On September 7, 1813, the United States was nicknamed 'Uncle Sam' and is connected to a meat packer from Troy named Samual Wilson.

During the War of 1812, Samual Wilson supplied barrels of beef to the Army, stamped 'U.S.' for the United States. Soldiers started calling the food 'Uncle Sams,' a newspaper picked up the story, and 'Uncle Sam' was soon the nickname for the US Federal Government.

Political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who is credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus, the donkey for the Democratic Party and the elephant as a symbol for the Republicans, is said to be the one who gave 'Sam' the white beard and the stars and stripes suit that we still know today.

Artist James Montgomery Flagg is credited for Uncle Sam's most famous image of Uncle Sam pointing straight forward with the caption “I Want You For The U.S. Army.”

History.com says in September 1961, the U.S. Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as “the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam.” Wilson died at age 88 in 1854 and was buried next to his wife Betsey Mann in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York, the town that calls itself “The Home of Uncle Sam.”

Samual Wilson and his wife had a very simple tombstone until his granddaughter erected a larger stone and brass plaque 77 years after he died. Local Boy Scouts take care of the flag pole that's nearby.

[Information from History.com  and Roadside America]

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