Betsy Ross, A Founding Mother!

Elizabeth Griscom Ross was born on January 1, 1752, the 8th of 17 children. Ross worked as an early American upholster and seamstress, and claimed to have done tailoring for George Washington. She had seven children, five of which lived to adulthood.

According to the popular story of the origin of the Stars and Stripes, George Washington, commander-in-chief of the fledgling Continental Army approached Betsy Ross with a design for a new American flag. He was accompanied by two members of a congressional committee, Robert Morris and George Ross.

betsy ross

Betsy Ross convinced General Washington to change the shape of the stars in the sketch of a flag he showed her from six-pointed to five-pointed stars by demonstrating that it was easier and faster to cut the latter. While there is no real historical evidence this meeting ever took place, it is known that Betsy Ross was hired to make flags for the Pennsylvania Navy during the Revolutionary War. Below is an order entry dated May 29, 1777 to pay Mrs Ross for her work.

An order on William Webb to Elizabeth Ross for fourteen pounds twelve shillings and two pence for Making Ships Colours [etc.] put into William Richards store……………………………………….£14.12.22.2

Wikipedia

Betsy Ross was a Quaker, an outspoken abolitionist, and a strong supporter of the women’s right to vote movement. She died on January 30, 1836 and has been buried in three different locations:

  • Free Quaker burial ground at South 5th St. near Locust
  • Mt. Moriah Cemetery
  • On Arch Street in the courtyard adjacent to the Betsy Ross House.

4 thoughts on “Betsy Ross, A Founding Mother!”

  1. I’ve always been told that we descend from Betsy Ross–even the name Ross has been handed down through the generations. So when I started doing genealogy I tried working down from Betsy to try to make it connect with our Wilson line. Doesn’t work that way! Betsy was married three times, as I remember. The first time was to Mr Ross, no children. Her other children were daughters, one who married a Wilson–just not our Wilson!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing.

      Genealogy is certainly interesting. My grandmother always swore we we connected to Robert E. Lee. We do have Lee family ties in Virginia but I have yet to find a definitive link. That would be kind of funny for a family with such a yankee abolitionist history.

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