August 4, 2021

We Believe Betsy Ross

In March 1870, William Canby, the grandson of seamstress Betsy Ross submitted a paper to the Pennsylvania Historical Society recounting a secret meeting by Continental Congress representatives – George Washington, Robert Morris and Colonel George Ross in 1776 – asking Betsy Ross to sew a newly designed flag for the colonies. SHE was never given credit. 

Francis Hopkinson is identified as the designer of the first American flag in 1777 because it is noted in the journals of the Second Continental Congress. No historical image exists.

HOWEVER, Hopkinson didn’t invoice the Congress until 1780, which stated,  for  “the flag of the United States of America” owed:  £2,700. The invoice was rejected because it lacked vouchers, like cloth purchased, thread, needles. All the items in Ross’ sewing box.

On resubmitting, he changed the reference from “the flag of the United States of America” to: “The Great Naval Flag of the United States.” That invoice was also rejected.

Affidavits have been submitted by Betsy’s relatives – and there is a great point/counterpoint offered here

Who was Betsy Ross? She was a woman of extraordinary strength and guts. At 21, she eloped with John Ross and was summarily cast out by the Quakers because he was an Episcopal. He died tragically three years later. She would marry three times and and bear seven children, all daughters, with five surviving into adulthood.

I think it’s time to come together and acknowledge the work of this incredible woman and remember the fate of most women at the hands of a colonial system.  Women had no power in the early part of our country. They rarely owned property, couldn’t vote and had no control over their destiny. Still, thousands worked tirelessly for the dissolution of slavery as abolitionists, and the right for ALL people to vote.

More challenges to our efforts to celebrate the Centennial and Centennial Plus of women’s right to vote. We are committed to celebrating safely and ask you to join us in that effort. Outdoor events will continue as planned, but mask wearing may be requested if the tour groups are especially large. Slide shows will have limited seating to allow social distancing. Mask wearing is expected. Febb Burn Banquet will go on, but all those attending in person must be fully vaccinated. Masking will be necessary except when seated at your table or actively eating or drinking. We are diligently pursuing a virtual option for those who have not yet or cannot get vaccinated. Please check this site periodically as this policy may be updated as necessary.