*************************************************************

Welcome to The Primitive Cornish Hovel. A place where I will share my love of prim, vintage, family history, many interests & everyday life. I hope to show you a glimpse of a bygone age through the history of my family & the many 'treasures' I hold dear. Mixed in with this will be snippets of life today. Do drop in again for a visit to see what is happening at 'The Hovel'. Comments are welcomed.

*************************************************************

Friday, 4 July 2008

Betsy Ross


Happy Fourth of July to our friends across the pond, many of who will be celebrating by way of patriotic displays, fireworks, parades and family gatherings. The US flag will be seen in many places from the White House to the smallest garden, yet this flag has not always been the one we see today.....

So to find out more I went searching on good old google and found some interesting facts, some of which I vaguely remembered from my school history lessons. Such as the Grand Union Flag which was flown over the American Colonies before independence from Great Britain........

What I didn’t know, I’m ashamed to say, was the story about Betsy Ross. Having a great interest in the roles woman played in history I decided to read more about this lady and the first US flag......

Elizabeth Griscom was born on January 1 1752. Betsy, as she was known, was the 8th child of seventeen children. Her great Grandfather was Andrew Griscom, a Quaker carpenter who had already emigrated from England to New Jersey. True to her roots Betsy attended the Friends (Quaker) Public school for eight hours a day. On completing her schooling Betsy’s father apprenticed her to a local upholsterer. It was here that she met and fell in love with another apprentice by the name of John Ross, who was the son of an Episcopal assistant rector at Christ Church. Quakers frowned on inter-denominational marriages and a guilty couple would be cut-off from the community. Knowing this Betsy and John eloped one November night in 1773 and got married in New Jersey. Less than two years after their marriage, the couple started their own upholstery business......

In January 1776, a British agitator by the name of Tom Paine, who was living in Philadelphia, published a pamphlet that would have a profound impact on the Colonials. The city was divided as many still classed themselves as British citizens. Betsy and John Ross keenly felt the impact of the war and business was slow. John joined the Pennsylvania militia and while guarding an ammunition cache in mid-January 1776, John was mortally wounded in an explosion and died 21st January.....
According to Betsy's telling, in late May or early June 1776 she had a meeting with George Washington, George Ross, and Robert Morris, which resulted in Betsy being commissioned to sew the first flag.....
After being widowed Betsy returned to the Quaker community and joined the Free (Fighting) Quakers who had banded together in support of the war effort. In 1777 Betsy married Joseph Ashburn and had two daughters Zillah, who died young, and Elizabeth. Sadly Betsy was to be widowed again. On a trip to the West Indies to procure war supplies Captain Ashburn was captured by the British and sent to Old Mill Prison in England where he died in March 1782. Betsy learned of her husband's death from her old friend, John Claypoole, who she later married. The couple had five daughters, Clarissa Sidney, Susannah, Rachel, Jane, and Harriet, who died at nine months. Betsy was to be widowed a third time when John died in 1817 after years of ill health. She continued working until 1827 bringing many of her immediate family into the business with her. After retiring, she went to live with her married daughter Susannah in the suburb of Abington, PA.......What a remarkable lady, who not only sewed the first flag but went on to make flags for the United States for 50 years. At the age of 84 Betsy died on January 30 1836......

Never having made a flag other than as a very young child (and that was with crayons and paper) I decided yesterday to have a go....I’m feeling brave enough to show you the little flag cushion that I made without a pattern and material I had to hand . Ok it’s not a true version of the US flag!!! but hey I still did it, my little contribution to July 4th.....until next time....lol....


A nation thrills, a nation bleeds,
A nation follows where it leads,
And every man is proud to yield
His life upon a crimson field
For Betsy's battle flag.
‘Betsy’s Battle Flag by Minna Irving

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that interesting piece on Betsy Ross..i did know she was the one who made the first American flag, but that was all..
Love your own little cushion too..you have done a wonderful job.
luv Ann.xx

KernowWitch said...

Hi Ann, fancy me not knowing about Betsy, I do now. What an amazing lady.
Thanks Ann, the little cushion is a lot grubby than what it looks like here, that's the flash for you!!!! I enjoyed making it & it smells devine.....Hugs Chrissy xx

Blondie ~ Vintage Primitives said...

Thoroughly enjoying your blog; found it through the P & R.
Blondie

KernowWitch said...

Glad you're enjoying it Blondie, I aim to please...hehe...
I will nip over & check your blog...plus I think I know of you from P&R, will visit there also. I've been a bit quite lately....Hugs Chrissy x

Dan Wildman said...

Kernowwitch lol!!! Not bad not bad. you have 2 get the word's (Dretly) and (Emets) in here some where lol see ya again Dan x

KernowWitch said...

Hi Dan, How did you find me!!! Nice to see you here though. I will post about Emets Dretly....hehe....lol...Hugs Chrissy x