We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Betsy Ross?

By Y. Chen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Betsy Ross was the woman best known in American history as having sewn the first American flag. The red, white, and blue emblem of freedom is still her living legacy, and attests to her triumphant place in history. She lived a life challenged by adversity, having been disowned by her religious organization and surviving three husbands. However, she also bore seven daughters and maintained a family business until shortly before her death at eighty-four years old.

Betsy Ross, whose birth name was Elizabeth Griscom, was called Betsy for short. She was the youngest of seventeen children to parents who were members of the Religious Society of Friends. Its members at that time were also known as the Quakers. Betsy Ross was educated at Quaker schools, where the curriculum for young ladies at the time consisted largely of writing, homemaking, and sewing.

In 1773, Betsy met John Ross, and the two eventually eloped. John Ross was a fellow apprentice and a clergyman of the Episcopal church. William Franklin, who was Benjamin Franklin's son, read the vows to them in New Jersey. Because interdenominational marriages were prohibited at the time by the Quaker church, Betsy and her husband were rejected by the Quakers. The upholstery business they started together was relatively unsuccessful because of the American Revolution. John was killed in a gunpowder explosion while fighting under the Pennsylvania militia.

In the summer of 1776, Betsy Ross was approached by the "Committee of Three," a self-appointed group consisting of George Ross, Robert Morris and George Washington, who was a fellow parishioner at the Christ Church. They asked her to sew the first American flag based on a design sketched by Washington. Betsy did this, but made one alteration to the original design. She changed the stars from six-pointed to five-pointed ones.

The Betsy Ross story is still considered to be a legend by many. There are not many contemporary affirmations that the committee meeting actually existed. Many of the accounts were passed down through oral affidavits of blood relatives. Betsy's grandson, William Canby, made the story public through a reading in front of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Navy Board, however, has also claimed that they commissioned her for work in 1777.

Betsy Ross was in favor of the war, and joined the Fighting Quakers. She later married Joseph Ashburn, and the pair had two daughters. Unfortunately, British soldiers accosted Joseph on his way to procuring supplies and was incarcerated in Old Mill prison, where he passed away in 1782. A year later, Betsy married John Claypoole, a longtime friend, and together, they had five daughters. In 1817, Claypoole died after suffering years of chronic illness.

Despite the hardships she endured, Betsy Ross operated her upholstery business until she retired, at which time one of her daughters took over. She died in Philadelphia and was laid to rest at the Free Quaker burial ground. Later, Ross' remains were moved to the Betsy Ross House courtyard, located a few blocks from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This final resting place is one of the three most visited tourist sites in Philadelphia.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.