- Ross, Betsy
orig. Elizabeth Griscomborn Jan. 1, 1752, Philadelphia, Pa.died Jan. 30, 1836, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.American patriot.She worked as a seamstress and upholsterer, carrying on her husband's upholstery business after he was killed in the American Revolution. According to legend, in 1776 she was visited by George Washington, Robert Morris, and her husband's uncle George Ross, who asked her to make a flag for the new nation based on a sketch by Washington. She is supposed also to have suggested the use of the five-pointed star rather than the six-pointed one chosen by Washington. Though Ross did make flags for the navy, no firm evidence supports the legend of the national flag. In 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the U.S. flag.
* * *▪ American seamstressnée Elizabeth Griscomborn Jan. 1, 1752, Philadelphia, Pa. [U.S.]died Jan. 30, 1836, Philadelphiaseamstress who, according to legend, fashioned the first flag of the United States.Elizabeth Griscom was brought up a Quaker and educated in Quaker schools. On her marriage to John Ross, an Episcopalian, in 1773, she was disowned by the Society of Friends. Her husband was killed in 1776 while serving in the militia, and Ross took over the upholstering business he had founded. According to her grandson, William Canby, in a paper presented before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870, Ross was visited in June 1776 by George Washington (Washington, George), Robert Morris, and George Ross, her late husband's uncle. The story is that they asked her to make a flag for the new nation that would declare its independence the following month. A rough sketch presented to her was redrawn by Washington incorporating her suggestions. Betsy Ross then fashioned the flag in her back parlor—again, according to the legend. She is supposed also to have suggested the use of the five-pointed star rather than the six-pointed one chosen by Washington. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes (United States of America, flag of the) as the national flag of the United States.It is known that Ross made flags for the navy of Pennsylvania, but there is no firm evidence in support of the popular story about the national flag. There is, however, no conflicting testimony or evidence, either, and the story is now indelibly a part of American legend. Ross married Joseph Ashburn in 1777, and, after his death in a British prison in 1782, she was married for a third time, in 1783, to John Claypoole. She continued the upholstering business, which became very profitable, until 1827, when she turned it over to her daughter. The Philadelphia house in which Betsy Ross lived and from which she ran her upholstery business still stands; it has been restored and is open to the public.
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