Introduction The story of Betsy Ross is considered an American legend. First documentation of the flag: Journal of Congress– June 14,1777.
Journal of Congress “Resolved that the flag of the United States lay thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”
A Legend Begins… “The next and last resort then of the historian, is tradition.” Historical Society of Pennsylvania –meeting on March 14,1870 –Presented by William Camby –Introduced evidence saying his grandmother, Betsy Ross, sewed the first American flag –Evidence from sworn affidavit
The Legend is Adopted Canby’s story appeared in Harper’s Monthly in July, 1873. George Preble, author of Origin and History of the American Flag, incorporates the legend into his book in 1880.
The acceptance of the legend into American culture becomes clearly evident when it appears in school textbooks in 1898.
The Tradition of Betsy Ross In June, 1776, General George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross asked Betsy Ross to help create the flag for the United States. Congress approved her flag and officially adopted it a year later. She suggested to make a five pointed star instead of a six pointed star. Owned an upholstery shop in Philadelphia.
Betsy Ross: A Revolutionary Seamstress She was contracted to make flags, and continued to do so for the rest of her life. She passed her flag making tradition on to her daughters.
Controversy Samuel Wetherill: -Friend of Betsy Ross -There is some evidence that he suggested the five pointed star idea. Francis Hopkinson: -Asked Congress for money to create a flag. -Included “thirteen red and white stripes with thirteen six pointed stars in a 3-2-3-2-2 pattern on a blue canton. -Congress rejected..
Washington was in Philadelphia at the time. Evidence for the Ross Tradition: Betsy Ross made flags during the Revolution. Flag order documented on the minutes of the Pennsylvania State Navy Board.
Betsy Ross’ Legacy to Pennsylvania History Betsy Ross leaves a legacy to both influence and inspire women of all times and ages. A woman who was able to contribute to the revolution without the help of a man. Created the most important symbol in American government and throughout history.
Websites to Check Out: http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/index.html The Betsy Ross Homepage. http://www.usflag.org/about.betsy.ross.html Learn more about the legend! http://www.betsyrosshouse.org/ Official Website of the Betsy Ross House.
Sources: Affidavits. 29 Sept. 2004 http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagaffs.html. http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagaffs.html Canby, William. The History of the Flag of the United States. 29 Sept. 2004. http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/canby.htm. http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/more/canby.htm Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971), 189-199. Huntington, Tom, “It’s a Grand Old Flag,” American History 37, no. 3 (2002): 2. Kashatus, William C., “Seamstress for a Revolution,” American History 37, no. 3 (2002): 20.