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Hoosier is the term used to describe people from Indiana.

It first came into general usage in the 1830's. John Finley of Richmond wrote a poem, "The Hoosier's Nest," which was used as the "Carrier's Address" of the Indianapolis Journal, Jan. 1, 1833. As it came into common usage, the debates about the term's origin began.

Some common theories are:

  • When a visitor came to knock on a cabin door in Indiana, the occupant would call out "Whos yere?"
  • Indiana rivermen were so spectacularly successful in trouncing or "hushing" their adversaries in the brawling that was then common that they became known as "hushers."
  • A contractor named Samuel Hoosier preferred to hire workers from Indiana during the construction of an Ohio river canal. His employees became known as "Hoosier's men" and finally just "Hoosiers".
  • The poet James Whitcomb Riley[?] facetiously suggested that the fierce brawling that took place in Indiana involved enough ear biting that the expression "Who's ear?" was common enough to be notable.
  • Jacob Piatt Dunn, Jr., Indiana historian and secretary of the Indiana Historical Society concluded that the term stemmed from the word "hoozer" from the Cumberland dialect of England, deriving from the Anglo-Saxon word "hoo" meaning high or hill. Immigrants from Cumberland, England settled in the Southern Appalachians and then migrated to the southern hills of Indiana, bringing the term with them.
  • Numerous German soldiers who fought for the United States in the American Revolution, known as "hussars" emigrated to what later became Indiana.

    See also Hoosier Hysteria.

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