associated with those two quilts.