Although Uncle Sam is one of our most familiar icons, many Americans have little or no concept of his origins.
The origins of Uncle Sam can be traced well back into colonial times. The actual figure of Uncle Sam, however, dates from the War of 1812, and like many mythological and symbolic figures, Uncle Sam has origins in actual fact and, in this case, an actual man. Born in Massachusetts, Samuel Wilson settled in the town of Troy, New York. Known locally as "Uncle" Sam, he would be the impetus for a regional saying which would eventually become a national icon.