Grim presents an informative program at the Genealogical Society

The Fayette County Genealogical Society meeting was held on Monday, June 18 with Robert “Bob” Grim introducing “The Real Betsy Ross” for the evening’s program.

Grim told the story of Betsy in period costume from the American Revolution as Betsy was born the eighth child in a Quaker family of 17 children to Samuel Griscom and Rebecca James Griscom in Gloucester City, New Jersey Colony on 1 January 1752. Hence, Elizabeth Griscom “Betsy” came of age around the time of the American Revolution. Betsy became a highly accomplished seamstress through the tutelage of an aunt, and her parents apprenticed her as an upholsterer.

While working as an upholsterer, Betsy met John Ross and ran away with him when she was 21 in 1773 because he was not a Quaker and her family would not have approved. John Ross and Betsy started their own upholstery business. The Revolutionary War broke out and John Ross went to war and was killed in 1775, leaving Betsy a widow without children.

The story goes that General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and two members of a congressional committee, Robert Morris and George Ross, who was an uncle of her late husband, visited Betsy in 1776 to change the shape of the stars in the sketch of the flag showed him from a six-pointed star to an easier-to-cut five-pointed star. Then Betsy created the first original flag of the United States. There is no archival evidence or other recorded verbal tradition to support this story of Betsy making the first flag of the United States.

The first appearance of this story surfaced in the writings of his grandson 100 years later in the 1870s without any mention of earlier documentary evidence. Betsy married twice more – Joseph Ashburn in 1777, died in 1780, and John Claypoole in 1783, died in 1817. Betsy died on January 30, 1836 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She had seven children.

During her lifetime, Betsy made many flags, including flags for the Pennsylvania Navy during the Revolution and garrison flags for the U.S. Arsenal in 1811, but many historians doubt she made the first United States flag. It did, however, make many flags of the United States over a period of 50 years. It was a very informative program by Bob Grim dressed in period costume with great photos to share.

The next meeting of the Fayette County Genealogical Society will be the annual Summer Picnic on Monday, August 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Cathy and Doug White, 111O Golfview Drive, Washington Court House. Meat and beverages will be provided, and Society members and their guests are asked to bring accompaniments and desserts.

For more information about this meeting, information regarding the Society, Society members, Society line societies, or research, contact Sue Gilmore, President, at 614-864-9609 or [email protected]Lineage President Cathy Massie White at 740-333-7227 or [email protected]or Peggy Lester, Research Chair, at 740-495-5720 or [email protected]

Robert “Bob” Grim, dressed in period costume, recently presented “The Real Betsy Ross” program at the Fayette County Genealogical Society.

The company’s annual summer picnic is scheduled for Monday, August 15

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