Betsy Ross And The Flag

: Good Stories For Great Holidays


On the 14th day of June, 1777, the Continental Congress passed the

following resolution: "RESOLVED, That the flag of the thirteen United

States be thirteen stripes alternate red and white; that the Union

be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new


We are told that previous to this, in 1776, a committee was appointed to
/> look after the matter, and together with General Washington they called

at the house of Betsy Ross, 239 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

Betsy Ross was a young widow of twenty-four heroically supporting

herself by continuing the upholstery business of her late husband, young

John Ross, a patriot who had died in the service of his country.

Betsy was noted for her exquisite needlework, and was engaged in the

flag-making business.

The committee asked her if she thought she could make a flag from a

design, a rough drawing of which General Washington showed her. She

replied, with diffidence, that she did not know whether she could or

not, but would try. She noticed, however, that the star as drawn had six

points, and informed the committee that the correct star had but five.

They answered that as a great number of stars would be required, the

more regular form with six points could be more easily made than one

with five.

She responded in a practical way by deftly folding a scrap of

paper; then with a single clip of her scissors she displayed a true,

symmetrical, five-pointed star.

This decided the committee in her favor. A rough design was left for her

use, but she was permitted to make a sample flag according to her own

ideas of the arrangement of the stars and the proportions of the stripes

and the general form of the whole.

Sometime after its completion it was presented to Congress, and the

committee had the pleasure of informing Betsy Ross that her flag was

accepted as the Nation's standard.