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Betsy Ross. and her Significance to Pennsylvania History. Betsy Ross at Work:. 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.

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betsy ross

Betsy Ross

and her Significance to Pennsylvania History



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…

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 next and last resort then of the historian, is tradition.”


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

Owned an upholstery shop in Philadelphia.

In June, 1776, General George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross asked Betsy Ross to help create the flag for the United States.

She suggested to make a five pointed star instead of a six pointed star.

Congress approved her flag and officially adopted it a year later.


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.



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.



Evidence for the Ross Tradition:

Washington was in Philadelphia at the time.

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

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.

  • Betsy Ross leaves a legacy to both influence and inspire women of all times and ages.

Websites to Check Out:

The Betsy Ross Homepage.

Learn more about the legend!

Official Website of the Betsy Ross House.



Affidavits. 29 Sept. 2004

Canby, William. The History of the Flag of the United States. 29 Sept. 2004.

Edward T. James, ed., Notable American Women

1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary

(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971),


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.