Griscom, known as Betsy, daughter of Samuel Griscom and Rebecca
James, played an important role in the history of the United
States of America.
finishing her studies, she became an apprentice of a Philadelphian
which during the colonial times, worked not only on furniture,
but with different kinds of sewing, including making flags.
November 1773, Betsy ran away to marry her beloved John Ross,
son of an Episcopal assistant rector at Christ Church and also
an upholsterer, whom she had met at her job. Soon after their
marriage, they opened their own upholsterery businness, but as
the war arrived in Philadelphia and soon slowed down their businness,
Ross was forced to join the Pennsylvania militia. In January
1776, he was seriously wonded in an explosion and died some days
June 1777, Betsy married the sea captain Joseph Ashburn. They
had two daughters: Zillah, who died very young, and Elizabeth.
During a trip to the West Indies, Captain Ashburn was captured
by the British and was then sent to the Old Mill Prison in England,
where he died in March 1782.
May of 1783, Betsy married her old friend, John Claypoole, also
a sailor and an ex-prisioner of the Old Mill. They had five daughters:
Clarissa Sidney, Susannah, Rachel, Jane and Harriet, who died
only nine months after her birth.
late June or early May, 1776, Betsy was visited by the Committee
of Three: George Washington, George Ross and Robert Morris. George
Washington (1732-1799), who later became America's first president
(1789-1797), was then the head of the Continental Army; Robert
Morris, was perhaps the wealthiest citizen among the colonists
and Colonel Ross, a respected Philadelphian, was the uncle of
Betsy's first husband, John Ross.
this meeting at Betsy's home, General George Washington showed
her a design of a flag which had a six-pointed star. Betsy, impressed
them showing how to cut a five-pointed star in a single snip
with scissors. Thus, the comittee entrusted her with making America's
first symbol of national pride and unity: The American Flag.
the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate
red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue
field, representing a new constellation."
Ross was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, on January 1, 1752
and died at the age of 84 on January 30, 1836.