A bill in the Indiana House seeks to make “The Hoosier State” the official nickname, and makes an effort to settle where the word comes from.
Representative J.D. Prescott of Union City filed House Bill 1143 to make “The Hoosier State” the official nickname. The bill says a man named Harry Hoosier, who was born into slavery and became a Methodist minister in the 1770s, is the origin of the name, though this is still a matter of debate.
WIBC reports that another points at a man named Samuel Hoosier who was hired to build a canal in the 1820s. Still another says “Who’s here” was a derogatory term from the south used by surveyors to describe uneducated people in the Indiana frontier. This was shortened to “hooshere,” and then “Hoosier.”
The word has been in common use to describe people from Indiana since the 1830s, and it’s one of the oldest established nicknames in the country.