Letter – Fact on US flag disputed

Re: Today in High Prairie

The following entry to this article says the following: “1752 — Betsy Ross, Made First American flag.”
But according to the U.S. government, there is no proof that Betsy Ross made the first Stars and Stripes American flag. The story is based on Ross family oral tradition from 1870 — nearly a century after the Revolutionary War. Although Ross made flags for 50 years, she made flags for Pennsylvania’s navy during the Revolution.
Lastly, the so-called “Betsy Ross Flag” dates from the early 1790s — not from the Revolution. (Source: “Our Flag.” Joint Committee on Printing. United States Congress. H. Doc. 100-247. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. 1989. p. 2.)
Betsy Ross was not associated with her eponymous flag until Charles H. Weisgerber painted “Birth of Our Nation’s Flag” for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893:
Sources: (a) Furlong, William Rea and Byron McCandless. “So Proudly We Hail: The History of the United States Flag.” Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1981. pp. 116 and 117 and;
(b) Harker, John Balderston. “Betsy Ross’s Five Pointed Flag: Elizabeth Claypoole, Quaker Flag Maker — A Historical Perspective.” Melbourne Beach, FL: Canmore Press. 2005. p. 94.

Earl P. Williams, Jr.,
U.S. flag historian.

Share this post