Wednesday Oct 26 2011
One hobo found his home, career in Rocklin
By: Gary Day, Special to the Placer Herald
Rails, Rocks and Ranches
Editor?s Note: This is the second in a three-part series on the hoboes who rode the freight trains. Rocklin?s location at the foot of the Sierra made it a magnet for freight train hoboes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Then, as now, hobo-style train travel was illegal. Rocklin?s residents in those years probably thought of the hoboes in their midst as blights on the community. But not all of Rocklin?s hoboes were derelicts. In his autobiography, ?Sisu, Even through a Stone Wall,? Finnish immigrant Oskari Tokoi describes how he and his friends travelled extensively as freight train stowaways in the western states between jobs as hard working miners and loggers in the late 19th century. Tokoi arrived hobo-style in Rocklin in 1896 and avoided detection by hiding in the hayloft of a stable near the site of today?s Rocklin train station. He found work in a granite quarry and later opened a quarry of his own. Tokoi married a local Finnish girl and, after the turn of the century, returned with her to New York and then settled in Finland where he entered politics. He became the first premier of a free Finland when the Bolsheviks granted Finland its independence as they came to power in Russia in 1917.