Human Actuality: Elizabeth Griscom Ross
My great" aunt Elizabeth Griscom Ross (Betsy Ross) is an American icon who, despite historical discounts to truism, is adopted by each generation as the seamstress of the first American flag. Her story and life strike a chord deep in the heart of America. The controversies that surround this matronly icon do not sway America from recognizing her as a symbol of freedom and patriotism.
To fully understand the admiration America feels for Betsy, one must first explore her life and legend. According to Tom Huntington, Betsy Ross "was merely a Philadelphia woman who was working and trying to get on in life." America shares a closeness with this "working" class woman. Which were not all to common during the 1700s.(Schouler) She lived a life that is easily embraced by America because it is so familiar. The working class of this nation can relate to the hardships of her childhood, successes in her hard work, and losses of her loved ones.
Betsy Ross is not a "legend" to Americans--she is "the mother of our great nation." (Fow 11)
Born a Quaker in Philadelphia, 1752, Elizabeth Griscom grew up in a household where plain dress and strict discipline dominated her life, however, "Betsy" was not "plain" at all. She was described as having had "expressive blue eyes, delicate features, and a lively disposition." At a young age she developed a natural ability to sew and perform needlework. After she graduated from secondary school, she became an apprentice at an upholstery shop. Her remarkable skills attracted a large clientele, including General George Washington. "She embroidered his shirt ruffles and did many other things for him [even before he received command of the army]," stated William Canby, the grandson of Betsy Ross. (Furlong 116)
On November 4, 1773,