Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
A study of the derivation of the names of the principal towns in eastern Montana is an interesting one--most of the towns along the Yellowstone are named for men connected with the early uprisings or with the building of the Northern Pacific Railroad. But getting away from the river and the railroad we find nestled in the hills on Russell creek near the head of Little Beaver creek in southeastern Montana the thriving town of Ekalaka, with more romance connected with the name it bears than usual. The story of the early days of Ekalaka takes us back to the golden age of the west, to the brave, free life of the wilderness and plains--the most romantic chapter in American history. In the olden days, before there was any state or even territory of Montana, an Indian girl was born on Powder river. Her parents were Sioux. She was of a restless disposition, something unusual among Indians, and on this account was called Ekalaka--spelled Ijkalaka, which in the Sioux tongue means restless--always on the move. When this restless, roving child of the plains was about sixteen years old she met David Harrison Russell, an intrepid scout, hunter and all-around frontiersman, who had been something of a rover himself. The man wooed and won her. In August, 1881, six years after their marriage, they settled in a beautiful valley at the edge of the forest, on the bank of a stream fed by numerous springs, where there was plenty of grass and where there were buffalo in droves and many other kinds of wild game in abundance. Their location was many miles from any other white settlement, in the domain of the old war chief, Rain-in-the-Face, and was reputed to be infested by hostile Indians who at this particular time were in a dangerous and ugly mood. But the white man with an Indian wife was considered comparatively safe. Several years later when a representative of the government wanted a name for the new post office, he asked Russell to give him some Indian names. The old scout rattled off a string as long as his arm, but none of them struck the man's fancy. He then asked--"what is your wife's name?" Russell answered "Ijkalaka"--the "i" having the sound of the long "e". The official said "that's the name we want" but he simplified the spelling, making it Ekalaka and so that is the way the old town got its name.

We have told you how Ekalaka was named, but we only told you of one of its names--it had another which was nearly as well known--except by postoffice authorities--as its real name. There always seems to be something lacking about a western town or a westerner of the old order unless they have a nickname with local color, one that smacks suggestively of the soil. Thus it was that Ekalaka has always been known among its friends as "Puptown". It's a kind of a pet name and not supposed to be used except by those who love the place. The town of Ekalaka is about four miles north of the old Russell home and the first buildings in the town were erected in the fall of 1885. Sam Gordon, well known Miles City journalist and historian, says the town "Jes grew like Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin" and owes nothing to the scheming of any town lot boomer. The first building was a saloon, and the next venture was a store. Further quoting Gordon, he said of Ekalaka in 1900: "Livestock is the principal industry. A few years ago when the big companies ranged their cattle in that vicinity, Ekalaka was the headquarters for these outfits, and here the cowboys used to gather and spend their money with all the freedom characteristic of that class, and made it, in western parlance, a 'hot town'." Ekalaka has the further distinction of having been the county seat of two different counties, for it was the first county seat of Fallon County when that county was created in 1913, and it is at present the county seat of Carter County. If you have never seen the Medicine Rocks, you've missed one of eastern Montana's natural wonders. This attraction is about 12 miles north of Ekalaka, and consists of rocks towering above the level plains as much as eighty feet. They extend over several miles of territory, and in them can be seen forts, castles, temples, palaces and every conceivable style of architecture. They were called "Medicine Rocks" from the fact that they were once an Indian shrine, where the redmen used to meet and hold their powwows, and where the medicine men performed their mystic rites, and, as some say, "plotted against the whites." So next vacation time, don't travel to distant lands to see some of nature's wonders--make it a point to visit the Medicine Rocks--right in our own backyard--and on the same trip drop into the friendly neighboring town of Ekalaka--you'll find a true western welcome awaiting you in "Puptown".