I recently came upon an unusual story about hop-pickers, which surprised me – and may perhaps surprise you too?
YELLOW WOLF (Pictured below) an American Indian, was born in 1856 in the Wallowa Valley, Oregon, where he spent most of his early years, before eventually playing a prominent role in the NEZ PERCE WAR of 1877, taking part in every battle in the campaign.
Initially captured and sent to Indian Territory in Oklahoma in 1885, Yellow Wolf was eventually permanently relocated to the Coleville Indian Reservation. To supplement their income, many of the Indians went hop-picking in the Yakama Valley, and it was during that time Yellow Wolf met a man called L.V. McWorter, who remained his friend for decades. Between them they documented important information on the Nez Perce Indian culture and also the Nez Perce War from the Indian perspective. Yellow Wolf was one of the last surviving participants of the war, and his autobiography and story of the Indian strategy and policy in the conflict was documented by McWorter. This mass of evidence and testimony is now recognised as a monumental contribution to the history of the Far Northwest. Yellow Wolf died on 21st August 1935 at Nespelem, Washington.
CHOPPING CHOKKORS (Swapping shoes) From Beverley Cherry
My Grandad Jack Pickett of Ash Tree Lane, Chatham, had to have his leg amputated when he was a very young man, and from them on he had the problem of a spare shoe that was of no use to him! My mother Lemmy, told me that when he bought a pair of shoes, he would save the spare one for when they went hopping, because one of the Carey men, like Grandad, had only one leg and he had the same problem with shoes. Fortunately they had opposite legs amputated, so when they met up at hopping time – they chopped chokkors!
HOME CURED BACON from Owen Florence Snr.
Early one chilly September morning before going off hop-picking, we decided to cook ourselves a good hot breakfast. The day before we'd bought a 10lb flitch of home-cured bacon from a butcher in Shrewsbury, so we cut ourselves some nice thick slices and cooked them on the fire outside. When we came home after a hard days work in the hop-fields, we were looking forward to some more of our tasty bacon, but when we unwrapped it, it had gone off! We could see maggots on it and felt ill that we'd eaten it that morning!!
From: Vanslow Smith
“We were hop-picking at the beginning of September. This place I always favoured as being beautiful, with oast houses standing in acres of pasture, hops growing all around and a tiny steam running by with watercress for the taking. We liked watercress and searched it out wherever we went. Mother said it was good for the blood. There were potatoes and berries growing, and corn still standing in land winding off in the distance – I could never get enough of this life!”