Long-Distance Travelers

Walking, Pushing Wheelbarrows, Riding Scooters, Pulled In Dogcarts & Goatcarts, Pulled By Wolves & Oxen, Pushing "Pushmobiles", Driving Carriages & Motorcycles & Horseless Carriages, Bicycling, Riding Horses, Roller-Skating, Stilt-Walking, Etc.

From perhaps 1900 to the mid-1940's many hundreds of hard-traveling performers sold their act literally "on the road."

Most akin to the freak performers that sold glimpses of themselves as outsiders, the long distance traveler was an act that had only itself as show.

Whether on foot or other conveyance, they appeared mostly unannounced passing through small towns across the USA (and virtually every other country), as ephemeral celebrities who made their living by selling postcards, pitch books, and souvenirs and sometimes giving lectures about their travels.

Their exploits today are lost to history, but their stories can be found on postcards and pitch cards they sold to the curious public that met them on their thousand stops along the journey towards the next place. Many professed poverty, several boasted of their Herculean frugalness in getting from point A to point B on small change, charity or the hard work— the performance art— of traveling.

This later-day "pedestrianism" was simply a now vanished way to make a living through the novelty of vast perambulations, the travelers' purposeful or unintended eccentricities, obvious physical disabilities, or even as sidelight, to publicize or promote some product other than themselves which they endorsed as they rode, walked, biked, skated, barreled, etc., out of sight.

An excellent website devoted to "Globetrotters" by Claudio S. (Italy) and
John W. (USA) can be found here: http://xoomer.virgilio.it/globetrotters/index.htm

Miss Lois Bauch "Overland Goldfish Run" By automobile on "South Dakota Tour" with open goldfish bowl advertising "Triplex Springs", circa 1910.[d]

Harry Bensley "Walking Round The World Masked" [d] [csjw]

Edwin J. Bush "Traveling Wonder" From Portland, Maine 1912 to Portland, Oregon pushing a wheelbarrow." [d]

Private John Claus "Transcontinental Traveler" From New York to Frisco. "Co. G, 65th Inft., N.G. N.Y. and member Lovejoy A.C. of Buffalo" Circa 1906. [d]

Captain Clarke "Walking Round The World 30,500 Miles" "First British subject to walk round the world...with wife" [d]

Chief PeDee, Jr. Started From Seattle 1914, Around the World by 1920 "Will Receive $25,000." [d]

Colonial Jack "9000 Mile Walk Around The Border of America Pushing A Wheelbarrow" John Albert Krohn, aka "Colonial Jack", uniquely followed the coastal outline on the United States 1908-1910, writing and publishing a 98 page week-by-week journal/pamphlet about his trip.[d]

Henry & Dolly Cramer "World Wide Travelers" Travelled in a house-shaped motorcar, decorated with antlers, called themselves "Lecturers." [d]

Joe Crosta "World Champion Walker" From Bangor, PA & Boston, MA and RETURN, "Covered 49,000 miles" advertising Walk-Over Shoes [d]

Prof. J.A. Damrel "Sledge Pulled By Timber Wolves" With wife made 1912 coast to coast trip driving a team of 5 timber wolves. Advertising "Cream of Rye" for the Minneapolis Cereal Co. [d]

Max Duffek "Round The World, First Roller-Skater On Hands" 1907, Starting in Berlin(?) "In a Million different ways" [d]

Four Journalists Around The World "Silvio Ortonas (French), Eng. Adolph Schneider (German), Albert Wilkes (American), Prof. Alfedo Batteli (Italian)" [d]

Tom Herridge "Smallest Horse Power and Trailer In The World" From Tarkis, MO 250,000 mile trip on small motor scooter towing tiny trailer in which he slept, ca. 1920's.[d]

Frank Hoff, Wife & Daughter "25,000 miles in 3 years" Started 1923 from New York with toddler in carriage, through USA and Europe.[d]

Jones, W.B. "10,000 Miles Without A $" From Dallas, TX to Nome, Alaska & Return in 400days, circa 1907. [d]

Kansas City Walkers "KC to Frisco" ca. 1910, five member family with covered wagon. [d]

David MacFadyen & Wife in covered wagon 1911 walking from Stauch's Coney Island to San Francisco advertising and wearing "Geo. H. Snow Shoes" [d]

"The Mystery Ship" "America's Greatest Travel House" Traveled every state in US and Canada in weird boat-shaped car with monkey. [d]

J.S. Myers "Fremont Texas to New York City" In 1931 with Wife in covered trailer pulled by oxen, advertising "Fremont Nursery, Orange and Grapefruit Lands Development." [d]

