“There had been hoboes in the United States since there had been trains and liquor, which is to say: always. But by 1930, an estimated two million broken souls had taken to the wandering life, hopping boxcars, picking up work where they could find it, and drinking, drinking, drinking. When prohibition reigned, the hoboes kew of secret stills and hidden lakes of moonshine. It made them strong and willful, and it made them blind and disfigured, and it spurred them to sing strange guttural songs in croaking voices that haunted the American night.”
From Areas of My Expertise, John Kellogg Hodgman.