Betsy Ross, a skilled seamstress and upholsterer, is widely credited with making the first American flag. While historical evidence supporting her role is not definitive, the story of Betsy Ross and the flag has become an enduring part of American folklore.
According to the legend, in June 1776, Betsy Ross was summoned to a meeting with George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Clymer at her upholstery shop in Philadelphia. The three men, members of a Continental Congress committee, presented Betsy with a rough sketch of a new flag design, featuring 13 stars and stripes representing the 13 colonies.
Betsy, known for her needlework skills and attention to detail, suggested some changes to the design. She proposed using five-pointed stars instead of six-pointed stars, as she found them easier to cut and sew. Additionally, she suggested arranging the stars in a circle, symbolizing unity among the colonies.
The committee members were impressed with Betsy’s suggestions and agreed to her modifications. Betsy then set about sewing the flag, using her own fabric and thread. The completed flag was presented to the Continental Congress, which officially adopted it as the national flag on June 14, 1777.
While the story of Betsy Ross and the flag has been romanticized over time, it remains a cherished part of American history. It embodies the spirit of patriotism, craftsmanship, and the contributions of ordinary citizens in shaping the nation’s identity.
The Betsy Ross House, located in Philadelphia, is now a museum dedicated to preserving her legacy and the history of the American flag. Visitors can learn about Betsy’s life, see exhibits on the evolution of the flag, and even try their hand at sewing a star.