There are several theories of where the idea of Uncle Sam came from but probably the most believable came out of the War of 1812. A gentleman out of Troy, NY regularly served the American army with meat and other sundries and his service was always greeted with enthusiasm by the troops. According to legend, he wore a tall top hat and sported a white beard and hair. He may even have worn the red, white and blue colors to honor the American troops he served. Whether this legend is true or not we do know that someone got the idea of Uncle Same started around 1813. His image was first used in 1961 and the official day came in 1989.
How to celebrate – Dress up like Uncle Sam. Read about the War of 1812. Research the different variations of Uncle Sam.
Uncle Sam apparently comes from what soldiers in 1813 called Sam Wilson when he delivered the meat to their camps around Troy, New York. They were so happy to see him that he became their favorite Uncle! In 1961, Congress declared a resolution creating a celebration for Uncle Sam and Troy, New York. This resolution became official in 1989 declaring Septemeber 13th “Uncle Sam” Wilson day, apparently Sam Wilson’s birthday in 1776. No one seems to know if Uncle Sam and Sam Wilson looked like each other.
How to celebrate – Visit Troy, New York. Read about the War of 1812. See if you have any uncles that look like Sam.
I think we are all pretty familiar with Uncle Sam… but did you know where he came from and how he got to be the symbol of our country? Well, apparently there was a merchant that sold meat to the soldiers during the War of 1812. His name was Sam Wilson and he grew so popular with the soldier, among others, that they took to calling him Uncle Sam.
He operated out of Troy, New York and I guess you can see some resemblance in his photo to our Uncle Sam today. Well it so happens that his birthday falls on September 13th, which happens to be Uncle Sam Day! Now that didn’t really begin until 1961 when Congress voted on a drawing to be used for Uncle Sam. But they still did not vote in a day of celebration just yet.
There were two other characters in the running for become a national symbol. The first was Brother Jonathan. He was a lot more popular in the newspapers and the south than he was with the general public. Although, if you examine his character he did wear the same sort of hat and striped pants. However as this was the fashion of the day he did not really stand out all that much.
And then there was Uncle Sam’s girlfriend, Columbia. Now having a pretty woman to look at was inspiring and though provoking but did not exactly inspire men to fight. In fact, it rather made them want to take a nap and dream… maybe of Columbia herself!
It took until 1989 for Congress to actually officially recognize Uncle Sam Day. And now, it’s been so long, apparently anyone with white hair can be an Uncle Sam! “We want you… to celebrate Uncle Sam Day!”
How to celebrate – Dress up as Uncle Sam yourself and parade about the town. Start a write in campaign to see if Columbia can at least be the symbol for our Congress! Try and create your own national symbol like Uncle Sam!