If you’re from Indiana, you know that basketball and race cars run deep through the cornfields, across the flatlands and between the hilly terrain in the south-central region of the state.
You know the celebrity icons who have called Indiana home: Michael Jackson, Hoagy Carmichael, John Mellencamp, Henry Lee Summer, David Letterman, Jane Pauley and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as a plethora of others, according to the state’s official tourism website, Visit Indiana.
You understand Indiana’s place in history, even when that history lacks honor, like with the origin of the Ku Klux Klan and the rampage of gangster John Dillinger.
You may not know where the nickname Hoosier came from, but you probably have a folktale ready to go when someone asks what it means. The Indiana Historical Society states that one of the most retold legends concerns pioneers knocking on doors and asking, “Who’s yer Daddy?” or “Who’s here?” The term Hoosier gained momentum in the 1830s with the John Finley poem “The Hoosier’s Nest” and landed in Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms in 1848, defined as “a nickname given at the west, to natives of Indiana.”
Regardless of the origin, Hoosier is the given term for a person born, bred, raised or residing in Indiana.
Many ordinary Hoosiers call this state home, and they have stories that set them apart from one another. They don’t have to be famous like those celebrities already mentioned. They don’t have to be blips on Indiana’s history, like Bobby Knight or Larry Bird or Jimmy Hoffa. No one may ever know their names. But they have a story to tell.
This is the place for their stories.
Join us on this journey to uncover the extraordinary stories of Ordinary Hoosiers.