The New International Encyclopædia/States, Popular Names of
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States, Popular Names of
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STATES, Popular Names of.
Badger State. Wisconsin, from the animal.
Bay, or Old Bay, State. Massachusetts. The name Massachusetts Bay, though later used in a more extended sense, was originally restricted to Boston Harbor, and as early as 1622 persons from Plymouth spoke of ‘the Bay.’ Under the first charter, the government was called the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay; and under the second charter, the Province of the Massachusetts Bay. Hence the nicknames Bay Colony, Bay Province, and Bay, or Old Bay, State.
Bayou State. Mississippi, from the number of its bayous, a word derived from the Indian bayouc(k), meaning a rivulet.
Bear State. Arkansas, from the animal.
Blackwater State. Nebraska, from the dark color of its rivers, owing to the black vegetable mold which covers large areas.
Blizzard State. South Dakota. The word ‘blizzard,’ of obscure origin, was used as early as 1829 in the sense of a blow or a discharge from a gun. In its present sense the word was recorded in 1876, and is said to have been current in Dakota for a decade previous.
Blue Grass State. Kentucky, from its celebrated blue grass.
Blue Hen State. Delaware. The term is said to have originated in the Revolutionary War, when an officer in a Delaware regiment raised famous gamecocks from a breed of blue hens; hence the members of his regiment were called ‘Blue Hen's Chickens,’ and so the name came to be applied to the State; but the story lacks proof.
Blue Law State. Connecticut. See Blue Laws.
Bread and Butter State. Minnesota, from its wheat and dairy products.
Buckeye State. Ohio, because of the horse-chestnut, which grows there in great profusion and which for more than a century has been popularly called buckeye.
Bullion State. Missouri, from the sobriquet ‘Old Bullion,’ applied to Senator Thomas Hart Benton of that State on account of his advocacy of gold and silver currency.
Centennial State. Colorado, because it was admitted into the Union in the Centennial year, 1876.
Central State. Kansas, from its location with reference to the other States of the Union.
Corn Cracker State. Kentucky, perhaps because the poor whites subsist chiefly on corn.
Cotton State. Alabama, because it is the central State of the cotton belt.
Cracker State. Georgia, from the poor whites, who for more than a century have been called Crackers.
Creole State. Louisiana, from its many inhabitants descended from the French and Spanish settlers.
Dark and Bloody Ground. Kentucky, because in its early days it was the scene of frequent Indian wars. The name has been known for more than a century.
Diamond State. Delaware, from its diminutive size.
Dominion, Ancient or Old. Virginia. In early documents we read of ‘the Colony’ or ‘the Plantation’ or ‘the Colony and Plantation’ of Virginia; while later, about 1674, there are allusions to ‘the Colony and Dominion’ of Virginia, about 1682 to ‘the Dominion’ of Virginia, and about 1697 to ‘the Ancient Colony and Dominion’ of Virginia. Hence, in time, came the nicknames Ancient Dominion and Old Dominion merely. According to some, the name is due to Virginia's lovalty to the Stuarts during the Civil War.
Egypt. Southern Illinois, either from its alleged intellectual darkness or from the fertility of its soil.
El Dorado. California. El Dorado (q.v.) was the name of a fictitious region or city, abounding in gold, supposed to exist in South America. Hence it was sometimes, after the discovery of gold in California in 1849, applied to that State.
Empire State. New York, from its size, wealth, and number of its inhabitants.
Empire State of the South. Georgia, from its enterprise.
Evergreen State. Washington.
Excelsior State. New York, from the motto on its seal (adopted 1778).
Freestone State. Connecticut, from its freestone quarries.
Golden State. California, from its gold-mines.
Gopher State. Minnesota, from the animal.
Granite State. New Hampshire, from its granite hills.
Green Mountain State. Vermont, from the Green Mountains.
Hawkeye State. Iowa. The name arose about 1839, apparently in allusion to J. G. Edwards, familiarly known as ‘Old Hawkeye,’ editor of the Burlington Patriot, the name of which paper was changed September 5, 1839, to the Hawkeye and Patriot.
Hoosier. Indiana. In use as early as 1833, but its origin is obscure.
Jayhawker State. Kansas. The word, of obscure derivation, appears to have originated with a party on its way to California in 1849, but no instance of its use is recorded prior to 1858, when it was used in Kansas, where it was derisively applied to James Montgomery and his men, who, in retaliation for the atrocities committed on Free-State settlers by the ‘border ruffians,’ raided the pro-slavery settlers and their abettors from Missouri. Later it was applied to marauders on both sides during the Civil War, and finally was applied to the people of Kansas.
Keystone State. Pennsylvania, probably because it was the central State of the Union at the time of the formation of the Constitution.
Lake State, Michigan.
Land of Steady Habits. Connecticut. See Blue Laws.
Little Rhody. Rhode Island, from its diminutive size.
Lone Star State. Texas, from the single star in the flag of the Texas Republic (1836-1845).
Lumber State. Maine.
Mormon State. Utah.
Mother of Presidents. Virginia, because the birthplace of seven Presidents.
Mother of States. Virginia, because the first settled of the States.
New England of the West. Minnesota.
Nutmeg State. Connecticut, in allusion to the alleged manufacture of wooden nutmegs in that State.
Old Colony. That part of Massachusetts which from 1620 to 1692 was the Plymouth Colony.
Old Line State. Maryland, probably from the ‘Maryland Line’ which won distinction in the Revolutionary War.
Old North State. North Carolina.
Palmetto State. South Carolina, from the device on its seal.
Panhandle State. West Virginia, from the irregular section of the State projecting northward between Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Pelican State. Louisiana, from the device on its seal.
Peninsula State. Florida, from its location.
Pine Tree State. Maine, from the device on its seal, adopted in 1820.
Prairie State. Illinois, from its prairies.
Sage-Brush State. Nevada, from the plant.
Silver State. Nevada, from its silver-mines.
Sucker State. Illinois, because in the early days the men went up the Illinois River to the mines and returned at the season when the sucker migrated. The term was first used about 1833.
Sunflower State. Kansas.
Turpentine State. North Carolina, from the turpentine produced in it.
Web-Foot State. Oregon, from the quantity of rain which falls there.
Wolverine State. Michigan, from the animal.