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Did Betsy Ross really make the first American Flag?

2009-05-18 | 🔗

Did Betsy Ross really make the first American flag, or is this just another revolutionary legend? Learn the myths and facts about Betsy Ross and the first American flag in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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to save something for yourself with peppered farm olano the richest most powerful place on earth of fiction podcast two men based on an epic scale powders everything power gives everything we have to get away from this place to my baby is our destiny now on the help of course network listen to all episodes of tuna basins one until now for free on the heart radio up apple pie costs or wherever you get your pockets welcome to stuff you missed in history class from house works dot com hello and welcome to the bad guys i'm editor ganders junior and joint i sat brighter gmo grandmother gillis hey jane you know it's funny about american culture but we
really have a long history like many other nations deal here so it so true and i look at them when i research like the history of european cultures and general and especially its like america's a baby he compared to other countries if it's like taking out the crying of lot forty nine the subtle novella comparing it to tell if you cities is huge chunky dickensian novel there's just not that much to our history and so on but that's not fair theirs much chronologically tour historians arrogant very frustrated when a story that i've grown up believing on may not shrill and let me call i too that when i say there's not much shiro american history are not speaking the indigenous american indians you were here before the settlers colonist came on talking about a timeline that starts with george washington era melvin nation rights aids were exactly the colonies and to the point today that you're in him and
essentially frustrating to learn that the story of betsy ross making the first american flag may not be true because i feel that there are so many men who get credit for the difference aspects of our culture that shaped our nation to what it is today i really like the other woman is due credit in that we still honour and use on a daily basis but as it turns out that may not be true the credit for the american flag may actually go to a man as well the pretty complicated situation we don't really know exactly what happened and how true it is and i was foolish to having learned the lake all the different facets that went into the story in controversy going on about betsy whereas yeah and even if you go to the official betsy roth has websites they say and so historical fact or well loved legend the story of betsy ross that america has apple pie after your visit decide you believe
jane and i did not get a chance to visit betsy ross house there we're gonna have to decide what we believe on it from the confines of our key because in the house to fork out come off you sell gas so to give you some background on betsy ross herself she was born jerry first seventeen fifty two as elisabeth greece come and the eighth of seventeen kids in her quicker family choose visually born in new jersey but when she was about three heard dad who is a pre successful carpenter move the fair to philadelphia the bustling urban area and when you think of betty rise you may imagine her as very humble and make woman wearing her little kaliko print dress with a white apron and a little just our focus and on that we give before the shoes seamstress fisheries actually an appeal stir which
deepens my respect for her because i think it would be in a far more difficult for a woman to handle such heavy fabrics is rags and curtains and venetian blinds even ass she had to grapple with and not only with she train is seamstress but she apprentice in upholsterer envelope thea with another various deemed upholsterer named john stir and on is she actually mad another of holster with whom she fell in love and that weighs john ross this is a really cute story it as the general came from an anglican family you sort of a son of a preacher man even because his dad was assistant rector of christ church so when john and betsy fell in love her family your family didn't approve of it in those aircraft lovers yeah yeah really sweet intellectually eloped because family didn't approve it they had to locally they fled across the delaware river they married in asia hugs tavern in new jersey and
later return to philadelphia and open a shop together the two upholsterer and unfortunately last year long because john was part of the local militia and he was killed and a gun powder explosion i think only two years into their marriage used really tragedy and they hadn't even how children yet at that point and that is only twenty twenty four a widow at twenty four and so she was single for a little while and then she managers of ash berne and she later married him and he was a seaman and when he was see his ship was captured by the british and he was tossed into prison and before the british released american prisoners in seventeen eighty two contracted a strange illness and he died an unbeknownst to joseph ash burn it home betsy had in birth to their second child and their first child had actually passed away yo and she was only about nine months older now at this fine tragedy struck three times
and then one trial so she had a really tough life we don't you usually think about betsy rise in that way yet teuton widow by i am about seventeen eighty three when she married again in this way this is also a kind of acute story because she was old friends with men in john claypole and these are to rekindle the relationship after the death of her second husband and which also sweden this is that during this marriage she was able to rejoin the quakers quaker friends in this particular set of the other quakers was actually traditional because they supported america's fight for independence and you might know that quakers traditionally are pacifists so as an interesting facet about her her faith time betsy had about will she had five daughters with john claypole currently one daughter died young and john and back we were married for thirty four years but he acts
