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Biographies Unit Biographies

Betsy Ross 1752-1836
Flag Maker

Most Americans believe Betsy Ross made the first American flag. The story is that General Washington visited her Philadelphia shop in 1776. He asked her to make a flag for the new army. She made the famous “stars and stripes” design.

This story is mostly untrue. In 1776, General Washington was in New York with the army. He was not in Philadelphia. Congress decided the flag's design. Betsy Ross did not.

The real story is that Betsy Ross was born in Philadelphia. She learned to sew from her mother. Betsy Ross married twice. Both her husbands died in the war for American freedom. After her first husband died, she made money by sewing flags for the American navy. She wanted Americans to be free from English rule. By helping the navy, she helped the cause of American independence.

Comprehension Check

In what way did Betsy Ross make money?

Critical Thinking

What part of the story about Betsy Ross is true?