Samuel Wilson

Samuel Wilson (1766 - 1854)

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Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson
Born in Arlington, Menotomy, Middlesex, Massachusettsmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Husband of — married in Mason, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United Statesmap
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Father of
Died in Troy, Rensselaer, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 1 May 2015
This page has been accessed 619 times.



Biography and legacy Samuel was born in the historic town of Arlington, Massachusetts (known as Menotomy at the time, township of West Cambridge), to parents Edward and Lucy Wilson. Samuel Wilson is a descendant of one of the oldest families of Boston, Massachusetts. Through direct heritance of his grandfather, Robert Wilson, originally from Greenock, Scotland, he was Scottish with a Massachusetts background. As a boy, he moved with his family to Mason, New Hampshire. In 1789, at the age of 22, Samuel and his older brother Ebeneezer, age 27, relocated, by foot, to Troy, New York. The Wilson brothers were amongst the first pioneer settlers of the community. Troy, New York was attractive to earlier settlers for its proximity to the Hudson River. Samuel and his brother Ebeneezer partnered together and built several successful businesses. Both were employees of the city as well as successful entrepreneurs. Samuel was invested in the community. He was rumored to already have had the nickname Uncle Sam because he was friendly and so well liked.

Marriage and children Samuel returned to Mason, New Hampshire in 1797, to marry Betsey Mann, daughter of Captain Benjamin Mann. Samuel and Betsey were parents to four children, Polly (1797-1805), Samuel (1800–07), Benjamin (1802–59), and Albert (1805–66).

Benjamin Wilson was the only child to have children. He married Mary Wood, and together they were parents to Sarah, Elizabeth, Emma, and Marion. Albert married Amanda but they had no children.

Career While living in Mason, New Hampshire, at the young age of fifteen, Samuel joined the Revolutionary Army on March 2, 1781. His duties while enlisted consisted of guarding and caring for cattle, and mending fences, as well as slaughtering and packaging meat. Guarding meat was a priority during the war. It was not uncommon for enemies to tamper with and poison food sources. Samuel’s service to the Revolutionary Army most likely came to an end around October 19, 1781 with the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

After his relocation to Troy, New York, Samuel drew upon his prosperous location. He purchased property on Mount Ida (now Prospect Park), closely located to the Hudson River. The combination of natural elements produced exceptional clay, ideal for brick making. This began a new business venture for Samuel Wilson. His bricks were the first native bricks of Troy. Many historical buildings in Troy include bricks made by Wilson. This was revolutionary during the 18th century. Many bricks during this period were imported from the Netherlands.[citation needed]

On March 8, 1793, Samuel and his brother Ebeneezer leased the western half of lot 112, now 43 Ferry St., from Jacob Vanderhyden for 30 shillings a year. This was the year the Wilson brothers began E & S Wilson, which was the Wilson brothers’ introduction to the profitable meat business. Their slaughterhouse was located between Adams (now Congress) Street and Jefferson Street. The brothers took advantage of their prime location and built a dock at the foot of what is now Ferry Street. Having such access to the Hudson River enabled E & S Wilson to prosper.

Sam Wilson not only was a pioneer of Troy, he was active in the community, as well as an employee of the city. On April 12, 1808, he took an oath as Office Assessor. Four days later he took an Oath of Office as Path Master (now more commonly known as road commissioner).

War of 1812 Samuel Wilson’s career role during the War of 1812 is what he is most noted for today. The demand for a supply of meat for the troops had significantly increased. E & S Wilson’s location and dock made the business ready and ideal. Secretary of War Eustris made a contract with Elbert Anderson Jr. of New York City to supply and issue all rations necessary for the United States forces in New York and New Jersey for one year. Anderson ran an advertisement on October 6, 13, and 20 looking to fill the contract. E & S Wilson secured the contract for 2,000 barrels of pork and 3,000 barrels of beef for one year. The business held a staff of 200 men during this period. Samuel Wilson was appointed meat inspector for the Northern Army. His duties included checking the freshness of meat and assuring that it was properly packaged and that the barrels were according to specification. Each barrel was required to be labeled. Each barrel was marked “E.A.-U.S.” This marking indicated Elbert Anderson, United States. The great majority of E & S Wilson’s meat was shipped close by to a camp of 6,000 soldiers in Greenbush, New York. Many soldiers stationed in Greenbush were locals of Troy. They knew of or were acquainted with Sam Wilson and his nickname Uncle Sam, as well as his meat packing business. These soldiers recognized the barrels being from Troy and made an association between the "U.S." stamp and Uncle Sam. Over time, it is believed, anything marked with the same initials, as much Army property was, also became linked with his name.

