Stars And Stripes -- the Betsy Ross House -- Birthplace of the U.S. Flag

Flag -- The Stars And Stripes The first U.S. flag to feature stars on a blue field is known as "the Betsy Ross Flag" and "the Stars and Stripes". There is little factual evidence to the story that Betsy Ross sewed the flag. It is believed that "in June 1776, when a small committee including George Washington, Robert Morris and relative George Ross visited Betsy and discussed the need for a new American flag. Betsy accepted the job to manufacture the flag, altering the committee's design by replacing the six-pointed stars with five-pointed stars."

Thirteen stars represent the original colonies: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Stars were added to the flag as states were added to the country.

The thirteen stripes also represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain and became the first states in the United States. Legend attributes the red on white as symbolism for blood on white bandages.

The Betsy Ross house is located at 239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. The exterior of the house can be viewed for free. There is a small charge for a ticket to tour the interior.

NOTE: Historians no longer accept the claim that Betsy Ross or George Washington had anything to do with the first official U.S. flag. The Ross narrative is based on uncorroborated and inaccurate Ross family lore that did not surface until the 1870s -- a century after the Revolutionary War. During the War, Mrs. Ross actually made blue ensigns (naval flags) and red ship's pennants for the Pennsylvania navy. After the War, she and her family business made U.S. flags for 50 years. She did have the unique ability to make five-pointed stars with one snip of the scissors. (See the Wikipedia article on Betsy Ross.) Incidentally, Continental Congressman Francis Hopkinson of New Jersey designed the first official U.S. flag. He intended it for the U.S. Navy. (See the Wikipedia article on Francis Hopkinson.)
-- Earl P. Williams, Jr., U.S. flag historian (paleovexillologist)

Map to the Betsy Ross House

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