Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fourth of July and a Book Review about Betsy Ross!

Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!

I thought a book review about a patriotic lady was appropriate for today! I hope everyone has a great time today and today - stay safe!

If you look up Betsy Ross on any internet site, chances are you’ll find hundreds of thousands of references to the lady who most of us grew up learning was the creator of the first official American flag.

If you look up books about Betsy Ross, you’ll find many written specifically for children, but no definitive, serious biography of Betsy Ross herself.

In her new book, “Betsy Ross and the Making of America,” history professor Marla R. Miller delves into not only the life of Betsy Ross and her family, but also gives an accounting of the founding of the United States of America.

Betsy Ross was born Elizabeth Griscom, the eighth child in a family of 17 children born to Samuel and Rebecca Griscom, a hard working Quaker couple in Philadeliphia on January 1, 1752. She learned, along with her other lessons, to sew at school, and was apprenticed to an upholsterer’s shop, where she became known for her sewing skills. She eloped with fellow worker John Ross at the age of 21, and they soon opened their own upholstery shop, but their happiness would be overshadowed by the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Betsy would be widowed by age 24 when her young husband was killed guarding a munitions warehouse, but she continued on with her business and was soon supplying the military with, among other things, pennants and flags for ships and militia. It is thought that her late husband’s uncle, Colonel George Ross, a member of the Continental Congress, introduced General George Washington to Betsy and it is through this introduction that she was recruited to sew what we think of being the first official flag to represent the United States. It is said that it was her idea to include five-pointed stars instead of the six-pointed ones Washington had in mind.

Betsy would marry twice more, have seven children of her own, and continued her sewing and upholstery business well into her later years. She died in 1836 at the age of 84.

Her legend became prominent around 1876, when her grandchildren and sole surviving daughter had various statements sworn to as being the true story of their grandmother’s participation in the Revolutionary War, thereby securing her place in American history.

In “Betsy Ross and the Making of America,” Professor Miller not only gives a detailed accounting of Betsy Ross’s family lineage, but she also includes a close look at the beginning of a young country and the trials and triumphs that the United States endured as they fought to be free from British rule.

As to whether or not Betsy Ross actually made a flag for George Washington, Miller leaves up to the reader to decide as it is not historically proven. It is of Miller’s opinion that she probably did, being that she was a prominent seamstress in Philadelphia, she had done previous sewing for the General and was in close contact with so many of the players in the drama unfolding.

Miller’s biography of Betsy Ross, one of the most captivating and well-remembered ladies in our country’s history, is fascinating and the volume deservedly takes its place alongside the stories of the other legendary heroes who founded our great nation.


Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Sharon that is an awesome post! I had a hugely busy day yesterday and didn't get home until dark - sleep and too much sun over the weekend, and did not get a chance to come say Happy Fourth!

However - let me be the first to say Happy Halloween :) LOL

Hope your fourth was a blast.

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

lol, and Merry Christmas to you too, my friend!