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Origins of the Hubbard Squash
Bela Hubbard, founder of Randolph, Ohio, was the first to cultivate the Hubbard Squash according to local legend. There are many tales floating around the internet about its origin. No one is very sure. There are a few main stories about the origins of the Hubbard Squash. First, an account from the Wise Family in “Families Migrating West“.
“In 1831 sons of Hubbard and Belding took a journey into the southern part of Ohio. After spending some time there returned with some choice squash seeds. From these seeds Bela Hubbard raised a splendid crop of winter squash. From this incident the Hubbard Squash took its name.”(Wise).
Another account of the Hubbard Squash Origin was that the “seed king” James J. H. Gregory named the squash after his neighbor, Elizabeth Hubbard who obtained the seeds from Captain Knott Martin. This story is a misinterpretation based on the December 1857 publication in the Magazine of Horticulture.
“The facts relative to its cultivation in Marblehead are simply these. Upwards of twenty years ago, a single specimen was brought into town, the seed from which was planted in the garden of a lady, now deceased; a specimen from this yield was given to Captain Knott Martin, of this town, who raised it for family use for a few years, when it was brought to our notice in the year 1842 or ’43. We were first informed of its good qualities by Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, a very worthy lady, through whom we obtained seed from Capt. Martin. As the squash up to this time had no specific name to designate it from other varieties, my father termed it the ‘Hubbard Squash.”
It seems strange that the Hubbard Squash also known as the Ohio Squash would have the scientific name “cucurbita maxima ohioensis” if it were named after a woman in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The story from James J.H. Gregory also does not indicate the origin of the squash. Only that the seeds came from a lady in a town who is now deceased. It is also strange that the name supposedly comes from a neighbor woman who is named Elizabeth Hubbard, same name as the second wife of Bela Hubbard who died in 1862. Bela Hubbard’s account of the squash’s origins are from 1831 while James J.H. Gregory doesn’t obtain the squash until 1842.