Why were settlers who moved from the South to the West called butternuts?

That basically sums it up. Any connection to the white walnut?

I think it came from the color of their clothes. The South had a butternut issue uniform for awhile, and men who had served the Confederacy and then moved West after the Great Unpleasantness probably wore parts of the uniform as everyday clothes. Waste not, want not, and all that. :smiley:

My quick searching would support silenus.

It’s quoted as a euphemism by 1863 in the OED. And saying that it was the color of the uniforms.

…but, looking further, I just read an interesting newspaper account of the ruffians from Pike County, Missouri, who went West to Oregon and California, and caused nothing but trouble. Bad trouble.

And, their clothes were described as “butternut” in color. So, my reading is, that it’s possible, if not probable, that the term was applied first to these louts.

I may come back and quote you part of the diatribe. It’s revealing.

I think that referencing Ike and Betsy as “ruffians” is pretty low! :wink:

BTW, how did you come by your statement?

To answer the second part of your question, there is a connection to the white walnut. The white walnut or “butternut” was used as a clothing dye by Southerners: