* Irene's Country Corner * - Betsy Ross




Betsy Ross
1752 - 1836


Elizabeth Griscom, known as Betsy, daughter of Samuel Griscom and Rebecca James, played an important role in the history of the United States of America.

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After finishing her studies, she became an apprentice of a Philadelphian © Grace. Not for download. Please, visit Graphics by Grace if you like this graphic.upholsterer, which during the colonial times, worked not only on furniture, but with different kinds of sewing, including making flags.

In 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 later.

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In 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.

In 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.

In 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.

© Irene. Not for download.During 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.

"...that 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."

Betsy Ross was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia, on January 1, 1752 and died at the age of 84 on January 30, 1836.


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This page was created on: June 26th 2001.
Last updated on: July 4th 2003.

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