Who was Uncle Sam?

Posted by Rob Etherton on

Who was Uncle Sam?
As Americans, we often hear the name “Uncle Sam” and personify it with the United States, freedom, and the United States Flag. When hearing Uncle Sam, a specific, exquisite picture comes to mind. A picture of a proud American dressed in red, white, and blue pointing directly at you. The monumental picture of Uncle Sam is one that, although was created in 1917, over a hundred years ago, is still well-known today and proudly portrays the American idea and pride. But do you really know who Uncle Sam was? Was he a great American soldier or politician? A founding father? Was he even a person or just someone drawn up in order to get Americans excited about joining a war?  
Did you know that the term “Uncle Sam” was coined after a man named Samuel Wilson? Samuel Wilson wasn’t a founding father or an important American Soldier, but a man who delivered barrels of beef to the United States army during the war of 1812. Wilson was a businessman from Troy, New York and lived from the years 1766-1854. During his youth, Wilson served in the American Revolution at the young age of 15. After his service, he decided to settle in New York where he began the meatpacking facility with his brother. The barrels of meat that they shipped had the stamp “U.S.” on them which indicated that they were property of the United States. However, it started to become acquainted with “Uncle Sam”, Wilson’s nickname.  
So, Wilson is the person the term is stemmed from, but there is controversy over whether or not that is the origin of the famous phrase. “Uncle Sam” was mentioned in the “Yankee Doodle” song which was popularized before the War of 1812 and Samuel Wilson. The song appeared in 1775, some 37 years earlier.  

There was also once a woman who was the personification of our great nation in the early twentieth century. Her name was Columbia, aka Lady Liberty, and she predated the country by about 40 years. Columbia mainly represents the nation as a whole, whereas Uncle Sam personifies mainly our government.  
The great symbol of Uncle Sam expressed the nation and eventually became a physical picture in the mid to late 1800’s. Thomas Nast, a popular cartoonist, began putting a face to the name by drawing up a picture of the famous phrase. He continued editing the picture, eventually adding the white beard and the famous red, white and blue, stars and stripes suit. However, the iconic picture that is famously associated with Uncle Sam, was created in 1917 as a military recruiting poster by James Montgomery Flagg. Since then, everyone equates that picture with Uncle Sam.  
Whether the famous picture looks like Samuel Wilson is still up for debate. A picture from the era of Wilson’s death shows him with the white hair and similar expression, so it is tempting, as well as it would make sense, that the picture would be made to look like its eponym. However, it is reported that Flagg used his own face as inspiration for the prominent poster.
Uncle Sam was an icon that was advertised and used on everything including butter, coffee, garden ads, etc. Although the term started in the 1800’s, it wasn’t until the early 1960’s that the U.S. government declared Samuel Wilson the forefather behind Uncle Sam. Over 100 years later

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and Samuel Wilson was finally recognized as the true icon he is, but Americans today still don’t know who he is.  
Did you know that George Bush declared September 13th “Uncle Sam Day”? In the Proclamation 6016 of September 5, 1989 Busch states, “To honor Samuel Wilson on the anniversary of his birth and the occasion of the bicentennial of the City of Troy, New York, the Congress, by Public Law 100-645, has designated September 13, 1989, as "Uncle Sam Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this event.
He says, “NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 13,1989, as Uncle Sam Day and call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth”. You can read the full proclamation here.
This seems like a pretty monumental, important day, right? Did you know that September 13th was Uncle Sam Day before reading this post? When you look up on Google “What day is September 13th, your search results probably say that it is International Chocolate Day. Chocolate is delicious, but as an American, Uncle Sam Day is more important.
Uncle Sam is still popular, although not nearly as admired as he was in the early 1900s, it still is an important symbol of patriotism in America today and an important part of our history. Next time you see the symbolic Uncle Sam picture or hear his name, remember who he was and the antiquity behind his name.  
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The Thin Blue Line

Posted by Rob Etherton on

Thin Blue Line Flag Wood American Rustic Wooden Flags Canvas Wall Art Handcrafted by USA Veterans at Etherton Hardwoods.

What is the Thin Blue Line Flag?

