Betsy Ross 1777. Source: Library of Congress.
Birth of our Nations Flag
Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia
Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia
Birth of Old Glory

Betsy was a Quaker and John was the son of an Episcopal rector (who was also a Loyalist). They eloped to New Jersey in 1773 to be married.

The couple started an upholstery business, where she frequently sewed flags for ships. Business was slow, so John joined the Pennsylvania militia. He was fatally wounded during an explosion in 1776, and buried in the cemetery at Christ Church in Philadelphia. It is told that in 1776 George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross, uncle of John Ross, asked Betsy to sew the first American flag. The Washingtons were known to sit near the Rosses at Christ Church.

Betsy married again in Philadelphia in 1777 to a sea captain named Joseph Ashburn. They had two daughters, Zillah, who died as a child, and Elizabeth. Captain Ashburn was captured by the British on a trip to the West Indies to procure supplies for the war, and died in a British prison in 1782. It was another sailor, John Claypoole, who served with Ashburn, and delivered the sad news to her. In 1783, Claypoole became Betsy’s third husband, marrying at Christ Church in Philadelphia, and the couple had five daughters together, Clarissa Sidney, Susannah, Rachel, Jane, and Harriet, who died as an infant. Claypoole died in 1817 and Betsy did not marry again. Betsy died on January 30, 1836 and is buried in Philadelphia.