Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 145, June 20

Betsy looked at the sketch and suggested the flag be made rectangular rather than square and that the stars be five-pointed instead of containing six points.  Legend then goes on to say that Betsy Ross made such a flag and presented it to Congress, where it was officially adopted as the American flag.

A Quaker, Betsy was married three times.  At the age of 17, she married John Ross, son of an Episcopalian minister, against her family's wishes.  Her parents disowned her for marrying outside of her faith.  John Ross enlisted in the Revolutionary War and was killed in 1776  in a gunpowder explosion.

The young widow supported herself as a seamstres and upholsterer.  She then married Joseph Ashburn, a sea captain.  Captured by the British, Joseph died in an English prison, leaving Betsy with two small daughters.

Betsy also outlived her third husband, John Claypoole.  She and Claypoole had five daughters togher.  Though she went blind in her later years, she continued her sewing until her death.  She died in Phialdelphia in 1836, at the age of 34.

Though there remain doubts that she sewed the first American flag, there are authentic records to prove she made many of the flags.  A voucher, dated May 29, 1777, is still on the record for the amount of 14 pounds, for American flags made for the United States Navy.

1 comment:

  1. Whether or not she actually made the first flag, it's still inspiring to visit her house and see how she (and others) lived during Colonial times. That was one of my favorite places to take out of town guests when they visited me in Philadelphia.