The Falls City Journal Newspaper of Falls City, Nebraska wrote
a story on October 14, 1968 about hop vines, which were brought
from Pennsylvania over 100 years ago. Vines started from the original
vines can be seen in the Dawson, Nebraska area to this day. They
are a heritage plant of their ancestry. Known vines are growing
at the homes of Genevieve Young of Humboldt and in the gardens of
Bob Williamson of Dawson. The original article is printed in full
in the colony history book, "The Sweet Spring Still Flows."
"Hops that were brought from Pennsylvania and planted in
1881 are still producing at the Orville Wuster farm, two miles north
of Dawson. Sort of like a faithful old horse that has been put out
to pasture to live out his days in peace and with no duty assignments,
the hops have no function around the Wuster place anymore. But one
day they did, back before the turn of the century.
They were planted by Emanuel Ulmer, grandparents of Mr. Wuster,
Mr. Ulmer bringing them out from Pennsylvania. In the early days
the hops were soaked in water and then mixed with corn meal and
left to dry. The mixture then was cut into squares and used as leavening
in the making of bread. When Mr. Ulmer moved to Nebraska he paid
$50 an acre for his farm, which was only raw prairie with out even
a tree on the place. According to family history, he subscribed
to The Journal in 1883 for Pennsylvania relatives and they wrote
back that they really enjoyed getting the paper. The Wusters have
lived on the place since 1929, succeeding his parents, Mr. and Mrs.
No recipes using the hops are available as each generation taught
the next the usage and care of the product. The vines carry a shrubby
look with light green leaves that are leathery in texture. Once
started they root deep and come back yearly regardless of the intense
winters, hot summers and drought conditions. Heritage plants are
an excellent conversation piece in the garden and will produce an
interesting story or two from observers.