The original character of Falcon debuted in Captain America no. 117 (1969) and soon became Cap's partner/sidekick. In his second appearance, it was revealed that the character's actual name was Sam Wilson.

However, there is at least one other famous Samuel Wilson in American history—the meat-packing magnate whose brand markings gave rise to the nickname "Uncle Sam" for the United States government.

Samuel Wilson's career role during the War of 1812 is what he is most noted for today. The demand for a supply of meat for the troops had significantly increased. E & S Wilson's location and dock made the business ready and ideal.

Secretary of War William Eustis made a contract with Elbert Anderson Jr. of New York City to supply and issue all rations necessary for the United States forces in New York and New Jersey for one year. Anderson ran an advertisement on October 6, 13, and 20 looking to fill the contract. E & S Wilson secured the contract for 2,000 barrels of pork and 3,000 barrels of beef for one year. The business held a staff of 200 men during this period.

Samuel Wilson was appointed meat inspector for the Union Army. His duties included checking the freshness of meat and assuring that it was properly packaged and that the barrels were according to specification. Each barrel was required to be labeled. Each barrel was marked “E. A.-U. S.” This marking indicated Elbert Anderson, United States. The great majority of E & S Wilson's meat was shipped close by to a camp of 6,000 soldiers in Greenbush, New York. Many soldiers stationed in Greenbush were locals of Troy. They knew of or were acquainted with Sam Wilson and his nickname "Uncle Sam," as well as his meat packing business. These soldiers recognized the barrels being from Troy and made an association between the "U. S." stamp and Uncle Sam. Over time, it is believed, anything marked with the same initials, as much Army property was, also became linked with his name.

I saw it suggested on another site today, that Falcon (a character closely associated with Captain America) might have been named after Uncle Sam—and I was wondering whether they was any documented basis for the possibility. Sam Wilson the meat packer is a fairly well known figure in New York state history, while Stan Lee was from New York, which was also where Marvel was headquartered. So it is not implausible that Lee might have been thinking of the historical character when he named the superhero.

  • I am up voting your question because when you mentioned Captain America no. 117 you also gave the date, 1969. I find it annoying when comic book questions and answers mention just the issue number like that is sufficient identification, while I am not familiar enough with the comic books in question to know, or even guess, in which year, or in many cases in which millennium, the issue was published. Plus you quoted the most complete account of "Uncle Sam" Wilson I ever read. – M. A. Golding Jan 31 at 16:24
  • Lots of places report the influence for obvious reasons but I haven't found any outright confirmation of it. Just places going "same name, got to be true". I'd be surprised if it wasn't true though. – TheLethalCarrot Jan 31 at 16:40

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