History or Bull Doodie?: A Portrait of Betsy Ross

July 4, 2015

 Betsy Ross by Ann Huey ~ July 4, 2015 ~ acrylic ~ 8 inches round 

 

Elizabeth Griscom Ross Ashburn Claypoole.  

Did she sew the first American flag?  

No one really knows, as there is no concrete evidence to support it.  But, according to those people who we can reliably say "according to ______", she probably was one of the seamstresses who did.

Frankly, I don't care.  The older I get, the grayer my hair and the "black and white" get.  What is it they say...?  History is written by the winners.  I would add Walt Disney, too, as I blame him for believing all our "heroes" were good guys with beautiful teeth.

Elizabeth Griscom, "Betsy", was born in Philadelphia, in 1752, and was a Quaker until she married (by Benjamin Franklin's son) outside her religion (Mr. Ross was Episcopalian), then subsequently "read out" of her family, started an upholstery business with Mr. Ross, who was killed in 1776.  

Betsy sat in the same pew at church as George Washington.  She claimed that he was one of her customers and was approached by him and the committee in June of 1776, to sew the flag of a new nation.  Clearly, an early example of successful networking.

Betsy, who somewhere in there became a Quaker again, went on to lead a long, fairly interesting life, had 7 children from three husbands, died at age 84, was buried in 3 different locations and had a bridge named after her.  And a website.

 

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from the Betsy Ross website:

George Washington's original pencil sketch for the flag indicated 6-pointed stars,

a form he apparently preferred.

Betsy Ross, however, recommended a 5-pointed star.  When the committee protested that it was too difficult to make, she took a piece of paper, folded it deftly, and with a single snip of her scissors, produced a symmetrical five-pointed star.  This seeming feat of magic so impressed her audience that they readily agreed to her suggestion.

 

Here is how YOU can cut a 5-pointed star in one snip, too!...

http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagstar.html

 

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Another interesting tidbit from the website:

"Flag Rules contains flag etiquette plus the rules and regulations regarding proper handling of the American flag. For example, section 8i states: "The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever."

That seems so... un-American!

 

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Thank you for being a true patriot and visiting my blog.

ann

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To the Moon inspired by the silent classic Le Voyage dans la Lune~Georges Melies, 1902