Category Archives: January
January 1st, 1752
Betsy Ross is remembered in American history as the famed flag-maker who sewed the very first Stars and Stripes. However, few historians and vexillologists (scholars who study flags) credit her with this achievement. Rather, they see her accomplishment as mostly myth that originated with her grandson, William Canby, in a speech he made to the Philadelphia Historical Society in 1870. What we do know about Betsy is that she was born in Philadelphia to a Quaker family, who disowned her when she married an Episcopalian named John Ross. Ross died in the Revolutionary War, and left his upholstering business to Betsy; she continued to work in Philadelphia making flags for the Navy. According to legend, in 1776 General George Washington called upon the widow and asked her to create a representative banner for the nation that would soon be declaring its independence. She purportedly suggested the five-pointed stars in opposition to Washington’s design of six-pointed stars. True or not, Betsy Ross remains forever linked to the American flag and in so doing, stands as a lone female patriot in a sea of Founding Fathers.
If Betsy Ross didn’t really create the first flag, why do you think we still remember her today?
Peachy Georgia was prehistorically inhabited by a prosperous Mississippian population, who first encountered Spanish gold seeker Hernando de Soto in the 16th century. In the 1560s, Spanish missionaries set up towns all along the coast, eradicating the native population through disease or war. By the 1700s, well after the English had found their American colonies, British soldier John Ogelthorpe (honored on a 1933 postage stamp) obtained a charter for a new southern colony and named it after his sovereign, King George II, wanting to provide a new start for England’s poor. Although Ogelthorpe’s plan relied on small farming communities, within 20 years the colony became rife with large plantations dependent on slave labor. Thus, after the American Revolution and Georgia’s growth, it sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. During that trying period, the whole state was practically ravaged by the Burning of Atlanta and General Sherman’s March to the Sea. During the Civil Rights Movement, Georgia (birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr.) was restored to a modern, prosperous state. Atlanta is now the most cosmopolitan center in the Southeast. Georgia is also home to beautiful landscapes, from the Appalachians in the north to Okefenokee Swamp in the south.
How do you think a new colony would help impoverished settlers?