It may come as a surprise to many people to learn that the lean and lanky gentleman in the cutaway coat and top hat who personifies the American Government actually had a human original. Somewhere on the shores of the Hudson there once stood a small store, belonging to Elbert Anderson. A relative of his, Ebenezer Anderson, and Ebenezer's uncle, Samuel Wilson, looked after the business, and the latter was familiarly known to the world as Uncle Sam. Over the door of the shop were painted the initials of the proprietor, E. A., and the letters U.S., which stood for United States. Sam Wilson, being once questioned by an employee as to the meaning of the second pair of initials, jokingly replied that they stood for Uncle Sam. His little joke enjoyed quite an unforeseen popularity, and in a few years " Uncle Sam" was taken as the national figure-head.