This is a question that we are often asked and it is important to understand the history and meaning behind, the Thin Blue Line flag.

The Thin Blue Line Flag is a symbol of support for our local Police Officers. Our local Police Officers get up each morning and put their lives on the line in order to keep our communities safe. The Blue Line is used because blue is the traditional color of most these brave officers’ uniforms. Also, blue is the color of the flashing lights mounted atop of their patrol vehicles when an officer is in an emergency situation. Blue is also the color that represents Justice for all, Freedom for all, Bravery of those called to serve and solidarity of teamwork or brotherhood to ensure each and every one of us can live in peace.

Thin Blue Line Subdued Wooden American Flag Handcrafted by Veterans with PTSD at Etherton Hardwoods. Fallen Police Officer Memorial flags

The Thin Blue Line reminds us all of the sacrifices that our brave police officers do for us all each and every day. If you have ever been the victim of a crime, it was that brave officer who was first there to offer support and protection. Late at night, after a horrible accident, it is our brave boys in Blue who knock on your door to give you news about your loved one. When a bad guy is breaking the law in your neighborhood, it is the brave police officer who put themself at risk of injury or even death, so peace can be restored.

The Thin Blue Line also stands as a symbol of honor for those brave police officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Thin Blue Line stands as a Living Memorial to honor these officers who laid down their lives so that our communities can we a safe and peaceable place for our families. In a school shooting, for example, while the bad guys bullets are flying around them, they bravely are the first to enter to restore order.

The Thin Blue Line flag can be displayed in our home as a show of support for these brave men and women who put on the blue uniform each day so we can be assured of peace and safely.

The Thin Blue Line flag can be displayed as a Memorial at a fallen Police Officers funeral or graveside service.

Thin Blue Line honors Law Enforcement Officers Custom Memorial Wooden American Flag canvas wall art rustic wall decor by Veterans at Etherton Hardwoods

The Thin Blue Line flag can be given to a Police Officer on the special occasion of their retirement or promotion. Not only does it acknowledge the officers loyal service to the community, but it is displayed as a badge of honor. Not only for the officer’s service but also for those who came and served before them.

The Thin Blue Line concept can trace its history all the way back to 1854. It was the British army regiment who first carried a Thin Line flag. In the first instance it was a Thin Red Line flag that these displayed in the famous, Crimean War. The Scottish Highlanders, who wore red styled uniforms into battle and in this military campaign they defeated the Russian cavalry attack.

In modern times, the phrase, Thin Blue Line was first known to be used in the United States of America in 1911. N.D. Anderson published a poem entitled, The Thin Blue Line. In this famous poem, N.D. Anderson was referencing the US Army’s blue uniforms in battle. It was later carried forward to reference the modern day police officers uniform color of blue.

(a poem by N.D. Anderson from 1911)
The thin, blue line that falters not,
 Though wavering like a fluttering veil
Beneath the sun so burning hot,
 Shall it forget, that never forgot,
 The flag whose stars can never pale
Out of that sky whose bend of blue
Is one triumphant arch and grand
Where marches under warriors, who,
 Returning from the thin, blue line,
 Bring honors for their native land,
And trophies for her Freedom's shrine.
 The thin, blue line that fights for right,
That never bends the knee to might,
 Has ever since it knew God's light
Fought dark Oppression in his lair,
 And routed Wrong from valleys fair,
 Sweet Peace and Plenty leaving there.
 O God! The thin, blue line is Thine;
 The man behind the gun is Thine;
 They’ve left their labors and their kine:
 The old, bowed man, the youth, the boy,
Have left the implement and toy:
 Because their Father called them then—
O God, the thin, blue line of fighting men!
The thin, blue line that falters not,
 Though wavering like the wind-tossed cloud,
 Beneath the death-cold sun forgot,
 Cries forth its battle-slogan proud,
 Nor shivers fearful of its lot.
 Let not Ambition on thy dead
Rear palaces of pride to man;
 Let not thy blood, for Freedom shed,
 Enslave the darker-minded clan;
 Shall Nations laud to Heaven high
The man who used thee for their death?
 Shall all thy warriors turn and die
At Greed's mere beck, or Emperor's breath?
 No, never shall of thee be said:
 “The thin, blue line is hired to slay.”
The flag that waves above thy head
Has never yet been borne astray;
 The honored tomb is wide for thee—
 It’s better thou should die than a foul be!
 The thin, blue line that falters not—
God's vengeance on thy Captains be!
 Have they their fathers’ wrongs forgot,
 To hunt their brothers’ liberty?
 All men are equal born, those held;
 Shall these, the lesser, then in vain
Hold all their fathers made so plain,
 And seek the slaver's chains to weld?
God's vengeance on thy Captains be,
 If they hold not their murderous hands!
 The wilder race loves liberty,
 Leave then to them their native lands.
 Give back, give back, shall be the cry
A million mothers’ grief-wrung hearts
Shall ask of you when none knows why
The thin, blue line the heathen starts
And forces it to give or die.
 For know defeat is for the wrong,
 Though they who fight may never know,
 But go with laughter and with song
Because their Captains tell them so.

