This is a weblog about genealogy in and about the State of Ohio. It will feature news and views (mostly mine) about developments of interest to genealogists doing research in Ohio, no matter where they reside.--Wally Huskonen

Friday, July 01, 2005

Origin of Ohio's Buckeye Nickname

Ever wonder about the origin of Ohio's nickname? If so, check out the following explanation from the book, Historical Collections of Ohio, by Henry Howe and published by C. J. Krehbiel & Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, copyright 1888 by Henry Howe. The edition is Volume I: 1900 – Volume II: 1904. The book is available on-line at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~henryhowesbook/index.html.

The book and its on-line reproduction (thanks to a number of Rootsweb volunteers) contains historical information about the state and all 88 counties. The book was published without an index, and so is the reproduction on this website; however, a Search This Site search engine is provided on the website.

“The name Buckeye as applied to the State of Ohio is an accepted sobriquet, so well recognized and so generally understood throughout the United States, that its use requires no explanation, although the origin of the term and its significance are not without question, and therefore become proper subjects of consideration during this centennial year.

“The usual and most commonly accepted solution is that it originates from the buckeye tree which is indigenous to the State of Ohio and is not found elsewhere. This, however, is not altogether correct, as it is also found both in Kentucky and Indiana, and in some few localities in Western Virginia, and perhaps elsewhere. But while such is the fact, its natural locality appears to be in the State of Ohio, and its native soil in the rich valleys of the Muskingum, Hocking, Scioto, Miamis and Ohio, where in the early settlement of the State it was found growing in great abundance, and because of the luxuriance of its foliage, the richly colored dyes of its fruit, and its ready adaptation to the wants and convenience of the pioneers it was highly prized by them for many useful purposes.

“It was also well known to and much prized by the Indians from whose rude language comes its name ‘HETUCK,’ meaning the eye of the buck, because of the striking resemblance in color and shape between the brown nut and the eye of that animal, the peculiar spot upon the one corresponding to the iris in the other. In its application, however, we have reversed the term and call the person or thing to which it is applied a buckeye.”