Sunday, July 14, 2024


Every American knows the name of this woman. A ship, a bridge connecting Pennsylvania and New Jersey and even a variety of lilacs are named in her honor. Betsy Ross is one of only 13 women in the United States to be depicted on a US postage stamp and her home is one of the oldest and most popular museums in the country. Learn more at philadelphia-future.

The part of the entire country’s history behind its doors 

The small house where Betsy Ross once lived, and which now houses an important part of the history of the entire country, is located in the center of Philadelphia. It is inferior in size to many other structures in the city, which are most often recommended to tourists. But the location deserves special attention because they say that this is where the mentioned woman, who is also called the “mother” of the first American flag, has once lived.

In fact, the mentioned Arch St house, which was built in 1740, was never owned by Betsy Ross. She rented it from 1773 to 1786. The building was built in the Georgian style. It has two and a half floors and 9 rooms. Betsy Ross lived here with her husband John and was engaged in sewing and upholstering furniture. However, there are some doubts that the building that now houses the Betsy Ross Museum has been her home. It could also be a neighboring house because documentary evidence points to these two buildings.

The museum is trying to preserve and transmit the memory of the famous Elizabeth Ross. Here, you can feel the atmosphere of the time and learn the features of her craft. Museum guests can see a small office where the woman worked, a kitchen, a cellar, an old living room and small old bedrooms. Museum employees say that old techniques, compared to modern ones, have almost not changed. In Elizabeth’s office, you can see tables, rulers, irons and materials similar to those that are still used today. The actors who play Betsy are trained in how to use them as well as learn to sew and make flags. They believe that if you want to play the role of the famous Betsy, you have to believe in the story of this woman.

дом бетси росс

The 18th-century mansion has an interesting audio tour and many exhibits of great historical value. In addition to the life of Betsy Ross, they showcase the work of women during the American Revolutionary War.

The original store, once inherited by Betsy Ross, has been converted into a gift shop with American flag souvenirs, books about Elizabeth Ross and other memorabilia about Philadelphia’s history.

What is known about Betsy Ross?

Betsy Ross, or Elizabeth Griscom, was born in Philadelphia on January 1, 1752, and was the 8th of 17 children in the family. Her parents were Protestants, so strict discipline prevailed in the family. Betsy was taught to sew by her great-aunt. After completing the religious school, the father sent his daughter to study with the upholsterer William Webster. During this period, the girl fell in love with the son of the assistant pastor of the Episcopal Christ Church in Philadelphia, John Ross. In 1773, 21-year-old Elizabeth and her beloved one fled to New Jersey to get married. It contributed to the complete break up with her family because her parents’ religion rejected interfaith marriages. The newlyweds soon organized an upholstering business. Later, John joined the Pennsylvania Militia and died in 1776 because of an explosion at an ammunition depot…

Among other things, the young widow inherited her husband’s tapestry shop on Arch Street in Philadelphia. The couple had no children. In 1777, Elizabeth married mariner Joseph Ashburn and they had two children. But Joseph was captured and died in a British prison. This sad news was brought to his wife by an old friend, John Claypoole. Later, he became Elizabeth’s third husband and the couple had five daughters. In 1817, Betsy’s third husband died after a long illness. Elizabeth Ross continued the upholstering business by herself and made flags. The woman died in 1836, at the age of 84. They say that her grave is in the yard of the historic house under a large elm tree.

A jubilee stamp was issued on January 1, 1952, for the 200th anniversary of the birth of this famous American woman.

How did Betsy become the author of the flag?

Allegedly, Betsy Ross is the author of the first version of the American flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars arranged in a circle, which symbolize the states. For many historians, the legend is doubtful, but it has not been officially refuted. According to it, in June 1776, E. Ross took part in a meeting with the Commander-in-Chief of the US Continental Army, George Washington, Colonel George Ross (Elizabeth’s husband’s uncle), and financier Robert Morris. Betsy was presented with a project of the US flag, which had to be implemented by the day of the Declaration of Independence. The sketch showed six-pointed stars. But Betsy offered to make five-pointed ones, which were more difficult to cut. To prove her skill, she cut out a sample. Pleasantly impressed, those present approved the woman’s proposal. There are no documentary confirmations of these events, everything is based only on oral stories. Although Elizabeth was indeed married to George Ross’s nephew and also attended the same church as the first president of the United States. Even school textbooks claim that the first flag of the country was sewn in the house of Betsy Ross. Although the legendary story was first voiced several decades after the woman’s death. In 1870, her grandson William Canby wrote a letter about an important family episode to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The secret activities of Betsy Ross took place during the British Colony times and sewing the US flag would be perceived as a fact of treason. If she was caught doing this, she could be executed or sent to prison. Hence, it was made in complete secrecy. The first documented use of the mentioned flag took place in 1792.

What does the flag mean to Americans?

For Americans, the flag is not just a very important state symbol. This is a national shrine, which is honored, held close to the heart, taken to the oath of loyalty, goes through battles, celebrates victory and leads heroes on their last journey. Every day, American children begin the day at schools and kindergartens with an oath of allegiance to their native flag…

On July 4, 1776, when the independence of the USA was announced, the young state didn’t yet have its official flag. Each former colony had its own. One of the first flags of the United States was the Union Flag. Congressman Francis Hopkinson (one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence) officially announced in 1781 that he was the designer and creator of the American flag and asked Congress to pay him. But it never happened.

The actual design of the US national flag was approved by Congress on June 14, 1777. This day is now celebrated as Flag Day. The resolution noted 13 stars as a symbol of the new “constellation” and 13 stripes. However, there was no strict regulation of the location of symbols on the flag until 1912. Therefore, museums and private collections have many different versions of flags, created depending on the initiative of the makers. Amendments to the design of the flag were made 26 times due to the increase in the number of states. Special rules for handling the US flag are prescribed in the US Flag Code. For example, everyone present near the flag in military uniform gives a military salute, it is forbidden to use the flag for advertising, it must not touch the ground, it can’t be turned upside down (except as a signal of danger), the flag can’t serve as clothing or decoration, the flag is disposed of only by burning background and the ashes are buried. But the Betsy Ross flag is considered a symbol of unity, solidarity and harmony and is always used at the inauguration of the president.

история Бетси Росс

When Elizabeth Ross moved out of the rented house, she took up a number of other business ventures. Over time, Philadelphians realized the historical importance of the building where she lived. They bought it out and created the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial Association in 1898. Americans were offered a donation of 10 cents to restore the house to its original appearance and make it accessible to visitors. Two million interested people responded. In return, each of them received a certificate and a copy of the famous Betsy Ross painting.

About 250,000 visitors come to the house of the famous Betsy Ross annually. It is open seven days a week during the peak tourist season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In the off-season, the museum doesn’t work on Monday, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. You can visit the museum for free, but a donation is always welcome.

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