In the 1950’s Bill Parker, the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, used the symbol of the Thin Blue Line flag to represent his reforms of the modern police department. The Thin Blue Line grew in popularity to honor our Police Officers in the following years and decades.

In the same way that, Old Glory, our great American Flag stands as a symbol of Freedom to the American people and the bold and brave sacrifices that bore the birth of our great Republic. The flags that display the Thin Blue Line also stands as a symbol of Honor and Sacrifice to our great Law Enforcement Officers. It is these officers who help to keep the peace from sea to shinning sea.

Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Fallen Police Officer Memorial Flag Rustic Large Outdoor Wood USA Flags
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Republican Motherhood - Protecting Our Republic

Posted by Rob Etherton on

Republican Motherhood - Preserving the Republic of the United States of America

Republican Motherhood is the thought process that daughters and mothers should be taught to uphold the thoughts and ideas of Republicanism. They would pass their Republican values to further generations. It is the believe that by raising a child of good moral character and providing a proper formal education would help to pass down and preserve the Republic which they were now entrusted with. The United States of America is a special place and the freedom which they now posses must be protected by passing down the correct teachings of our founding.

Some of the most important ideas of Republicanism are that:

  • Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That all the people are free and each have the same opportunities for success. The American Dream.
  • The Government sole purpose is to protect the People's Rights.
  • The people as a whole, should be sovereign. They should be self-governing and have a say in who leads them.
  • Power is always given by the people, never inherited (like a King or in a monarchy)
  • All People Must play a roll in their government.
  • Political corruption is terrible and has no place in a republic

Republicanism is different than other forms of democracy. In a pure democracy, the majority rules. If a majority of the people voted to take rights away from a certain group, that is what would happen. Alexis de Tocqueville, a famous French political thinker, called this the "tyranny of the majority." He meant that a pure democracy could still turn into an unfair, unequal, corrupt society if the majority of the people decided to take away others' rights.

Republicanism says that people have rights that cannot be given away or taken away. A Republic government is different than a pure democracy, because they include protections to make sure people's rights are not taken away. In a true republican government, one group - even if it is a majority - cannot take another group's unalienable rights away.

During the American Revolution it was women who ran households in the absence of men. Abigail Adams, wife of President and founding father, John Adams, became an early leader of the Republican Motherhood.

The Republican Motherhood believes that a republic can only survive if its citizens are taught to be of good moral character and formally educated. Who were the primary caretakers of American children? American women. If the republic of the United States were to succeed, women must be educated in virtue so they could teach their children and pass to them these foundations for success that our Republic is based upon.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Exodus 20:7-17 (KJV)

"7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."

These founding truths are also taught in the Bible. The United States of America is a Republic that was founded upon God's Word. The basic principle of Republican Motherhood is to ensure those who are teaching our children are doing so with Biblical principles, teach the children to be of good moral character and to ensure a proper formal education. It is these lessons, passed down...that would keep our Republic for the generations to come.


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The Last Civil War Widow Dies

Posted by Rob Etherton on

Last Civil War Widow dies - Wood Flags made by USMC Veterans at Etherton Hardwoods

Helen Viola Jackson’s 1936 marriage to James Bolin was unusual to say the least: He was 93 and in declining health, and she was a 17-year-old schoolgirl.

