Uncle Sam statues to decorate his 'birthplace' in Troy

Uncle Sam statues will begin popping up this spring in the upstate New York city that lays claim to being the birthplace of the iconic symbol for the United States.

Thirty white fiberglass statues depicting a man with a goatee and wearing a tall hat were delivered last week to downtown Troy. Artists will decorate the life-sized statues, which will be installed on Troy streets in April.

Local lore says the Uncle Sam character evolved from a real person, Samuel Wilson, a Troy meatpacker who supplied food to American troops during the War of 1812.

As the story goes, Wilson's workers joked that the "U.S." stamped on the shipments stood for Uncle Sam Wilson. It caught on with soldiers, and political cartoonist Thomas Nast created the Uncle Sam image decades later.