N 42° 24.952 W 071° 09.184
A monument at the birthplace of Samuel Wilson honors the man that legend asserts is the source of the personification of the United States, Uncle Sam. It is located in Uncle Sam Plaza at Mystic Street north of Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, MA.
A memorial to Samuel Wilson has two sculptures. An 8.67' high bronze statue depicts Wilson wearing a double breasted jacket and long-tailed coat. Wilson is carrying a top hat in the crook of his bent left arm. His right hand held downward with his open palm facing forward. The memorial was was commissioned by Fredrick A. Hauck of Cincinnati, OH and sculpted by Theodore Cotillo Barbarossa.
To Samuel Wilson's right is a relief sculpture with the familiar image of "Uncle Sam" wearing a top hat and tails. At the top is a butcher and a ship coming in to dock next to the word TROY In the middle of the relief is a man and woman standing behind a fence with the words MASON N-H. At the bottom is a soldier on horseback above the word MENOTOMY the former name for Arlington.
The monument has the following inscriptions:
Above the sculpture:
1766-1854Below the sculptures:
IN HONOR OF SAMUEL WILSON
A NATIVE SON
BORN NEAR THIS SITE
ON SEPTEMBER 13, 1766
OUR NATIONAL SYMBOL
FREDERICK A. HAUCK
A GIFT TO THE TOWN OF ARLINGTON
MASS. AND THE PEOPLE OF THE
UNITED STATES THROUGH THE GENEROUS
CONTRIBUTION OF FREDERICK A. HAUCK
OF CINCINNATI, OHIO
DESIGNER-SCULPTOR T.C. BARBAROSSA
CAST BY ELEFTHERIOS KARKADOULIAS
THE ARLINGTON JAYCEES
BOARD OF SELECTMEN
ARTHUR D. SAUL, JR., CHAIRMAN
ROBERT B. WALSH
ANN MAHON POWERS
MARGARET H. SPENGLER
ROBERT H. MURRAY
DONALD R. MARQUIS
UNCLE SAM STATUE COMMITTEE
WILLIAM J. BECK
JACK R. DONALDSON
JAMES D. HOBBS
JAMES F. LAWSON, JR.
FREDERICK E. PITCHER
JOHN G. PERRY
WILLIAM J. SCAGLIONE
Samuel Wilson was born in Arlington, MA, known as Menotomy, on September 13, 1766. When he was young he moved with his family to Mason, NH. At age 15 he joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War where he was introduced to the meat packing trade. After the war he and his brother moved to Troy, NY where they started E & S Wilson, a meat packing business.
During the War of 1812 Elbert Anderson Jr. of New York City had the contract to supply meat to all US troops. He contracted with Sam Wilson's company to supply United States troops with barrels of meat. The barrels were labeled "E.A.-U.S." for Elbert Anderson - United States. The troops south of Troy that received the barrels were familiar with Samuel Wilson and interpreted the U.S to mean Uncle Sam, Wilson's nickname, and the legend was born. Samuel Wilson became the personification of the United States.
However, there is evidence that Uncle Sam was in use long before the War of 1812. Uncle Sam is mentioned in the 13th stanza of the original lyrics to the popular 1775 song "Yankee Doodle".
Old Uncle Sam come there to change
Some pancakes and some onions,
For 'lasses cakes, to carry home
To give his wife and young ones