Saturday, September 12, 2015

Uncle Sam was born in 1813

More than 200 years ago, the United States got its nickname: “Uncle Sam”

The best story about it is that American soldiers stationed near Troy, NY, during the war of 1812 recognized that the beef they were eating came from the Troy meatpacking plant of Samuel Wilson.

Wilson shipped his meat in barrels marked “U. S.” for “United States” under a subcontract with an army quartermaster. Wilson, a Revolutionary War veteran, was prominent in Troy, and some soldiers were aware that his nickname was Uncle Sam.

The troops started referring to their grub as beef from “Uncle Sam.” The name stuck, and gradually became standard in the soldiers’ lingo.

Fifty years later, Thomas Nast, the trenchant mid-19th century political cartoonist, got the ball rolling in defining the iconic image of Uncle Sam, including the white beard and the flag-themed suit.

For the record, the Uncle Sam “I Want You” recruiting poster was created by James Montgomery Flagg during World War I. It first appeared on the cover of Leslie’s Weekly in July 1916.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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