Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
Custer County's First Commercial Truck Garden
Joseph Eichhorn, according to the records in the office of the county clerk and recorder, received a patent to about 80 acres of land just east of the farm property now occupied by Dr. Eusterman on the road to the Elk's County Club. The Eichhorns came from Iowa to Montana in 1881, the family at that time consisting of Joseph Eichhorn, his wife, Emma, and their son, Arthur. They rode the new Northern Pacific Railroad as far as Bismarck, enjoying the best passenger service available, but Bismarck was as far as the real passenger service extended. If you have not heard of an "emigrant train", it was a train made up to accommodate homeseekers, their household goods, stock and machinery. These folks boarded the first "emigrant" train at Bismarck, and rode on this train to Glendive. After unloading their possessions at Glendive, the women and children on this train, who were coming further west, as were the Eichhorns, took the steamboat and came up the Yellowstone as far as Old Miles Town, while the men drove their stock and hauled their outfits overland up the river to their destination.

The homestead consisted of land that was not very well adapted for farming, so in 1891, Mr. Eichhorn purchased five acres of land on what is now South Sewall Avenue from Judge J. W. Strevell, paying therefor the sum of $75 per acre--a fairly high price for land in this community at that time. He later purchased additional land, which comprises the property now occupied by Vic Kosty. To this five acre tract, which was irrigated by the then Tongue river ditch, Mr. Eichhorn moved the house from the old homestead. This house had been built from lumber sawed at the government sawmill in the Pine Hills. He then started the first commercial truck garden in this community.

He raised all kinds of vegetables and numerous fruit trees, together with small fruits. The fruit trees consisted of "Wealthy" and other varieties of apples, three kinds of crab apples and three kinds of tame plums, and later, Compass cherries, in addition to strawberries, gooseberries, currants and Concord grapes--also different varieties of wild plums. He even tried pear trees, but was unsuccessful. One of the principal activities on this truck farm was the starting of the vegetable plants, such as cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, etc., for sale and for transplanting into his truck garden. These were started in hotbeds and were usually sold by the dozen and by the hundred. One of the outstanding crops raised by Mr. Eichhorn was celery. The flavor of this celery was unexcelled and gained such a reputation that samples of it were shipped to different parts of the United States. This raising of celery was quite a project, as it had to be started in the hotbeds, transplanted into the garden, and, if desired for use at the holiday season, had to be brought from the garden into root cellars and replanted until time for use. Two other crops were outstanding: sweet corn and watermelons. Sweet corn was raised in abundance and watermelons were raised to such an extent that very often during the season carloads of these Eichhorn-raised melons were shipped to Butte and points farther west. Incidentally, however, the watermelons for shipment were not raised on the Kosty place, but on the tract of land north of the radio station.

Mr. Eichhorn ran a "vegetable wagon", selling vegetables about town all during the season and as Miles City is known to have the longest growing season in the state, his activities continued for several months. Perhaps you wonder what became of the apple and other fruit trees. Along in the late nineties, there was an early warm spell of weather in February, which lasted long enough to start the sap flowing in the fruit trees, and then came a hard freeze and much cold weather. This put an end to all the fruit trees with the exception of a few crabs and plums. When spring finally came, and it was found that the trees were not leafing out properly, the state horticulturist made an investigation, and it is related that he diagnosed the situation as blight and ordered the trees destroyed, but his orders were circumvented.