Back in the day: How did Mudsock originate?


Commentary by Robert Bowling

Where did the name Mudsock originate? Many of us are familiar with the Battle of Mudsock — the infamous 1881 bar brawl, or the annual rivalry football game between Fishers and Hamilton Southeastern high schools to see which school will claim the Mudsock Trophy.  The name is used so frequently that many people assume that it was an official name of Fishers, but it was just a nickname.

The name Mudsock was not unique to Fishers. Many cities and towns were known as Mudsock, including the nearby town of Dundee in Madison County. How towns became known as Mudsock all seem to have the same theme. The ground was so muddy that residents would get stuck in mud up to their ankles, hence the name Mudsock. A town in Ohio claimed that the name was derived from the mud that would build up on horses’ ankles, which resembled brown socks. Fishers even had a saloon built on poles, and many times a drunk person would stumble outside, only to get stuck in the mud.

When Fishers was founded, it was known as Fishers Station because of its stop on the railroad. Shortly after, it became known as Fishers Switch, and the two names were used interchangeably. In 1909, the post office dropped “switch” from the name.

Mudsock may not have been an official name, but it is a nickname that residents took pride in. An article in the Hamilton County Ledger from March 15, 1889, sums up the different names perfectly: “Known to the traveler as that great ironbound thoroughfare as Fishers, by those who send tender missives as Fishers Switch, by the country people as Fishers Station, and by rival hamlets who denizens (citizens) want to be called smart, Mudsock.”