Uncle Sam, an American icon and a national symbol for the United States of America, is believed to have originated during the War of 1812.
Samuel Wilson was a meat packer and inspector of beef and pork at the E&S Wilson Company, owned by Samuel and his brother Ebenezer. After the United States declared war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812, the E&S Wilson Company was chosen to supply meat for the northern army of the United States.
Barrels purchased for the military from E&S Wilson by a contractor – Elbert Anderson – were marked EA-US. Over time, the name Uncle Sam and the United States became synonymous.
On September 15, 1961, the US Congress recognized Samuel Wilson of Troy, NY, as the “progenitor of America’s National Symbol of Uncle Sam,” and in 1989 designated Wilson’s birthday, September 13, as Uncle Sam Day.
In 2019, the New York State chapter of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 dedicated a marker at the grave site of Samuel Wilson in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy.
The marking of Uncle Sam’s grave site was part of the commemorative efforts of Mary Raye Casper, Daughters of 1812 National President. The National Society United States Daughters of 1812 donated twelve 6’ x 10’ flags for display at Uncle Sam’s grave.
Photos: Above, Uncle Sam’s gravesite in Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, NY; and a portrait of Samuel Wilson taken in the early 1850s when he was in his 80s.