Well, I guess that clears that up!
I recently stayed at the Kintner House Inn in Corydon, Indiana. They have 15 guest rooms, each named for a person or event connected to the history of Corydon. On their website, each room is listed with pictures and a short narrative about how it came about its name. One of the rooms was the "Hoosier Suite" (this wasn't the room I stayed in). Their website offers several suggestions as to how Indiana became known as The Hoosier State:
The origin of the word "Hoosier" is not known with certainty. It has been applied to the inhabitants of Indiana for many years. As early as 1830, "Hoosier" must have had an accepted meaning, as John Finley printed a poem that year called "The Hoosier Nest" in which the word occurs several times.
- Governors Wright and O.H. Smith believed that "Hoosier" was a mispronunciation of "Who's Here?" That is the most frequent explanation given to inquirers. (This is kind of silly!)
- Another suggested explanation is that a resident of Indiana had been captivated by the prowess of the Hussars during the Napoleonic Wars. In an attempt at self-glorification, he pronounced himself a "Hoosier" rather than a "Hussar". (This is even sillier!)
- Still others maintain the term is derived from the word "husher" which was a common term for a bully. (I hope this isn't the real answer ... I don't like this one!!)
- A baker in Louisville whose last name was Hoosier claimed that people in Indiana liked his gingerbread so well that they came to be known as "Hoosier's Men" or "Hoosier's Customers". (I wouldn't mind being descended from people who like cookies!!)
- Other residents insist the word came from the question "Who's your mother?" or "Who's your father?" (This is a little silly, too, don't you think?!)
So, I guess it's safe to say that no one really knows how Indiana became The Hoosier State. "Hoosier" could be a big, fat insult ... or it could be that "Hoosiers" just like cookies! Personally, I'm going to go with the cookies explanation!!