Betsy Ross and Her Rough Draft

Betsy Ross, the woman credited with sewing the first American flag continues to be an intriguing character in American history, in large part because not much is known about her personal life.

What is known is that she married at the age of 21 in 1773, but her husband died in 1776, sending her future into doubt. It was in May or June of 1776 when George Washington, George Ross, and Robert Morris gave her a chance to prove herself.

As a young, inexperienced seamstress she required several drafts. She was told to include the colors red, white, and blue. The flag would also need to contain thirteen stars to stand for each of the colonies.

The first flag concept presented by Betsy Ross.

The first flag concept presented by Betsy Ross was received with lukewarm reviews by the Colonial Flag Committee. The largest complaint was that it provided little room in case more colonies were created in the years to come. There were those in the committee who were happy with how it met the required colors and number of stars. In the end the draft was put on file, and as we know, used in the Civil War to represent the Confederate States of America.

For Betsy, the second time was a bit better as her second concept was met with mixed but mostly positive opinions within the committee. Like the first concept, the second flag featured the required colors and number of stars, but it did provide more flexibility than the first concept.

Betsy Ross presenting the finished flag.

When asked after the final meeting about the flags, George Washington said, “I really liked the first concept, and I wish we could’ve used it. I voted for it, but we’ve got some politicians in here looking to make their mark on history. It’s a shame that the first one wasn’t selected. Mr. Franklin and I, among others, were disappointed in the final decision, but we’ll move past this.”

General Washington and the colonies did move past the flag controversy and won the war over England.

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8 Responses to “Betsy Ross and Her Rough Draft”


  1. 1 Heidi Schmid May 30, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Very cool. I didn’t know lots of that. 🙂 I really do like the website!

  2. 3 M.O.M. May 30, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Glad to see you’re writing about some famous ladies! Keep it up!

  3. 4 Betsy Wilcox April 30, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I am fascinated by anything Betsy Ross, as I was named after her. I was born in 1976, the bicentennial year and my mom wanted to give me a patriotic name. My birth certificate lists my name as Betsy Ross Aileen Sullivan. I’m now married with the name of Wilcox, but I still love telling people what my full name is!!

  4. 5 Stella 89 May 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    i lovvvvvvvvve betsy ross too. that is awsome you like your name!

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