Her Stories

In honor of Women’s History Month I will share more images from my Queens photoshoot. I chose women from history who had an impact on history.

Betsy Ross was a woman who ran a business during a time when most women could not own property and where not considered citizens. She was able to influence leadership and get some of her ideas on the able.

Elizabeth Griscom Ross was born in 1752 in Gloucester City, New Jersey was an upholster who made the first American flag. Her parents were Quakers and sent her to a state-run Quaker school. Afterwards she became an apprentice to an upholsterer.

She married John Ross (nephew of George Ross who signed the Declaration of Independence) in 1773.  This marriage caused her to break from her family and start a business with her husband.  Among her first customers were George Washington, for whom she made bed hangings. When the Revolutionary War started, John was a member of the Pennsylvania Militia. He died 1775.

Betsy worked at the upholstery business repairing uniforms, making flags, tents, blankets and other things for soldiers.

The legendary story is that Betsy convinced Washington to alter the six-pointed stars on the flag to five-pointed stars.

She married again in 1777 to Joseph Ashburn and they had two children. He died in an English prison during the war. In 1783 she married John Claypoole and they had five daughters.

Betsy stayed in business until 1827, after which she passed it on to her daughters.

She died in 1836 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Model: Mary Jane Cardona Lopez Photographer: Karen J Anderson

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