Uncle Sam's Grave
Troy, New York
A lot of people think that Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, was Uncle Sam. Samuel, however, seemed unaware of it. His simple tombstone in Oakdale Cemetery merely lists his name, age, and death date.
Seventy-seven long years passed while Samuel rested in sleepy obscurity. Then his granddaughter erected a much larger stone and brass plaque on the spot, declaring that Samuel had in fact been Uncle Sam. A flagpole went up nearby, its stars and stripes dutifully raised and lowered by local Boy Scouts. Directional signs appeared, both inside and outside the cemetery, guiding people to the grave. There are so many signs, in fact, that visitors might expect to find something big and fancy like the tomb of Colonel Sanders, rather than Sam's easy-to-miss rock and plaque. The county historian told us that there'd once been talk of putting a big statue or monument on the grave, but it ended when an Uncle Sam statue was erected downtown as a photo op.
Visiting the grave of Uncle Sam would seem to be an activity only appealing to belatedly gloating communists or terrorists. But in fact a steady stream of visitors stop by, and the grave's decorations of small flags and plastic flowers are well-tended. Like many celebrities, Uncle Sam appears to have more fans now than he did while he was alive.