January 1, 1752: This is the day Betsy Ross, the woman credited with being the mother of the American flag, was born in Philadelphia. She is one of 18 children of the devout Quakers Samuel and Rebecca Griscom.
At age 21, Betsy eloped and married John Ross. As a result of her going against her parents wishes, and the fact John was an Episcopalian, she was expelled from the Quaker Church.
Betsy and John opened a new Upholstery Shop. Sadly, they only enjoyed a very short time together. John died of illness 2 years after their marriage.
Although legend has it that that the widow Betsy created the first Stars and Stripes in Philadelphia at the request of the Continental Congress, no historical records support that.
In fact, that story was first made public in 1870 by one of her grandsons, William Canby. This occurred during the height of the Centennial of these United States.
Today most historians agree that it was a Francis Hopkinson in 1780 petitioned Congress to reimburse him for his services in designing that Flag.
One part of this legend does have some basis in fact. Betsy is said to have suggested that the stars have 5 points instead of 6 as George Washington requested. She showed that a 5 pointed star can be more easily cut from cloth a single snip.
That makes one wonder, are our 5 point stars used for artistic value, or simply to make them easier to sew?
Have you ever examined the "Washington Crossing the Delaware " Painting?
How many points are the stars on the flag in that painting?
Yep, 5 points.
I hope this short peek into history was of interest to you. I plan on posting more short historical interest pieces like this as time allows. I am setting the goal of doing one at least weekly. I am using the NSSAR Key Hole to History as foundations for the Rev War topics. Once I get a few of these up I may branch into the 1860's too. Depends on how these are received.
I am a Member of the William Prince Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, in Princeton KY. Here is a link to our Facebook site to see what we have been up to: https://www.facebook.com/WPRINCE.SAR
If you are interested in History I’d like to recommend that you become active in your local Historical and Genealogy Societies along with the SAR or DAR.