The lore surrounding Hoboes, Vagabonds, Drifters, Rogues, Tramps and Striders excite in us a passion seemingly unmatched by other American itinerants (I’m looking at you, BIRDS). Few are quite as interesting, confusing, and regional as The Leatherman, who kept a precise circuit in the Hudson River area between 1856 to 1889. His entire outfit was made of leather and he spoke fluent French, a dandified hipster if there ever was. Upon catching the Westbound Train in 1889, the Leatherman was mourned by many who had taken to seeing him haggardly enter their town demanding sardines, whiskey, and pie. Buried in Westchester County, his grave has become a local attraction and veritable mecca for hoboes and hobo-enthusiasts alike (note the popularity of the hobo symbol below, written on the doorways of the humble abodes in Briarcliff Manor).
Since the publication of a book detailing the exploits of Monsieur Leatherman two years ago, his grave-site has exploded in popularity, leading local officials to worry about its proximity to the traffic on nearby Route 9 and arrange a new burial site. This spring, according to this NYTimes article, the Leatherman will be disinterred and moved to a closeby and more secluded plot. In the process, researchers will extract DNA from whatever remains, trying to find out who exactly the Leatherman was, or at least, where he was born (our 51st state, Hohoq?).
There has been an outcry against the disturbance of the slumbering Leatherman, and you can join the resistance at http://leavetheleathermanalone.com/. Full-Stop contributor and general skeptic Michael Waldrep comments, “If there’s any place left where you can keep your secrets, with the Internet and everything out there, it should be your bones.” Fears of an all-out Hobo revolt seem unfounded, but its true- Britt, Iowa has seen an uncommon amount of lint-related activity.