St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern section hands at Judsonia in 1902.

The Former Hobo Who Became Sheriff…

From “A Hobo’s Trail” by Earnest L. Best

White County Historical Society

I told you about picking strawberries for a man by the name of Sam Turnage at McRae, Arkansas. Sam was a big fruit farmer; owned a lot of good land, and was very successful. Had a nice, large family. Sam took a liking to me, and we used to just sit and visit, after the day’s work was done. And years later, as I would pass through McRae, I would stop and see him, and he’d always insist that I stay overnight. I enjoyed those occasions immensely.

Sam told me that he had been an orphan boy. At an early age, he had “hit the road” and wandered around the country for a long time. He rode the rails, hitch-hiked, and took odd jobs wherever they might be. But then he’d move on, and he had difficulty in settling down. He was restless. But when he made up his mind, he stopped in this little Arkansas town, worked for wages, saved his money, and bought a little farm. From there, his success was a dream come true. In later life, Sam became Sheriff of his county, and served them well until his retirement.

A hobo need never be ashamed of his past. Many of them have gone on to serve their community and their country with distinction.