|March 21, 2002||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Little-Known Bits of American History
Why is Ohio Called the Buckeye State?
Ohio got its nickname from the fact that the natural range of the horse chestnut tree known as the buckeye was restricted largely to the Ohio River watershed. In his History of American Forest Trees (1810), Francis Andre Michaux names this species “Ohio Buckeye” because of its relative abundance in that region.
Buckeye was suggested by the fact that the dark-brown nut with its pale scar was fancied to resemble the eye of a deer. Hetuck, “buck’s eye,” is said to have been an Indian name for the nut.
Ohio became nationally known as the Buckeye State during the Log-Cabin and Hard-Cider presidential campaign of 1840, when cabins, cider kegs, walking sticks and all sorts of articles were made from buckeye wood as a tribute to General William Henry Harrison, who was Ohio’s first citizen to become President and lived near Cincinnati. In the election versus Martin Van Buren, one stanza of a Whig campaign song ran:
- Let Van from his coolers of silver drink wine,
And lounge on his cushioned settee!
Our man on his buckeye bench can relax,
Content with hard cider is he!
Thanks to George Stimpson for the information in this article.
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