May 8, 2010

Betsy Ross and the Making of America

(NYTBR) ... Buried beneath the legend was a real woman, Elizabeth Griscom Ross Ashburn Claypoole. Born in 1752, she married and buried three husbands before her own death in 1836. Her first husband, the upholsterer John Ross, introduced her to Revolutionary politics. The second, a mariner named Joseph Ashburn, died in a British prison after being captured as a privateer toward the end of the Revolutionary War. John Claypoole, whom she married in 1783, was the father of all but one of her surviving children. In fact, for most of her adult life, she was known as “Mrs. Claypoole.” That is the name that her grandson, William Canby, used in 1870 when he first began to tell the story about the flag. Only later, as the story took off, did she become the beautiful and patriotic “Betsy Ross.” Continued