An American Icon We often see images of Uncle Sam, but who was he? Is he just a made up person or was this image based on a real person? uncle Sam, who was Sam Wilson, supplied the United States troops that were stationed in Troy, New York meat during The wAr of 1812. When the meat left Sam Wilson's store, it was stamped with the letters U.S. An employee joked with a meat inspector saying it stood for Uncle Sam, Wilson's nickname. In 1960, Congress made it official saying that Sam Wilson was the original Uncle Sam.