Bolin was also a Civil War veteran who fought for the Union in the border state of Missouri. Jackson was almost certainly the last remaining widow of a Civil War soldier when she died Dec. 16 at a nursing home in Marshfield, Missouri. She was 101.

Several Civil War heritage organizations have recognized Jackson’s quiet role in history, one that she hid for all but the final three years of her life, said Nicholas Inman, her pastor and longtime friend. Yet in those final years, Inman said, Jackson embraced the recognition that included a spot on the Missouri Walk of Fame and countless cards and letters from well-wishers.

“It was sort of a healing process for Helen: that something she thought would be kind of a scarlet letter would be celebrated in her later years,” Inman said.

Jackson grew up one of 10 children in the tiny southwestern Missouri town of Niangua, near Marshfield. Bolin, a widower who had served as a private in the 14th Missouri Cavalry during the Civil War seven decades earlier, lived nearby.

Jackson’s father volunteered his teenage daughter to stop by Bolin’s home each day to provide care and help with chores. To pay back her kindness, Bolin offered to marry Jackson, which would allow her to receive his soldier’s pension after his death, a compelling offer in the context of the Great Depression.

Jackson agreed in large part because “she felt her daily care was prolonging his life,” Inman said.

They wed on Sept. 4, 1936, at his home. Throughout their three years of marriage there was no intimacy and she never lived with him. She never told her parents, her siblings or anyone else about the wedding. She never remarried, spending decades “harboring this secret that had to be eating her alive,” Inman said.

After Bolin’s death in 1939, she did not seek his pension.

She also realized the stigma and potential scandal of a teenager wedding a man in his 90s, regardless of her reason. In an oral history recording in 2018, Jackson said she never spoke of the wedding to protect Bolin’s reputation as well as her own.

“I had great respect for Mr. Bolin, and I did not want him to be hurt by the scorn of wagging tongues,” she said.

Inman and Jackson were longtime friends. She was a charter member of the Methodist church where he serves as pastor. One day in December 2017, she told Inman about her secret marriage to a much older man. She mentioned in passing that he fought in the Civil War.

“I said, ‘What? Back up about that. What do you mean he was in the Civil War?’” Inman said.

Inman checked into her story and found that everything she told him was “spot on.” Officials at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield sent him copies of Bolin’s service information. She identified where he was buried, in Niangua.

She also kept a Bible that he gave her — in which he wrote about their marriage. Those written words were good enough for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and other heritage organizations to recognize Jackson’s place in history.

After a lifetime of avoiding her past, Jackson embraced it in her final years, Inman said. She spoke to schoolchildren and had a Facebook page dedicated to her. She enjoyed getting cards and letters.

She also found new peace. A stoic nature that kept her from shedding tears at her own siblings’ funerals seemed to evaporate.

After Bolin’s relatives found out about Jackson’s role in his life, they went to the nursing home and presented her with a framed photo of him.

“She broke down and cried,” Inman recalled. “She kept touching the frame and said, ‘This is the only man who ever loved me.’” 





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Link to Us Online

Posted by Rob Etherton on

Link to Etherton Hardwoods - Rustic Wooden American Flags - Framed Wood Wall Decor

If you stand with Etherton Hardwoods in our support of Veterans with PTSD and the Great American Worker, add a link to our website. EthertonHardwood.com

If you have a social media account, website, blog or any online presence, it would be really cool if you could display our website link and display one of our logos linking to our website.

The more links (the fancy word is "backlinks ) that we get the higher google ranks us in there search results. This increases our brand awareness and helps to spread the word about our mission to support Veterans with PTSD and with our military vets transition back to civilian life. 

Here are some examples of how you can link to us:

Etherton Hardwoods - World Famous Wooden Flags! - USMC Veteran Owned Business. www.EthertonHardwoods.com

You can "right click" on any of the logos image below and save it to your computer. Then you can upload it to your social media and add the link to our website. 

Etherton Hardwoods - World Famous Wooden American Flags - USMC Veteran Owned Business
Etherton Hardwoods - World Famous Wooden American Flags - USMC Veteran Owned Business



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