The Tramp’s Signal Code

THE TRAMP’S SIGNAL CODE.
Various Signs That Mean Much to Those Who Understand Them.

A custom house official in Port Huron, Mich., Mr. Pulteny Wright, had a good natured talk not long ago with a gentleman of elegant leisure. The gentleman of elegant leisure was on who had “done time,” and who is at present a tourist; that is, he belongs to the great army of tramps, and is a past master in the order.

He became affable and communicative because of some favor Mr. Wright had done him, or because he chanced to be impressed by the official’s winning ways, and in the course of his conversation exhibited a little book, in which were rudely drawn the pictures which tramps of the country make on fence and gateposts, and which form a code of signals all of them understand. So impressed by their curious nature was the gentleman to whom they were shown that he copied them, and his pencil sketches have since come into possession of The Mail. There are twenty-one of the signal marks here presented in groups, for convenience sake, and without regard to any order.

It will be observed that the marks are evidently those used by tramps of the worst type, since some of them indicate where burglaries may be committed or where vengeance may be gratified for some rebuff. As works of art the drawings are not remarkable, but as parts of a rude sort of historic language they are certainly rather striking. Some of them have a grim humor.

— Chicago Mail.

The Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, Pennsylvania) Jan 10, 1889

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