The Confederate Soldiers Who Left Home

Feb 20, 2006

RAY: When the Civil War ended, tens of thousands of defeated, tired and hungry Confederate soldiers began their long journeys home. When they reached their destinations, many of them discovered that their homes, farms and the lives they knew were gone.

Most of them stayed, but thousands left to put their lives and their livelihoods back together, and in many cases, they were carrying something. It was a tool, in fact. There soon came to be a name for these young men, and over time that name evolved into a word that is still in common use today.

The question is, what's the word? And for bonus points, what's the origin of the word?

TOM: I know the answer already!

RAY: I'm sure you do! You were looking over my shoulder!

TOM: It's carpetbaggers! No?

RAY: You couldn't be farther from the right answer.

TOM: All right, I'll keep working on it.
RAY: What they were called arose out of a tool they were carrying.

TOM: And I know what that is. A hoe.

RAY: Exactly. They were farm hoes. They were walking the back roads, riding and jumping on trains, and sleeping out in the countryside hoping to find some kind of work.

TOM: Is it hoe boys?

RAY: They were called hoe boys, which came to be called hobos. Who's our winner?

TOM: The winner this week is Oren Culner from Jamison, Pennsylvania. And for having his answer selected at random from among all those correct answers that we got Oren gets a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at with which he can get a copy of our CD full of calls about cars and animals. That's it. If you have a dog that likes to ride on the roof of your car or a herd of goats that keeps jumping on your Alfa Romeo, Oren, you need this CD.

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