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Betsy Ross was born on January 1, 1752 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were Samuel and Rebecca James Griscom. Betsy was the eighth of seventeen wonderful children. Betsy’s name was not originally Betsy Ross. Her birth name was listed as Elizabeth Griscom. Elizabeth attended a Quaker public school in her early years. The school day was eight hours long and after school she worked at a sewing store. When she was young she entered a sewing contest at a fair and that is how she really became known for her sewing ability.
( Quaker School that Betsy attended)
Betsy married three times. One night in November, 1773, Betsy, 21, eloped with John Ross. Later on, after their marriage, Betsy and John Ross started their own upholstery business. John Ross unfortunately passed away in 1776. Five years later, Betsy found love again with Joseph Ashburn. They were married at Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia. Betsy and Joseph had two daughters, Zillah, who died in her youth, and Elizabeth. Betsy hears of her husband's death from her old friend, John Claypoole. In May of 1783, Betsy married for the third and last time, at Christ Church. Unfortunately, John Claypoole also died in 1817 due to a long-lived disability.
(Old Swedes Church)
Betsy is best known for making the American Flag. She demonstrated how to cut a five point star with one snip of the scissors if the fabric was folded correctly. She then made the flag after a June 1776 visit from George Washington, Robert Morris and Her first husband’s uncle, George Ross.
(Betsy making the flag)
After their second daughter was born, they moved to a bigger estate on Second Street in what was then Philadelphia's Mercantile District. Betsy continued working until 1827 bringing many of her family members into the upholstery business with her. After her retirement, she went to live with her married daughter, Susannah Satterthwaite, in Abington, PA.
Sadly, on January 30, 1836, at the age of 84, Betsy Ross passed away. Betsy has been buried in three different locations: Free Quaker burial ground at South 5th St. near Locust, Mt. Moriah Cemetery, and now on Arch Street in the courtyard across from the Betsy Ross House. She has also had a major bridge named in her honor.
(Betsy Ross's Grave)
Created by: Shannon, Amber and Julie
Villa Maria Academy Lower School
Page Created: 3/23/09