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Betsy Ross And The First American Flag

    Betsy would often sit down with her children, grandchildren, relatives and friends and share the story of how three members of a secret committee from the Continental Congress came to visit. They asked her to sew the first flag. Those representatives were George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross.  George Washington was head of the Continental Army. Robert Morris may have been the wealthiest citizen in the Colonies because he owned vast amounts of land. Colonel George Ross, a respected Philadelphian, was the uncle of Betsy’s late husband.

    Betsy was a widow who was in the upholstery business. Times were tough in 1776 and she was struggling to makes ends meet. In those days, upholsterers not only worked on furniture but did all kinds of sewing work. She had previously embroidered ruffles on George Washington’s shirt bosoms and cuffs, so that may have been a part of the reason she was chosen to make the first flag.

    General Washington showed her a rough drawing of the flag that included a six pointed star. Betsy was quite handy with a pair of scissors and she demonstrated how she could cut a five pointed star in a single snip. The committee was impressed and they gave her the job.

    The flag was finished in May or early June of 1776. In July, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud for the first time at Independence Hall. Bells rang and there was celebration throughout the city as they heralded the birth of a new nation.

    Many died in battle before the United States could sever all ties with Great Britain. On June 14th, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the national flag. “Resolved that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”