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Betsy Ross

1752-1836

  • Sewed the first United States flag
  • Seamstress and upholsterer

 

Betsy Ross was born in 1752, one of 17 children in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. In 1773, she ran away to marry John Ross. They returned to Philadelphia and opened an upholstery and sewing shop. John was killed three years later in an explosion while serving in the state militia (army). She was remarried and had two daughters. Her second husband was also killed in the military. Ross married again and had five daughters. She and her husband continued to run the upholstery shop. In 1817, her third husband died and Betsy moved in with one of her daughters. Ross died in 1836.

It was in 1777 that the Continental Congress decided to adopt the stars and stripes as the national flag. No one knows for sure, but most people believe that Betsy Ross was commissioned to sew that first flag in her upholstery shop.

Popular folklore tells us that George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross came to her shop to ask her to sew the first flag in May of 1776. Washington showed her a design with six pointed stars but Ross convinced him to include five pointed stars instead.

Page created by Brooks Widmaier
January 1, 2002

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