Uncle Sam(s)

Twofer Tuesday, so lets talk a little about two versions of how the term Uncle Sam originated and evolved.

First, there really was a Sam as in Samuel Wilson a New York meat packer who provided our Army with rations during the war of 1812. The meat was packaged in barrels labeled “EA-US” for Elbert Anderson-United States. Elbert had the contract for supplying the New York and New Jersey troops with rations during the war and in turn had contracted with Sam Wilson to supply the meat. Because many of the New York-based soldiers knew that the meat source was from Sam’s packing house, they used his nickname of Uncle Sam as the provider of their rations.

Sam Wilson

Here is a short video I found on Sam’s efforts during the War of 1812:

Later in our history, as the Army was looking for recruits to enlist, the Uncle Sam I Want You poster was done by James Flagg. He depicted a fella by the name Walter Botts (below) pointing at you (click here.)

Botts was also a musician as discussed in this video titled appropriately enough Two Sams:

As for some rock and roll today, this tune always comes to mind whenever I hear said “I want you…” Not my most favorite of rock songs, but after hearing it I will find myself humming it the rest of my day. “Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I…..”

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