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Admirers visit the grave of Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam's Grave

Field review by the editors.

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 Oakwood 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.

Samuel Wilson grave marker.

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.

Also see: Uncle Sam Statues

Uncle Sam's Grave

Oakwood Cemetery

Oakwood Ave., Troy, NY
In Oakwood Cemetery, just north of the city. Enter at the southern gate off of Hwy 40/Oakwood Ave. Drive past the big entrance house and keep an eye out for the small "Uncle Sam Grave" directional signs. It's a big cemetery with winding roads, and you'll probably get lost, but you should eventually find it. There's a flagpole next to the tombstone. Grave coordinates: 42.762481,-73.668111
Gates open daily 7am - 7:30pm Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Uncle Sam Brewery MuralUncle Sam Brewery Mural, Troy, NY - 1 mi.
Aluminum Statue of Uncle SamAluminum Statue of Uncle Sam, Troy, NY - 2 mi.
Hometown of Uncle SamHometown of Uncle Sam, Troy, NY - 2 mi.
In the region:
Rufus King, Albany's Moses of Banking, Albany, NY - 8 mi.

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