Did you know that America’s Uncle Sam was actually a real person?
Samuel Wilson (A.K.A. Uncle Sam) was meat packer and politician from upstate New York. He got his nickname during the War of 1812 when he stamped boxes of beef and pork for the United States soldiers with a “U.S.” Since U.S. was not an abbreviation used at the time, jokes were made that U.S. stood for Uncle Sam and the name stuck.
From the U.S. stamp used, the joke grew to encompass all of government issued supplies and some soldiers even began referring to themselves as “Uncle Sam’s men”.
In 1820, the first cartoon of Uncle Sam appeared in a New England newspaper. At the time he was clean shaven and wore a black tophat and tailcoat. Through the years he has evolved into the red, white and blue character that we know today.