|Birth Day:||January 1, 1752|
|Death Date:||Jan 30, 1836 (age 84)|
|Birth Place:||Philadelphia, United States|
As per our current Database, Betsy Ross died on Jan 30, 1836 (age 84).
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She ran and owned an upholstery business with her husband.
Betsy Ross was born on January 1, 1752, to Samuel Griscom (1717–1793) and Rebecca James Griscom (1721–1793) on the Griscom family farm in New Jersey. Ross was the eighth of seventeen children, of whom only nine survived childhood. A sister, Sarah (1745–1747), and brother, William (1748–1749), died before Elizabeth ("Betsy") was born (another sister, Sarah Griscom Donaldson (1749–1785), was named after the earlier deceased Sarah). Ross was just five years old when her sister Martha (1754–1757) died, and another sister, Ann (1757–1759), only lived to the age of two. Brothers Samuel I (1753–1756) and Samuel II (1758–1761) both died at age three. Two others, twins, brother Joseph (1759–1762) and sister Abigail (1759–1762), died in one of the frequent smallpox epidemics in the autumn of 1762. Ross grew up in a household where the plain dress and strict discipline of the Quakers dominated. She learned to sew from a great aunt, Sarah Elizabeth Ann Griscom. Ross's great-grandfather, Andrew Griscom, a member of the Quakers and a carpenter, had emigrated in 1680 from England.
Griscom met John Ross (nephew of George Ross Jr, signer of the United States Declaration of Independence), who was the son of the Rev. Aeneas Ross (and his wife Sarah Leach), a Church of England (later Episcopal) priest and assistant rector at the historic city parish of Christ Church while being apprenticed to upholsterer William Webster. The couple eloped in 1773, marrying at Hugg's Tavern in Gloucester City, New Jersey.
The American Revolutionary War broke out when the Rosses had been married for two years. As a member of the local Pennsylvania Provincial Militia and its units from the city of Philadelphia, John Ross was assigned to guard munitions. He died in 1775. According to one legend, he was killed by a gunpowder explosion, but family sources provide doubts about this claim. The 24-year-old Elizabeth ("Betsy") continued working in the upholstery business repairing uniforms and making tents, blankets, and stuffed paper tube cartridges with musket balls for prepared packaged ammunition in 1779 for the Continental Army.
On June 15, 1777, she married her second husband, mariner Joseph Ashburn. In 1780, Ashburn's ship was captured by a Royal Navy frigate and he was charged with treason (for being of British ancestry—naturalization to American colonial citizenship was not recognized) and imprisoned at Old Mill Prison in England. During this time, their first daughter, Zilla, died at the age of nine months and their second daughter, Eliza, was born. Ashburn died in the British jail.
Three years later, in May 1783, she married John Claypoole, who had earlier met Joseph Ashburn in the English Old Mill Prison; Claypoole had informed Ross of her husband's circumstances and death.
The couple had additionally five daughters: Clarissa, Susanna, Jane, Rachel, and Harriet (who died in infancy). With the birth of their second daughter Susanna in 1786, they moved to a larger house on Philadelphia's Second Street, settling down to a peaceful post-war existence, as Philadelphia prospered as the temporary national capital (1790–1800) of the newly independent United States of America, with the first president, George Washington, his vice president, John Adams, and the convening members of the new federal government and the U.S. Congress.
In 1793, her mother, father, and sister Deborah Griscom Bolton (1743–1793) all died in another severe yellow fever epidemic (a disease unknowingly caused by infected mosquitoes). After two decades of poor health, John Claypoole died in 1817. Ross continued the upholstery business for 10 more years. Upon retirement, she moved in with her second Claypoole daughter, Susanna (1786–1875), in a section of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Her eldest Claypoole daughter, Clarissa (1785–1864), had taken over Ross's business back in the city.
Rebecca Young's daughter Mary Young Pickersgill (1776–1857) made the flag of 15 stars and stripes in 1813, begun at her house and finished on the floor of a nearby brewery, delivered to the commander of the fort the year before the British attack of September 12–14, 1814, on Fort McHenry in Baltimore, during the War of 1812, (receiving a government-issued receipt for the work of two flags, a large 30 by 42 foot (9.1 by 12.8 m) "garrison flag" and a smaller "storm flag"), then seen by Francis Scott Key (1779–1843) and which inspired him to write the poem which later became the national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Pickersgill's small 1793 rowhouse is still preserved in East Baltimore's Old Town neighborhood at East Pratt and Albemarle Streets and is known as the "Flag House & Star-Spangled Banner Museum". Occasionally over the decades, there has been some controversy and disagreement between the relative merits and historical accuracies of the two flag-making traditions and historical sites in Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is thought that Ross's only contribution to the flag design was to change the 6-pointed stars to the easier 5-pointed stars. Scholars, however, accept the claim by Francis Hopkinson—a member of the Continental Congress who designed most of the elements of the Great Seal of the United States—that he created designs for the early American flag. Hopkinson submitted letters to Congress in 1780 requesting payment for his designs. Hopkinson was the only person to make such a claim in the Revolutionary War era.
Ross's body was first interred at the Free Quaker burial grounds on North Fifth Street in Philadelphia. In 1856, the remains of Ross and her third husband John Claypoole were moved from the Free Quaker Burying Ground to Mount Moriah Cemetery. The practice of cemeteries purchasing the remains of famous historical individuals was common in order to drive additional business. The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a flagpole at the site of her grave in her memory.
Research conducted by the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. notes that the story of Betsy Ross making the first American flag for General George Washington entered into American consciousness about the time of the 1876 centennial celebrations, with the Centennial Exposition then scheduled to be held in Philadelphia. In 1870, Ross's grandson, William J. Canby, presented a research paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in which he claimed that his grandmother had "made with her hands the first flag" of the United States. Canby said he first obtained this information from his aunt Clarissa Sydney (Claypoole) Wilson in 1857, 20 years after Ross's death. Canby dates the historic episode based on Washington's journey to Philadelphia, in the late spring of 1776, a year before the Second Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act of June 14, 1777.
On January 1, 1952, the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative postage stamp to honor the 200th anniversary of her birth. It shows her presenting the new 13-striped, 13-starred flag to George Washington, with Robert Morris, and George Ross present. The design was taken from a painting by Charles H. Weisberger, one of the founders and first custodian of the Memorial Association, who has cared for and operated the Ross House. This was issued when the Ross legend was still strong and accepted by many of the American public and before additional historical and academic scrutiny.
In 1975, in preparation for the American Bicentennial, city leaders ordered the remains moved to the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House. However, cemetery workers found no remains beneath her tombstone. Bones found elsewhere in the family plot were deemed to be hers and were reinterred in the current grave visited by tourists at the Betsy Ross House.
In the 2008 book The Star-Spangled Banner: the Making of an American Icon, Smithsonian Institution experts point out that Canby's recounting of the event appealed to patriotic Americans then eager for stories about the Revolution and its heroes and heroines. Betsy Ross was promoted as a patriotic role model for young girls and a symbol of women's contributions to American history. American historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich further explored this line of enquiry in a 2007 article, "How Betsy Ross Became Famous: Oral Tradition, Nationalism, and the Invention of History".
Currently, Betsy Ross is 269 years, 7 months and 4 days old. Betsy Ross will celebrate 270th birthday on a Saturday 1st of January 2022.
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