Richard E. New "Legless Motor Cycle Rider" Mr. New claims to have fallen "1,800 feet from a balloon" losing the sight in one eye, breaking his back in two places, and "crushed his feet and legs so badly, that both legs had to be amputated". Advertising Goodrich Tires, Mr. New was on a 100,000 mile trip "covering the worst trails in the country" circa 1915-20. Began in Akron, OH[?]. [d]

Overland Jack of Big Sandy, TX "Texas Goat Wagon" Circa 1930's, legless man with 5 goat cart "25,000 miles since 1909. Price of pictures 10¢ each, 3 for 25¢. No trouble to answer questions". [d]

Mr. & Mrs. J.A. Personett "Coast to Coast, Every State" From Salem, OR "For an education and record" with dog pushing homemade perambulator, circa 1905-07. [d]

Paul Pirvu & Demetre Dann "100,000 Kilometres Inside of 6 Years" [d]

Frank & Jane Richards "250,000 Miles in 5 Yrs." Start 1921 Summit Pikes Peak, CO in a car, trying to win $25,000 prize "Around The World On A Postcard"[d]

Roady Bill & Tony "Famous Pony 39,200 Miles Over Land" Left NY 1928 with dog in "Pioneer Covered Wagon" for San Francisco, Mexico Canada, Europe and Africa "The only pony in the world that ever made this trip" [d]

Gottfried Rodrigues "Around The World On A Wager" Left Amsterdam, Holland 1909 without money or luggage, toured Europe, USA, Japan, China, Siberia, Russia and then back to Holland. "I can travel anyway except by train." Rode and advertised the M.M. Motorcycle, American Motor Co. while on USA portion. [d]

John Rose "Legless Goatcart" Traveling in a cart pulled by two goats.,this apparently legless man travelled from Indiana to Texas "averaging 16 mi. a day pulling 457 lbs. Buy One,[postcard?] Help Me". Circa 1907-08. [d]

E.J. Seymour Walked from Florida to San Francisco with Billy-Bull "A Six Legged, Four Shouldered, Double Backboned" Bull [d] m

Geo. M. Schilling "World's Greatest American Pedestrian" Left New York 1897 dressed in a "newspaper suit" and penniless, through US, Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and back to New York in 1905, 53,000 miles. 1908 pulled "Air-Ship," i.e. rolling car-shaped like dirigible through Great Britain and Europe. In 1911 started world walk rolling 7-Foot Diameter globe-- inside of which he slept, 118,000 miles total.[d]

H.A. Tipper "The Wonderful Man" Born 1867, this Australian eccentric, inventor, bicycle racer, "self-taught engineer," started in 1887 riding a bicycle around the world. In 1908 claimed he left Australia with "1 penny" travelled 33,900 miles, "earn[ed] his living riding the smallest bicycle in the World," and returned in 1914 with "4/6" [4 British Pounds, and 6 Pense]. In 1924 travelled on a "Motor Car Steered By A Horse" 85,000 miles total. [d]

Ralph D. Tompkins "Champion One-Legged Walker Of The World" [d]

Trans-Continental Pushmobile Tourists In 1915, Ralph H. Hamilton & J.A.F. DeLion pushed a fancy soapbox racer from San Diego Expo(?) to Philadelphia [d]

Fred E. Vaillancourt "Legless Advertising Dog Team" Former Grand Trunk Railroad Brakeman. Sustained loss of both legs in 1907 while employed as brakeman.[d] [csjw]

C.W. Warren "Dogcart Washington to New York" Circa 1910, on a 4-wheeled bicycle "pushed" by four dogs. [d]

F.E. Wilvert "Walking on Stilts From Harrisburg, PA to Panama Pacific Expo, San Francisco" [d]

Plennie L. Wingo "World's Backward Walking Champion" Santa Monca, CA to Istabul, Turkey, 8000 miles, 1931-32 at age 36, and bicentennial backwards walk 1976 at age 81. Appeared as wax figure in BION Museum and Guiness Book of World Records.[d]

Mr. And Mrs. D.H. Woolf "Kansas City To NY With Their Dog" Started 1910, with tiny horse cart and horse. [d]

****

Unidentified Walker With Knapsack "Walking Around The World" (see image, Figure 1)[d]

Unidentified, Three Girls With Guns & Dog "Hiking From Chicago To San Francisco" [d]

Unidentified, Man Pulling his wife in a wagon "Around The World" [d]

Unidentified, Husband & Wife "Connecticut To California" By Oxcart, Circa 1930's [d]

See also: