Grand River Branch

United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada





Selected Reprints from the

Grand River Branch Newsletter, Branches

"A Tale of Two Flags"

Doris Ann Lemon, May 1998, Vol.10 No.1, Page 7


It's History!


   Patriot Betsy Ross is pictured in gown and cap hastily stitching the Stars and Stripes into a flag by candlelight beside the fireplace in her parlour. Grand Union American Flag

  Betsy Ross, nee Griscom (b. January 1, 1752 in Philadelphia, d. January 30, 1836) was a seamstress who, according to legend, fashioned the first flag of the United States.

  As a girl, Elizabeth Griscom showed considerable aptitude for fine needlework.  She married John Ross in 1773 and worked with him in his upholstery shop.  She carried on the business after he was killed in a munitions explosion while serving in the militia.  It is known Ross made flags for the navy of Pennsylvania.

  According to her grandson, William Canby, Betsy Ross was visited in June, 1776 by George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross, her husband's uncle, who asked her to make a flag for the new nation that would declare its 13-star Betsy Ross American Flag independence the next month.  A rough sketch, presented to her, was redrawn by George Washington.  The legend continues: "She then fashioned the flag in her back parlour."  In 1777, the Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the national flag of the United States.

  Betsy married 2) John Ashburn and 3) John Claypoole. (Ref. Encyclopedia Americana, Grolier Incorporated, 1964, p. 797)

  Observations:  1. Betsy Ross was a professional flagmaker and entrepreneur who recognized an amazing business opportunity;   2. George Washington's Coat of Arms shows three stars across the top over horizontal bars.

Loyalist Flag

  Descendants of Loyalists will gather at Queen's Park on June 18 and raise the "First Union Flag".  The Old Union Flag came into being in 1606 and was composed of two crosses: St. George of England and St.  "First Union Flag" or "Queen Anne's Flag" Andrew of Scotland.  This flag was modified in 1707 and called "The Queen Anne Flag" (sometimes called "The Loyalist Flag").  It was the flag of the American Revolutionary period 1775 - 1783.  When Ireland joined the union in 1801 the red cross of St. Patrick was added creating the present Union Jack.

ANOTHER REMINDER:  "Loyalist" flags are for sale at the Eva Brook Donly Museum.  They range from mini size with a hand holder for $4.95 to a large 6'x3' for $48.95.  Be sure to have one for June 18 and 19 Loyalist Day celebrations.