Betsy Ross is thought to have sewn the first American flag. Born the 8th of 17 children to a Quaker family, Betsy learned to read, write, and sew at an early age. While working at her job as an upholstering apprentice, Betsy fell in love with John Ross, another apprentice. Because Betsy was a Quaker and John was an Episcopal, Betsy’s family disapproved of the marriage and the Quaker church disowned the couple. Interestingly, the couple was married by William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin.
In 1775, two years after the marriage, the Ross’ started their own upholstery business. With the start of the Revolutionary War, John joined the Pennsylvania Militia and was killed in 1776 by a gunpowder explosion. Betsy took over the business. According to legend (which has been proven to be not entirely true), Betsy received a visit from George Washington (whom Betsy attended church with), Robert Morris, and George Ross who presented her with a sketched image of a flag with six pointed stars. Betsy suggested five pointed stars and sewed it in her back parlor. Her flag first flew with the reading of the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall on July 8, 1776.