“The Hobo's Grave”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: c. 1957 (recording, Tom Brandon)
Keywords: loneliness grief burial death mourning hobo
Found in: Canada(Ont)

Description

Singer comes upon a hobo's grave. The wolves howl over it; the box cars roll on, but the hobo, his father's only son, his mother's pride, lies at rest. There's no stone to mark the spot, no one to watch over it, "none to direct the money or the checque"

Notes

The lyrics sound like a commercial "hobo song" from the 1920s, or perhaps a poem, but so far I haven't been able to locate a source from that period. Tom Brandon says he learned it from his brother, who worked in northern Ontario in the 1930s.

The reference to "the money or the checque" suggests the hobo may have been a "remittance man," perhaps an English ne'er-do-well shipped off to Canada and supported by an allowance so that he wouldn't embarrass his wealthy family. - PJS

Recordings

References

  1. Roud #4825
  2. BI, RcHobGra