Ohio State Nickname
The Buckeye State
Ohio, the “Buckeye
State,” received its nickname because of the many buckeye trees that once covered its hills and plains. But that’s only partly the reason. We have to go back to the feverish presidential campaign of 1840 for the rest of it.
William Henry Harrison, a Virginia-born Ohioan and military hero, was a candidate for the White House, but his opponents commented that he was better suited to sit in a log cabin and drink hard cider.
Some of Harrison’s leading supporters, who were experts in promotional know-how, decided to turn into a positive reference what was supposed to be a negative one. They dubbed him “the log cabin candidate,” and chose as his campaign emblem a log cabin made of
buckeye timbers, with a long string of buckeyes decorating its walls. Furthermore, in parades, his backers walked with buckeye canes and rolled whisky barrels.
The campaign gimmicks were successful. “Old Tippecanoe,” as Harrison was often called, beat President Martin Van Buren in the latter’s bid for re-election, and thereafter the buckeye was
closely associated with the state of Ohio.
The name itself is of native origin because the markings on the nut resembled the eye of a buck, the Native Americans called it “hetuck” or “buckeye.”