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Friday, March 13, 2020

Betsy Ross and the Flag

Okay, we all know the legend of Betsy Ross. She passed away in 1836, yet, in 1870, her family started the story publicly that she was the seamstress of the first USA flag at the request of General George Washington. Many historians think it is just that, a legend, with no proof of its truth or falsehood. There is just a lack of documentation one way or the other. But, what else do you know about Betsy Ross?

If you were on Jeopardy, and the answer was Elizabeth Griscom, Elizabeth Ashburn, and Elizabeth Claypoole, would you know the question was "Who was Betsy Ross?" She only had the Ross last name for a handful of years. She was born with the last name of Griscom and John Ross was her first husband. But, she was widowed three times, with the Ross marriage lasting the shortest.

She seemed to like being a part of a large family, or at least having a large family was necessary for the time for at least some of the kids to survive into adulthood. She was the eighth of SEVENTEEN children from her parents. That might sound like a large family but only nine survived childhood. For her own kids... she had seven, all daughters, none from the marriage to John Ross, with two dying in their infancy.

Her burial place offers another interesting twist. Her family were originally Quakers. While she wasn't at her death, her body was interred at the Free Quakers burial grounds in Philadelphia. Later, the body was moved to Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia. Then, around the time of the American bicentennial, the intent was to move the body to the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House. However... there were no remains beneath the tombstone. They assumed bones found within the family plot were her and that is what you'll find now in the current grave.

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