Tuesday, June 30, 2015


It is just days away from our nation's July 4th celebration. I thought taking you on a tour of the Betsy Ross house with John and I would be a fun patriotic thing to share. Betsy Ross is my all time favorite woman in American history. Learning about Betsy's tenacity and resolve to overcome challenging personal struggles that were downright tragic at times truly has been inspirational. Betsy's persistence to overcome against all odds as far as I am concerned is nothing short of remarkable.

Betsy Ross designed our American flag in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. The original Stars and Stripes displayed 13 five pointed stars for the 13 original colonies. On June 14th, 1777 (Flag Day) congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our official national flag.

Betsy Ross lived and worked here from 1776-1779. Betsy boarded with the elderly widow Lithgrow.

The banner marks Betsy Griscom Ross Ashbourn Claypoole's grave. She originally was buried at a Quaker cemetery at 5th and South Locust Street in Philadelphia. Then moved to her second gravesite at Mount Moriah. It was decided when the house was restored to move her body 10 miles to be buried with her third husband John Claypoole.

Just saying that's a lot of moving when you are supposed to be resting in peace!

The house is open daily from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM. It is a self guided tour and photos may be taken but without using your flash. I tried my best taking photos.

Inside the courtyard stands this statue/fountain with cats. It was commissioned after the houses restoration. 

That evening after we toured the house, I researched (googled) Betsy Ross and found no historical record that she was especially fond of cats. But for us feline lovers this is a gorgeous statue/fountain and yes I petted the statue cats. During visiting hours the fountain is shut off for safety reasons with small children.

Along the exterior brick wall entering the house are 3 mounted brass plaques to read on your self guided tour. Please enlarge these photos and read about this remarkable woman. Certainly heart tugging but indeed inspirational.

Can you imagine being 1 of 17 kids. I am the middle child of 3.

Like I said against all odds she triumphed.

Betsy Ross's chambers.

You have to wonder how supportive and comfortable a stretched canvas tied with ropes to a wood frame could of been.

Closet corner of Betsy's chambers.

Her fireplace and bed warmer. 

Another boarders bedroom. When John and I were walking around a young Mother was touring with her son, I'd guess around 7 years old. Spotting the chamber pot on the floor he quickly said "Look Mommy that bowl is for a dog". .. Mom said "no sweetie that's their chamber pot, there's no bathroom inside." To which we heard "eww" followed by a yuck!

Other side of room

A sitting room, with tile fireplace surround.

Next we go downstairs to the basement

Kitchen fireplace

A kitchen hutch

The table set.

Want to meet Betsy? I said to the Betsy actor, Betsy turn around so I can take your picture to put on my blog, smile pretty!

She turned around looked at me, looked at my iPhone with the Rabbit ear case and I said to her my usual reply for fun - I get better reception with the Rabbit ears! That's when I snapped the photo and the half smile she gave me. Then she spoke these words to me "I do not understand this thing you speak of - this blog". Of course I laughed, Betsy the actor plays her role very well.

Photo to show the hundreds of years of wear to the step, not to show you John's sneakers!

As we go to exit our tour John checks his phone. Wonder what Betsy would say!
Thanks for taking the tour with us and we wish you a very enjoyable July 4th celebration. I leave you with my poem I wrote for this post over last weekend. It is an emotional share. 

My Dad sailed through New York's harbor from Poland in 1926 with my Grandmother when he was only Three.
He was processed through Ellis Island like all immigrants, although Dad stood not much higher than the inspector's knee.

Immigrants coming to America saw the Statue de Liberté as an universal symbol of hope and democracy and felt pride.
Immigrants hoping for an opportunity from 1892-1954 Lady Liberty served as their welcome and gold torch freedom guide.

Dad would tell us stories about carrying his "piss pot" (chamber pot) with him in long lines at Ellis Island, funny but true...
Telling us of a long ships journey sailing across the bubbling whitecaps deep water of the Atlantic Oceans Blue.

For over 60 years Ellis Island served as a gateway to citizenship for 12 million people passing through its open door.
As a young man my Dad served our country in the Armies military heavy artillery division in the Second World War.

Dad returning home from WW II married my Mom, his childhood love after many long years had gone by.
Raised 2 sons and I to be patriotic and even now when the Star-Spangled Banner is sung a tear forms in my eye.

So on July 4th proudly wave and display our American flag and remember our history in adoption of the Declaration of Independence.
I know as I watch a fireworks display I will recall our nations legacy and honor all those who were part of our country's transcendence.

© Vera


  1. Good afternoon dearest Vera! I just happened to catch your new post as I was already on the computer, doing a poetry exercise. There is so much to catch up on, you and me!

