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Buried at Merriam 

   The burial place of Samuel Wilson, the original Uncle Sam, has been located near Merriam, Noble Township, Noble County, Indiana.  Much has been written and several claims have been entered for title but the facts stated here seem so conclusive that they eliminate all doubt.  It was through the efforts of Mrs. Clara Zumbaugh, granddaughter of Samuel Wilson, that these facts were released. 
   Mrs. Zumbaugh's curiosity was first aroused by her mother when she, her mother, burned a book containing the story of Samuel Wilson's war career with this exclamation, "No one will ever believe that he was the "Uncle Sam" and since it was used to abuse Lincoln we hope they never find it is the truth!"  They never have been able to locate another of these books.
    The use of the term "Uncle Sam" by newspapers to ridicule President Lincoln seems to have been the real reason the Wilsons tried to down all memory of the term.  Since time has erased these cutting things said against the President, John Wilson, Samuel Wilson's only living child, agreed to release all he knew of the story. 
   Samuel Wilson was born at Wilmington, Delaware, March 4, 1778.  He was the son of Marmaduke and Mary Wilson who came from Scotland.  Samuel was one of three triplets, two boys and a girl, and the only children in the family.    In 1804-1805 Samuel and his brother accompanied Lewis and Clark as far north as where Mandon, North Dakota is now located.   They spent the winter there and returned to St. Louis in the spring.  Later they drifted east with their parents to New York. 
   A man by the name of Elbert Anderson operated a store at Troy on the Hudson.  Mr. Anderson employed Samuel Wilson to help in his store.  When the war with Great Britain was declared in 1812, Anderson's store was made a commissary and Wilson was made superintendent. As superintendent, Mr. Wilson was supposed to examine and mark all boxes, barrels, or packages.  He was always known about the store as "Uncle Sam", hence he marked all boxes E. A. and U. S. meaning Elbert Anderson and Uncle Sam. 
   One day, a longshoreman was asked the meaning of the meaning of the markings and he said they stood for Elbert Anderson and Uncle Sam. The terms Uncle Sam and United States having the same initials soon became a joke among the soldiers and spread rapidly.    Samuel Wilson was shifted from one position in the service to another during the war.  He was cited by Captain Haell for gallantry as a quarter gunner on the United States Ship "Constitution" in her historic battle with the British ship "Guerrier" in 1812.  He also served as private with Captain David's Moreland's Company, Fifth Regiment, Pennsylvania Militia in 1812. 
   At the age of fifty years he went to Pennsylvania and married Miss Susan Anderson of the Cumberland County.  She is thought to have been a relative of Elbert Anderson.  Ten children were born to this union.  There were seven boys and three girls, these being Noah, Andrew, David, Anthony, Samuel, James, John, Mary, Angeline and Lucinda.  Four of these sons answered President Lincoln's call to arms in 1861.  These were Noah, James, Andrew and John.  John, the only living son, resides on State Road 9 just south of the city of Albion, Indiana.  His close regards for President Lincoln, his remembering his father's resentment of how the sobriquet "Uncle Sam" was used to ridicule President Lincoln by some factions, sealed his lips until recently when he saw that it was no longer used in a sense of ridicule.  Incidentally, John passed his 96th birthday on August 17, 1931. 
  His daughter, Mrs. Clara Zumbaugh and his son, John reside with him and are caring for him in declining years, as he is very feeble.    Mrs. Zumbaugh has received many letters concerning the "Original Uncle Sam", some inquiring about the facts, some furnishing evidence as to the truth of the claim, and some criticizing every effort being made to establish the fact before Congress.
    On April 13, 1928 David Hogg, Representative to Congress from the 4th District, introduced a bill in the House asking for recognition of Samuel Wilson as the original Uncle Sam and an appropriation for a suitable marker at his grave.  The D.A.R. of Kendallville visited the grave this year and is trying to contribute its share, securing and establishing more facts about his life. 
   This honor is also asked by a Samuel Wilson who operated a slaughter house at Troy,  New York during the war of 1812.   Another claim has come from a town in Indiana south of Indianapolis.  Still another comes from Massachusetts.  Time and research will prove or disprove the claim of each.  Anyone visiting the Merriam Christian Chapel Cemetery will  find the grave marked by a small marble slab.  Samuel Wilson died near Pierceton, Indiana.   His body was moved from Kosciusko County to its present resting place by Otis Hawk of Merriam, Indiana.  The dates on the marker are not all correct.  They were cut by some workman in Warsaw, Indiana and read incorrectly as to his death.  These should read Birthday, March 4, 1778 and died March 7, 1878 but the marking shows that he died in 1865 and should read 1878.  It gives correctly the facts, however, that he reached the age of 100 years and 3 days. 
   The Wilsons and their friends are not asking any undue honor for this distinguished character but do feel that his grave should be marked with due respect as the facts become duly established.

Written by Mr. Wilmer Walker, resident of Merriam and for many years the 5th and 6th grade teacher at Wolf Lake.