I lived on Iuka Avenue back in the day when Ohio State played only nine football games a year. When Woody Hayes had a losing season and the fans were trying to run him out of town. Iuka is an abbreviation for a sad sickly old Chickasaw Indian Chief by the name Ish-ta-ki-yu-ka-tubbe. I’m thinking he wasn’t in the best of shape either.Why is this lovely avenue in the Ravine District named after this peculiar Indian Chief? What was a southern tribe doing up north? Oh please read on as the plot thickens. Paul Harvey would say “and now the rest of the story”.
My staff doesn’t have a payroll so we had to hypothesis. William Neil, the stage coach king, brilliant farmer, the name sake of Neil House Hotel and Neil Avenue owned a manure load of land in north Columbus. William Neil donated the lower 300 acres at his death in 1870 to the State where The Ohio State University stands.
The Federal Government levied a substantial Estate Tax to pay for the Civil War and Neil’s estate planners must have convinced him to donate land rather than pay tax at his demise. He gifted much of his estate to his children prior to his death. William Neil was a great businessman and definitely in the top 10 persons in the history of Columbus, Ohio.
The preferred upper acreage was saved for a great real estate development. Captain Henry M. Neil was the son of the aforementioned farmer and the developer of Indianola Place. Indianola Place is the sight of all of best bars on campus of The Ohio State University . It also included some of the most historic homes, churches, and fraternity and sorority houses on the east side of campus. The Iuka Run/River ran down Iuka Avenue and Indianola; across High Street and through the south oval; through what we call Mirror Lake and down to the Olentangy.
But, I digress. Captain Henry Neil was wounded in a bloody Civil War artillery battle in Iuka Mississippi. There were over 1600 causalities. I’m thinking that Iuka Mississippi was ringing in his ear when they started naming the streets of Indianola Place. Onward and charge …
It so happens that a less than civil Federal Government stole all of the Mississippi land from Chief Iuka back in 1832. The bloody Civil War battle was just an old Native American attempt at evening the score. An excerpt of the treaty follows. http://bit.ly/bmnJUU
Read it and weep.