Editor’s note: This story was in the Brown County Democrat Aug. 5, 1898.
There is a growing interest in the fruit industry in this county. In truth, Brown County is one among the fruit counties of Indiana, and in the course of not many years, will produce and furnish the markets with more apples, peaches, pears, plums, etc., than any sister state.
The surface stratum geology, the climate, the physical features of the county, as well as knowledge derived from successful experience, testify to the truth that Brown County is peculiarly adapted to orchards.
There are now quite a number of good orchards throughout the county, there being no township without orchards; but in this article it is our purpose to write about a few particular orchards.
There are four orchards north of Nashville occupying places on the same ridge and within a radius of three miles. These orchards are known as follows: Freeman, Waltman, Snider and David.
The Freeman orchard, now known as Spring Hill Orchard, is about three and one-half miles north of Nashville on the ridge dividing Salt Creek on the south and Bean Blossom on the north, in Jackson Township. The orchard comprises 100 acres and contains 17,000 trees — apple, peach, plum, pear, quince and cherry.
The orchard site, so promising, so adapted, rather suggests to the observer the thought that the great ridge was purposely designed by nature for such use. Level or table-land-like on the summit, the long way parallel with the trend of the ridge, sloping gently at either side, this is indeed a select spot for trees. There are but few higher points in the county, and from here is afforded a view of the surrounding county as far as the eye can see.
But while it is true that the elevation amounts to almost a mountain, so gradual is the ascent that the traveler and visitor in approaching is scarcely conscious that he is mounting a hill of more than 1,000 feet above sea level.
This orchard was planted in the years 1893, 1894 and 1895, respectively, and is therefore about six years old according to the first setting of trees.
In 1895, Mr. Freeman erected a handsome, convenient and commodious two-story cottage of seven rooms with slat roof, and cellar the size of the building. During the early part of this summer he had built a large packing house, 30 by 50 feet, with driveway and other conveniences which will be used this autumn. These improvements are evidences of the owner’s enterprise, ability and pride.
Mr. James Campbell occupies the house and has been in the employ of Mr. Freeman since the setting of the fruit trees. He is a practical fruit grower and pleasant gentleman. In conversation with him, this writer obtained the following points of interest: Last year, strawberry sales amounted to $48.70, this year $29.64. One-fourth acre was devoted to the strawberry crop. He sold 58 bushels of early peaches, and estimates the autumn peach crop for this year at 1,000 bushels or could be more. During the year 1895, there were 200 visitors to the orchard: during 1896, there were 250.
— Pauline Hoover, Brown County Historical Society