came disabled later in life due to some bottle injuries and so she was carrying for him in addition to caring for four daughters and then seventeen ninety three her mother father anne sister were all killed by an outbreak of yellow fever so she got custody of her niece saw this time she's got six children living under her care positively husband and she's running the household so her daughter clarissa actually helping her with her business and by this time betsy supplementing the income she makes us an upholsterer with helping out with an i guess and soldiers uniforms and things like this from the war that she can make a little bit of extra pocket money on the side and she actually continued her business for fifty years and then finally retired hard and by about eighty one years old i think she was officially blind unfortunately and a few years later she she died in eighteen thirty six peacefully
personally that's true yet although even though she had a hard life she died peace she did and so to know this background you bet your ass wise really still enhance my understanding of the betsy ross beth lies you hear that george washington and us congressional committee or at least they call themselves the congressional committee of but more ass and george rice firstly turned about see who not only are a fixture in the community as an esteemed most surer and esteem businesswoman but she was seen as i could get remember i think citizen friendly woman and obviously to care for households she had had a really plucky spirit and really hearty sense of business about her indigo you little context a bell the famous flag story this occurred pretty soon after the death of her first husband john in seven
seventy six about so like you mention these three men george rossi argue that might spark up interest because they have the same last name he was actually a relation of her late huh and he was he was her his uncle so it's plausible you know that these three men women would come to bessie and also in addition to that part of the story is that george washington was actually a friend of the family friend of betty's and he had called on betsy a few times socially professionally at her upholsterer shop so these three men come in like you said they they say they are part of our congressional fly committee george washington takes out a scrap of paper and on it and has a sketch of what he seizes his idea for the flag of the new nation and the eye he asks if she can so it and like you mentioned she said i do not know but i will try and of undue
spirit yeah and one one really hugh part of the storm i fear a part is that she suggests an alteration to the design i mean to the gall to go up to george washington and they don't really like you're you're design will do something different we suggested five pointed star is rather than six pointed stars which was not standard at my eye and i read that she actually took out of a pair of scissors and just slipped off in one of them the stars show them how greatly it could be improved with this minor alteration the i was not only a symbol for the fledgling nation was also a really important tool for helping to identify sides and different skirmishes that were breaking out during the war because up until this point they using the union jack which was the british flag inside the design of another flag and that can be pretty few things that needed something that look really different something that was distinct a part in our young united states
apart from the practical reasons obviously you know you're breaking from your colonizers you want to have a flag that's that's drastically different from from from britain at this time and so the flag i think both go and very symbolic reasons you know it close to their hearts right so my perception patsy rise would be that she was a pretty gregarious outgoing woman hard worker i can't imagine she was a sort of woman who went home at the end of the day on her head and say hello to her neighbours and i dont think us congressional committee had bound her to secrecy in any way so that's why it's peculiar to me that none of the colonists at the time heard this about zebra story put yourself in your shoes jane say that bert urban i came up to euro and said you know what i really think we need a new flag for formation and you said okay the rock
think what you ve got going here is pretty good but instead as navy blue why don't you use tee all and make this for any flag you tell people wouldn't you yes i know it i would propose that i would probably firstly i can't so i can write in article four you do not know but i was right but you yet is weird so does he didn't tell anyone and it wasn't intel and went on century after this this event personally went down that her grandson candy and eighty seventy addressed the historical society of pennsylvania with a speech about his paper the history of the flag of the united states and this paper was on stories oral stories he'd heard from his grandmother betsy it is an important part is that can be was very open about the fact that he had no hard evidence to support the story you know
ways like mentioned almost a century of eighteen seventy when he made the speech and so he could only rely on stories he had heard from his grandmother his late grandmother by this point you know if he if you hear some story from your own remilly you you're likely to believe in albania and so you can see why can't we wanted to publicize this really fantastic story by it is that he had no evidence to back himself i always all anecdotal brand the refrain we keep repeating the i do not know but i will try i promise last time that a supposedly that's a line that cap he handed down in every retelling of the story and obviously you know he very much was loyal to us mother and wanted to get this down for the history books that his grandmother had created the first flag of the united states and very definite reason to suspect that that's true likely before if george rise wise her late husbands uncle he
known that that's it could have been struggling financially and she needed a little bit of extra work to help out you know what the hell instead it could have told george washington and robert more as you let's go to she can help us with this flag she could really use the money one problem with that though is the fact that if there were actually congressional fly committee you think that there be a hard there would be records of it because conscious pretty good about keeping records and there's no evidence of that of such a committee one writer and crews brought up the point that if their work the committee it really unlikely that the george washington would be a member of it because he wasn't a member of congress and sell my response that would be or maybe that's you didn't quite understood and how they were identified themselves may be she is a the story shouldn't really know what sort of reverence