Historical legacy and image Samuel Wilson died July 31, 1854 at the age of 87. He was originally buried in Mt. Ida Cemetery, but later transferred to Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. Monuments mark his birthplace in Arlington, Massachusetts, and site of burial in Troy, New York. Another sign marks "The boyhood home of Sam" outside his second home in Mason, N.H. The first use of the term in literature is seen in an 1816 allegorical book, The Adventures of Uncle Sam in Search After His Lost Honor by Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy, Esq., also in reference to the aforementioned Samuel Wilson. The 87th United States Congress adopted the following resolution on September 15, 1961: "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America's National symbol of Uncle Sam."

However, an Uncle Sam is mentioned as early as 1775 in the original “Yankee Doodle” lyrics of the Revolutionary War. It is not clear whether this reference is to Uncle Sam as a metaphor for the United States. The lyrics as a whole clearly deride the military efforts of the young nation, besieging the British at Boston. This is the 13th stanza:

Old Uncle Sam come then to change / Some pancakes and some onions, / For ’lasses cakes, to carry home / To give his wife and young ones.

The image of Uncle Sam has always been a topic of conversation. He is the highest ideal for national character. His varying images can be attributed to several artists. However, James Montgomery Flagg might be the most influential. James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960) was a political cartoonist from the late-1800s onwards. He created the most iconic poster of Uncle Sam. Flagg evolved the image of Sam, applying a white beard as well as change in wardrobe. Stars and stripes were added to the personification’s suit, depicting the character we are familiar with today.[8] It was originally published as the cover for the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly with the title "What are You Doing for Preparedness?" Between 1917 and 1918, over four million copies were printed. This poster served as propaganda for the United States as it entered World War I. This image was widely distributed and has been re-used with different captions. During the same war, WWI, this image reached its peak popularity when the words "I Want You For The U.S. Army" were chosen.

This biography was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import.[1] It's a rough draft and needs to be edited.


Name: Samuel "Uncle Sam" /Wilson/[2][3][4]


Date: 13 Sep 1766
Place: Arlington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States[5][6]


Date: 31 Jul 1854
Place: Troy, Albany, New York, United States[7][8]

Military Service

Military Service:
Place: Massachusetts[9]


Place: Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA[10]


Husband: Samuel Wilson
Wife: Betsey Mann
Date: 03 Jan 1797
Place: Mason, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, United States[11]


  1. Wilson-26121 was created by Margaret Wright through the import of Wright Family Tree Gedcom-2015-04-25.aspx.ged on Apr 25, 2015. This comment and citation can be deleted after the biography has been edited and primary sources are included.
  2. Source: #S-457473312 APID: 1,70572::6467071
  3. Source: #S-457473317 APID: 1,1133::45536
  4. Source: #S-457473311 Page: Birth year: 1766; Birth city: Old Menotomy; Birth state: MA APID: 1,4725::2810279
  5. Source: #S-457473312 APID: 1,70572::6467071
  6. Source: #S-457473311 Page: Birth year: 1766; Birth city: Old Menotomy; Birth state: MA APID: 1,4725::2810279
  7. Source: #S-457473312 APID: 1,70572::6467071
  8. Source: #S-457473311 Page: Birth year: 1766; Birth city: Old Menotomy; Birth state: MA APID: 1,4725::2810279
  9. Source: #S-457473317 APID: 1,1133::45536
  10. Source: #S-457473312 APID: 1,70572::6467071
  11. Source: #S-457473311 Page: Birth year: 1766; Birth city: Old Menotomy; Birth state: MA APID: 1,4725::2810279

  • Source: S-457473311 Repository: #R-995417665 Title: Family Data Collection - Individual Records Author: Edmund West, comp. Publication: Operations Inc Note:
  • Repository: R-995417665 Name: Address: Note:
  • Source: S-457473312 Repository: #R-995417665 Title: Web: New York, Find A Grave Index, 1660-2012 Author: Publication: Operations, Inc. Note:
  • Source: S-457473317 Repository: #R-995417665 Title: War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815 Author: Publication: Operations Inc Note:

-"Family Tree," database, FamilySearch ( : modified 29 July 2017, 02:02), entry for Samuel Wilson(PID; contributed by various users. PersonID LZJK-J7T

"New Hampshire Marriage Records, 1637-1947," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 26 September 2017), Samuel Wilson and Betsey Mann, 03 Jan 1797; citing , Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord; FHL microfilm 1,001,319.

"Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch ( : 13 December 2015), Samuel Wilson, 1854; Burial, Troy, Rensselaer, New York, United States of America, Oakwood Cemetery; citing record ID 1114, Find a Grave,

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Samuel by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Samuel:

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Images: 6
Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson

Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson

Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson

Samuel "Uncle Sam" Wilson

Uncle Sam Statue
Uncle Sam Statue

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On 17 Sep 2016 at 01:21 GMT Scott Lee wrote:

Excellent Bio! My Uncle Sam!

On 5 May 2016 at 04:49 GMT M (McQueen) M wrote:

Wilson-31190 and Wilson-26121 appear to represent the same person because: same vitals same parents

Samuel is 23 degrees from Rosa Parks, 22 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 17 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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