1839 – How did the name “Hawkeye” become associated with Iowa?
Burlington lawyer, Judge David Rorer, and newspaperman, James G. Edwards promoted the name Hawkeye as the state’s nickname, honoring both their personal friends, Chief Black Hawk and Sumner “Hawkeye” Phelps, while also pulling from the great popularity of James Fenimore Cooper’s book, The Last of the Mohicans. So, by 1839, while Edwards was using his Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper to promote the idea, Rorer did his part by ghostwriting several anonymous letters widely published in Iowa newspapers. His series of articles was called A Wolverine Among the Hawkeyes; letters supposedly written by a Michigan traveler visiting Iowa.
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