Hop Picking in Puyallup, 1885

Puyallup Pickings

From Tacoma Daily Ledger
September 17, 1885

Hop picking is advancing although the rain has been heavy. The Indians do not stop much for wet weather. The women, with calico dresses and many of them with bare feet, work all day, but they are not exempt from diseases, many of them are dying with consumption and lung diseases.
There are quite a number of white loafers around this year as usual furnishing the Indians with liquor. These tramps are too lazy to work and sell the whiskey to the Indians at a large profit, thus getting enough money to keep themselves in whiskey.
Three prisoners were “sent up”last week. If Puyallup was incorporated the town could get considerable road work done each fall very cheaply by this class of men. This is a crime that needs to be severely dealt with. The wild Indians come to town on their horses and securing liquor become reckless, and go to their camps up the valley racing and yelling. Children have to run for their lives to prevent getting run over. If it was not for this one article being furnished to the Indians by these white loafers, hop picking would pass off with hardly a disturbance of any kind. Not a very high compliment to the whites, that 3000 or 4000 Indians can dwell here in a radius of twenty miles in entire peace, only as disturbed by the whites. Most of the farmers are picking their crops. Quite a number of the small growers have sold their crops on the poles to local speculators, and larger growers at the three-quarters of a cent and a cent a pound.
The bright sun following the heavy rains has caused the hops to turn brown. It is now estimated that with this loss from this change from the weather, the short crop from the drought and the amount that will not be picked, that Washington territory will not put on the market over half the amount of last year.

Published by RLMartin

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