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This Affidavit of Sophia Hildebrandt, Granddaughter of Betsy Ross, is one of several affidavits signed by relatives of Betsy Ross attesting that they heard Ross' tell the story of creating the first American flag from her own mouth.
The affidavits are important because there is no other surviving documentation that proves the story. Because of this, many historians have doubted the Betsy Ross Flag story that so many Americans believe as true history. The story may be true, but it simply cannot be proven.
Hildebrandt tells the story of how George Washington and several others came to her on a secret mission from the Continental Congress to create a flag for the United States. Betsy Ross suggested a major change to them according to the legend, that the stars be changed from six-pointed stars to five-pointed ones. Read more about the details of the Betsy Ross Flag controversy here.
Two other relatives wrote affidavits confirming the Betsy Ross Flag story as well:
William Canby was the grandson of Betsy Ross. His paper spoken before the the Historical Society of Philadelphia in March, 1780 is the main source of the Betsy Ross Flag story. Read The History of the Flag of the United States by William Canby here.
Learn more about the personal life of Betsy Ross at our Betsy Ross Facts page.
AFFIDAVIT DATED MAY 27, 1870
Affidavit of Sophia B. Hildebrandt,
Daughter of Clarissa S. Wilson and Granddaughter
of Elizabeth Claypoole (Betsy Ross)
I remember to have heard my grandmother Elizabeth Claypoole frequently narrate the circumstance of her having made the first Star Spangled Banner; that it was a specimen flag made to the order of the committee of Congress, acting in conjunction with General Washington, who called upon her personally at her store in Arch Street, below Third Street, Philadelphia, shortly before the Declaration of Independence; that she said that General Washington made a redrawing of the design with his own hands after some suggestions made by her; and that this specimen flag was exhibited in Congress by the committee, with a report, and the flag and report were approved and adopted by the Congress; and she received an unlimited order from the committee to make flags for the government, and to my knowledge she continued to manufacture the government flags for about fifty years, when my mother succeeded her in the business, in which I assisted. I believe the facts stated in the foregoing article, entitled "The First American Flag, and Who Made It," are all strictly true.
Witness my hand at Philadelphia the Twenty-seventh day of May A.D. 1870.
Isaac R. Oakford
Charles H. Evans
State of Pennsylvania,
City of Philadelphia SS
On the Twenty-seventh day of May A.D. 1870, Before me Charles H. Evans, a Notary Public in and for the Common-wealth of Pennsylvania, duly commissioned, residing in the said City of Philadelphia personally appeared the within named Sophia B. Hildebrandt, who being duly affirmed did depose and say that the statements within certified to by her are all strictly true, according to the best of her knowledge and belief, and that she is a daughter of Clarissa S. Wilson, who was a daughter of Elizabeth Claypoole.
Affirmed and subscribed before
me, this day and year aforesaid.
Witness my hand and Notarial seal.
Charles H. Evans
Published October 10/20/11