Many of us have grown up hearing the legend that the first American flag was made by Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress who was acquainted with George Washington, leader of the Continental Army, and other influential Philadelphians. In May 1776, so the story goes, General Washington and two representatives from the Continental Congress visited Ross at her upholstery shop and showed her a rough design of the flag. Although Washington initially favored using a star with six points, Ross advocated for a five-pointed star, which could be cut with just one quick snip of the scissors, and the gentlemen were won over.(see more) The story first came to light in 1874 when her grandson William J. Canby told it at a meeting of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, there is no proof of this story. This story is a great legend and wonderful fairy tale to tell children. One day historians may be able to discover more about the origins of "Old Glory" and we'll learn the true story.
For more information on Ms. Ross, check out the following links:
- The Legend of Betsy Ross
- Betsy Ross Flag Maker, Seamstress
- Betsy Ross Did She or Didn't She?
- How Betsy Ross Became Famous
- A more controversial article is http://www.slate.com/id/2259351/
Here is an old documentary on the history of the American flag from 1938 that you may find interesting. It is noteworthy that Betsy Ross is not mentioned.
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