Residents of Troy have reason to feel extra patriotic. Did you know that our nation's symbol of Uncle Sam was actually based on a butcher from Troy, New York? Here's the story. Born on September 13, 1766 in Arlington, Massachusetts, Samuel L. Wilson was the seventh son of thirteen children. He and his brother Ebenezer began a meatpacking operation in Troy, New York after leaving home in 1789. During the War of 1812, in which Rensselaer County played an important role, Sam supplied barrels of beef to the soldiers training at Greenbush Cantonment. He stamped the barrels "U.S." and the soldiers from the area designated this beef as "Uncle Sam's", implying that the beef was provided by their townsman Sam Wilson. From there, the term took off and soon all government property was stamped and termed "Uncle Sam's."
In 1961, the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously passed a law which proclaimed that Samuel L. Wilson of Troy, New York, was the progenitor of the nation's symbol. The bill was signed by President John F. Kennedy.
Helmbold's has proudly made products in Troy since 1913.