HOBO ~ Tarheel Troy

   Posted by: woodbeecarver   in Carving Projects


Hobos are colorful characters who in earlier years were commonly seen traveling around the country in what appeared to be the “easy life.”  Historically they were originally “itinerant labors” who traveled from job to job wherever the jobs would lead them.  There is a difference in the meaning of terms applied to these “sojourners of the road.”  Hobos were once called “Hoe boys” who were agriculture laborers cultivating the fields with their hoes, thus the nickname.  So “Hobos” would travel to find work. The tern “Tramp” was ascribed to those itinerant laborers who would travel the rail by catching a ride on trains.  Other travelers through the country side riding the coat tails of the hobo and tramp way of life were called “Bums” because they would rather con and cheat off the generosity of kind-hearted folk than do any work.  Bums gave the hobo and tramp a bad name for their less than honest profession.

Hobos were characterized by their shabby clothing, unkept appearance and the proverbial “bindle bag” tied to the end of a walking stick or the hoe handle.  The “bindle bag” was most often a large cloth bandana tied together to carry a person ‘s necessities. The practical purpose for the bindle bag over a satchel, back pack or suit case was that the bindle bag could be easily be washed to get rid of fleas, lice and critters where the other carrying devices had too many hiding places for such pests.

In this carving of Tarheel Troy, the Bindle Bag is tied to a walking stick that is held in a standing position rather that over the shoulder as is the common mental picture of a hobo and his bindle bag.   This was done for design purposes of making the carving come out of one block of wood where all appendages would be secure.  A bindle bag on a stick over the shoulder would create breakage problems in a carving this small.

As the old saying goes, “clothes make the man” ~ the clothes with torn knee and elbow, shoulder seams coming apart, patches repairing holes in crucial places and toes peeking out of the shoes falling apart all make this carving shout “HOBO.”  Tarheel Troy’s facial features give a craggy appearance and his shabby and unkept clothes tells that these are the clothes he sleeps in as well as wears during the day.  Life has not been easy or soft, but still it has been a way of life that made the best of what it was in the attitude that life goes on while making do with what one can do.

The photo gallery that follows shows a carving in it progressive and unpainted stage that leads up to the finished and painted carving of Tarheel Troy with a panoramic view to see all sides of one interpretation of a Hobo.





A story heard more than seventy years ago tells of a hobo who came to the kitchen door of a farm house along the road he traveled.  He asked the kind lady who answered his knock if she could spare him something to eat.  The woman said as she pointed to the wood pile, “do you see that wood and do you see that saw?” implying that he work for his supper.  The hobo said, “Lady, you saw me see that wood but you are not going to see me saw that wood.”  Tarheel Troy may be quick with his wit and choice of words, but he is not afraid of work because he can lay down right beside it and go to sleep. Sleep tight Tarheel Troy.




This entry was posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2021 at 10:29 am and is filed under Carving Projects. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.