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Betsy Ross's Life

  • Birth

    Betsy Ross was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was born Elizabeth Griscom, the eighth of seventeen children. She is the daughter of Rebecca and Samuel Griscom. Their family belonged to the Society of Friends, or the Quakers.
  • Betsy Goes to School

    Betsy Goes to School
    Betsy Ross went to Friends Public School (a Quaker school) and was taught reading, writing, and sewing. After this schooling, she was apprenticed to an upholsterer. There she was apprenticed to John Webster where she learned to make and repair things that involved sewing.
  • Betsy's First Marriage

    Betsy's First Marriage
    Betsy meets her first husband, John Ross, when she is an upholsterer apprentice. He was also an apprentice, but he was not a Quaker. It was against Quaker religion to marry outside of the religion, so she was expelled from her family and the Quakers. Betsy and John were married in Hugg’s Tavern in Gloucester, New Jersey without her family.
  • Betsy Starts an Upholstery Business

    Betsy Starts an Upholstery Business
    Betsy and her husband John started an upholstery business in Philadelphia. At their shop they repaired curtains, furniture, and anything that needed sewing. Even after John is killed in the war, Betsy continues to run her shop.
  • Betsy Ross Meets with the Committee of Three

    Betsy Ross Meets with the Committee of Three
    Betsy Ross met with three members of a secret committee from Continental Congress. The representatives were George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross. They came to her to ask her to sew the first American Flag. Betsy already knew George Washington and George Ross, which is why they asked her to make the flag.
  • Making the American Flag

    Making the American Flag
    After the Committee of Three came to visit Betsy, they showed her a rough draft of a flag with six-pointed stars. Betsy proved that she could make a five pointer star much faster. Impressed, they chose Betsy to make the flag. After the flag is completed, it was flown above Washington's base at Prospect Hill.
  • Betsy Ross's Second Marriage

    Betsy Ross's Second Marriage
    Since John Ross had passed away a few years before, Betsy get married to her second husband, Joseph Ashburn. He was a marine who also fought in the war. They had two daughters, Zilla and Eliza before Joseph passes away from an illness he caught while imprisoned by the British.
  • Betsy Ross Marries John Claypoole

    Betsy Ross Marries John Claypoole
    John Claypoole was visiting Betsy to tell her that her previous husband, Joseph Ashburn had died. They had been friends in the past, and soon after he brings this news they are married. The new couple joins the Society of Free Quakers and have five daughters.
  • Betsy Retires from her Upholstery Business

    Betsy Retires from her Upholstery Business
    At the age of 76, Betsy retires from her sewing business. She must retire because she becomes blind in both eyes. After retiring, Betsy moves to her daughter Susanna’s farm.
  • Death

    At the age of 86, Betsy Ross dies peacefully in her sleep. She died in Philadelphia in the presence of her family. After her death, the story of her making the first American Flag was told to everyone by her grandson.