A 3-cent stamp honoring Betsy Ross was issued in Philadelphia, JANUARY 2, 1952, commemorating the 200th anniversary of her birth. Born a day earlier, January 1, 1752, to a Quaker family in Philadelphia, Betsy was the 8th of 17 children.
She apprenticed as a seamstress and fell in love with upholsterer John Ross, son of an Episcopal rector at Christ Church and nephew of Declaration signer, George Ross.
As Quakers forbade interdenominational marriage, John and Betsy eloped, being married by New Jersey Governor William Franklin, Ben Franklin’s son. They attended Christ’s Church with Jefferson, Hamilton and Franklin, and their pew, number 12, was near George Washington’s.
During the Revolution, John Ross died when a munitions depot he was guarding blew up. Shortly after, in June 1776, General Washington reportedly asked Betsy Ross to sew an American Flag.
In 1777, Betsy married sea captain Joseph Ashburn at the Old Swedes Church. That winter the British forcibly quartered in their home. Joseph Ashburn later sailed to the West Indies for war supplies, but was captured and sent to Old Mill Prison, where he died in 1782. Fellow prisoner, John Claypoole, brought the news to Besty, only to fall in love with her himself.
Betsy married John Claypoole at Christ Church, May 8, 1783, and together they had 5 children.
Self-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.