“PITTSBURG PETE”… THE TOUGHEST TRAMP IN THE COUNTRY (1912 PHOTOGRAPH)

pittsburg pete

According the caption in this image, this photograph is a portrait of “Pittsburg Pete”. He is noted as being “The toughest Tramp in the Country”. The caption also notes that this photograph was taken in 1912. Preliminary research found references to a “Pittsburg Pete” in some articles about “hobos” and “tramps”. In addition, the Urbana Daily Courier (Illinois) has some articles about criminal activities of a man known as “Pittsburg Pete”. A 1914 article reports the arrest and jailing of a man with that moniker. The man is described as a “familiar street character in this city” and his crime was vagrancy. The article states that the man’s actual name was John Reed. It is unknown whether the tough looking guy in this image is the same “Pittsburg Pete” as the “street character” in Urbana.

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Published in: on February 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. “…and his crime was vagrancy.” What a tragedy! – Wasn’t there another depression in the late 1800’s and couldn’t he have been one of the victims of that? Anyway, you can’t help but feel compassion for this man with the tough face, whose real name was John Reed. – Your overview doesn’t state he committed murder. – Today, he would’ve got off scott free (spl?) for that. – Thanks for great research!


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