Who was betsy ross

Discussion in 'American Flag History' started by EmailPoster, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. EmailPoster

    EmailPoster New Member

    Hello please can you tell me what you know about betsy ross?...
     
  2. sarahw

    sarahw Guest

    Pamela,

    Betsy Ross was actually born in Pennsylvania, on January 1, 1752. Her given name was Elizabeth Griscom. She was the eighth of 17 children in her family and was trained as an upholsterer. She married John Ross, a fellow apprentice in John Webster's upholstery shop, on November 4, 1773, against the wishes of her family, which wanted her to marry a fellow Quaker (Ross was Anglican).

    They opened a shop in Philadelphia, but Ross went away to fight in the revolution and was killed in battle, leaving Betsy a widow at age 24. Her second husband, Joseph Ashburn, was a sailor whose ship was captured by the British. He died of an unknown illness while in captivity. She had two daughters, one of whom died in infancy.

    Twice widowed by the age of 30, Betsy's third marriage, to an old friend, John Claypoole, was much longer, lasting 34 years and producing five more daughters, one of whom died at nine months.

    Still, this was not a relationship without its hardships. Betsy's parents and sister all died of yellow fever within days of each other in 1793, leaving Betsy to raise a niece. In 1812, Betsy's widowed daughter Clarissa moved home with five young children and pregnant with her sixth. And her husband struggled with his own injuries from the war and ultimately died after a lengthy illness in 1817.

    Betsy retired from upholstery at age 76, after more than 50 years in the trade. She died at age 84 in 1836, by which time she had been completely blind for more than three years.

    And what about the flag? One of Betsy's grandsons brought her story to light in 1870, when he told the story of her making the first flag to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Many family members swore the story was true. Though it has been disputed by some in recent years, it's likely Betsy Ross will live on as the mother of the flag, even if the legend isn't quite true.

    Thanks for asking!

    Sarah
     

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