Betsy Ross and the Making of America

The Birth of Old Glory by Edward Percy Moran (...
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I enjoyed reading Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller. She explains some of Betsy Ross’s legends. Below is an excerpt from the book which compares the flag she made to the size of her house.

In 1810, Claypoole(Betsy Ross) also contracted for six l8-by-24-foot garrison flag the military installation at New Orleans, which she delivered in January. The enormity of this order is breathtaking. Even one flag of this size required a tremendous amount of labor. (For some sense of this size flag, look around your own house; few living rooms today could even accommodate a flag of these dimensions. Betsy’s whole home around this time occupied just 468 square feet per floor; an 18-by-24-foot flag unfolds to 432 square feet.) Each article demanded some twenty-four feet of seams for each of the thirteen stripes (and these seams were felled, which means the length was stitched twice), not to mention the assembly of the canton, the application of the stars, and so forth. In all, each flag required more than one hundred thousand stitches. And of course that was to make just one; the full order demanded some six hundred thousand stitches. Betsy’s six flags joined two dozen drums and fifes as well as another dozen snare drums for the installation (made by the Philadelphia upholsterer Thomas Jaquet), as well as boxes and barrels of saws, axes, nails, window glass, some five hundred yards of mosquito netting-all destined for the Gulf Coast fort.


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