ST. LOUIS — St. Louis residents may know the name “Eads” because of the bridge built by the James Buchanan Eads, who worked on Mississippi River steamboats in the early 1800s.
James Eads How, St. Louis’ rich hobo, is a lesser-known family member. How is the grandchild of James B. Eads. He chose to abandon his family fortune and work as a migrant worker.
When How’s father died in 1898, he announced that he was giving up the life of a wealthy man in St. Louis in order to undertake missionary work in the inner city. He spent his adult life riding trains and hunting for temporary work, all while funding his mutual aid organization, the International Brotherhood Welfare Association (IBWA).
The IBWA is still in existence today. The International Brotherhood Welfare Association is a charity that helps the working poor people help themselves.