hasten they were making up themselves you just called on some sort of congressional committee or maybe xiv inside you know these men came and family members later retold the story and said they were congressional committee yeah you're really going hofer betsy story aren't you gonna thea bite on june fourteen seventeen seventy then congress passed a law about the flag and clearly identified the flag as having thirteen red white stripes and thirteen stars on a blue background not dissimilar to the one that patsy was said to have helped make so that's one piece of evidence we know like we know by that point they had started they knew what the fuck was going to look like and then even more concrete evidence would be that on may twenty ninth seventeen seventy seven the pennsylvania state navy board paid betsy for making flags the problem here as did they pay her from in the first original american flag or did he pay her for recur eating and making more of the same design
the german authorities and not to play devils advocating over you're gonna winch mean a few seconds for being all these holes in the story but there's no evidence to show that george washington actually knew were dealt with betty like the story says he was supposed to be a family friend who called on her many times there's no evidence in letters or anything that washington ever mention her name or anything like that and i mean that's not to say that this is of evidence and ditches just lack of evidence so we with that in mind when we're thinking about the historical accuracy of of the store egg us so this brings us to part two of the good and american flag story and that is a real his aunts man and a kind of a looker judging from his old photographs will not photographs as before photographs portraits i should say and that's frances hopkinson who who was actually friends with benjamin franklin to add his father died when francis was pretty young his father died made it a priority to give france is a really good
a priority to give france is a really good education i think most mothers look at their children and think other very gifted i want to do right by them but an case she near francis was something special and he kind of wise and i suspect a kind of new material you think he's got a very good idea but he graduated from the college to philadelphia and became a lawyer and in addition to law he also dabbled in science music poetry painting and who is known for his satirical quits thing i like about hopkinson is that he was an accomplished harpsichord player and he actually composed the lot of songs secular and religious songs in so a man after my own heart you are a lot of literary essays and so you can see that you is an incredibly accomplished guy and in addition today's attributes he was also a congressmen and new jersey and assign her at the declaration of independence yes oh nothing to sneeze out right there and dumb
that he was in charge later in life and he was he was a big push further constitution anywhere a lot of articles that push for pennsylvania to ratify it so you he was he was an influential politician as well so a hit comes up in this about the american flag because suppose it lee a lot of ladders requesting payment for his design of the american flag and he certainly design a lot of things and even his personalize book plate which got circulate inside of thought that he lent to someone and got tossed rounds for a few hands and eventually came back in his possession had a book plate that had three six pointed stars and as you will recall the six pointed star said design that betsy shot down and improved upon bites i guess if it came a trademark of hot concerns or at least associated with his name and among his other like really accomplish doing things we know that he designed or help design things are
the seal for the sale of new jersey cotton bored of admiralty seal silver americans phyllis because society for the treasury tier yeah and for the great deal of united states apparently he had hand in that and there is a side note too that suit their suggestions that he was amazing than he helped you know in court these masonic besides symbols and includes into the great seal united states but that's a hope i on down some so he started this letter writing campaign after he supposedly created the flag because he wanted to be compensated for his work and he started with to the board of admiralty and i'm wondering
grass which actually included a bill for off his design live here a part of the story is that when he a when he wrote the original letter he wanted compensation in the form of a quarter cask of public line which like mentioned to me earlier canvas is that i think i should get paid for my writing my article hiding third singer neck and argue with that and i think that this letter at the second what actually the one to congress got lost or a god ignored and the bureaucratic shuffle of the board of treasury so you submitted another letter and this time he itemised other different charges for all of these different designs we know for a fact that there are calls from the continental congress that again some evidentiary support the fact that hopkinson made the flag but the borders misery really stood firm by the idea that and this is a direct quote he was now the only person consulted on the facts design which leads me
leave that perhaps betsy ross came up the very nascent designed for the flag and there is yet i would think actually the other way round because of his six pointed on yeah actually the other way round because of his six pointed on satellite and so maybe was possibility after then maybe that was part of the scrap of paper that she supposedly looked at invasion based her a design on well in the end we can really be sure and if you look at different websites out there about the american flag especially ones that are devoted to her insane or devoted to ross their shamir buys point severe so within vulcan a fine line in presenting information obviously i'm swain towards about de sized i'd like to see the women get some credit where i think it's deal bites them the story if there is one is keep good record good records there's no reason that as young as our nation is that
permission about who create the first flag shouldn't be on file somewhere here will now we have like a picture phones self so if you know of george washington iraq obama comes and we can we can save a picture to prove their you got a faculty and long ago actually a blog about the story of their star spangled banner based on a flag that has flown at fort mc henry and frances he was inspired by the battle so much tat he wrote the stars they hold banner and that blog post was actually based on a reader request and says that we do on the stuff you missed his request we're just that kind of how to pay cash you guys you right
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-07.