    Well, where you live is the place to be to get first-hand history for the fourth; I remember our 11 years in Boston were always punctuated by the celebrations on the fourth (and St. Patrick's Day!) - our nation's beginnings all started on the eastern seaboard....what a lovely account of your father's immigration to the new land. I hope you and John are enjoying your summer so far. Ruben and I had a great time in Carmel, and I hope to share a blog post soon about it. But summer is already escaping all my dreams, but I think I'm accomplishing a lot this summer.

    Sending you a warm wish for a GREAT FOURTH! Anita

  2. Vera,
    How fun to do a post on Betsy Ross. I loved reading about her and seeing her home. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love the poem too. It is amazing what that flag stands for and all the people that gave their lives for freedom and the chance at a good life. Beautiful. Happy 4th.

  3. Thanks for this post on Betsy Ross. It's been many years since I've been there and perhaps it's time for a return visit. The trouble with growing up in and living in Philly is I take all of this for granted. And I shouldn't.

  4. Vera, you are always such a wealth of information! This is so interesting! I really enjoyed getting to 'know' Betsy better, and loved touring her home with you and John. :) Happy 4th!

  5. Thanks for the tour, Vera. As always, your poetry is fabulous. Have a great 4th.

  6. This was such an interesting post, Vera! I never knew these things about Betsy Ross....and yes, I can't even imagine having that many siblings! :) Thank you for taking us with you on this fantastic tour, and for sharing more of your own life's story. Bless you!

    xoxo laurie

  7. Hi Vera, Lovely post and info about Betsy Ross. She surely was a courageous and strong women. Loved the tour with you and John, Your poem is beautiful and so heartwarming. Wishing you a wonderful 4th of July weekend.
    Hugs and Blessings, cm

  8. What a wonderful post, Vera. The poem about your dad is especially poignant. Just a heartfelt sharing of what his life was like. A good man, I can tell.

    I did not realize that Betsy Ross had so much tragedy in her life..and did not realize she was one of 17 children. Life was so much different back then, wasn't it? This was a wonderful tour and I enjoyed the history lesson (and the close up of John's shoes!;>) xo Diana

  9. So many interesting facts in this post---one of 17 children. A happy third marriage and five daughters. Having her remains moved several times. Never knew this. The pictures are awesome!

    I love your poem and had to giggle at "piss pot". I actually found one of these at an antique shop and thought I'd use it for flowers (having no idea what it was). Then a few bloggers enlightened me and it has been relegated to the shelves in the garage!! lol!

    Love your posts, Vera!

    Jane x

  10. Vera, what a wonderful post this is. I don't know where to begin......the Betsy Ross House was so interesting to me. What a grand woman she was. I loved seeing all the different rooms in her home and reading a bit about her. Her home was very charming. I chucked when I read what Betsy, the actor, said. She certainly plays her part well. I enjoyed the poem that you wrote for this special day. Was your dad originally from Poland? You know, I am part Polish myself, and I was just wondering.

    Thank you for sharing the Betsy Ross House with us. This was an interesting tour filled with so much history.

    Oh, and that is one great flag picture. Happy 4th of July, Vera. Be safe, and have a splendid day.


  11. Dear Vera,
    This was a very informative and interesting post. Can you imagine, one of 17 children.. I want to say organization skills would be most important..
    Betsy was a pillar of strength, and a inspiration to all women..

    Thank you for taking me along on the tour of her home.
    I love your poem, Vera...

  12. Oh Vera. Such a tear jerker, i felt the promise of freedoms for your father as a small boy, and to endure his travels then was nothing short of hardship, not like us going on a first class cruise.
    Then To fight in the war, and come back a man of strength and wisdom.

    You my dear are a wealth of history, and the teller of its stories.
    As for Betsys row home and all its Americana decor is amazing to see I can picture her sitting there sewing the stars and strips, it's amazing to think that she herself had no idea how much she contributed to our Flag and its history.

    As for her bed, I wonder if she had another cotton batting mattress that rolled over the canvas, and we worry about the perfect mattress fro our sleeping comfort. John look really cool in his white tennis shoes :)
    The states of the kitties remind me of your two that live in your row home :)

    Well my dear, another great post, I seriously think you have a storage shed in that head of yours, how do you recall so many facts and dates as to family, I barley remember a family members birthday :)

    Have a great week, let me know how the beams are coming along....?

    A beautiful week to you and a Happy 4th of July

    ~ Doré

  13. Ohoo, me as a German did´nt know this. Something to learn :)
    And I like the first flag better, would have put the additional country-stars in between the stripes ;))
    Anyway, in comparism with our flag (IAAAGHHHH!!!) so beautifully designed.
    And John, John is sooo coool :)))
    Have a fun-weekend, than´s for the interesting recherche, your friend Méa

  14. Dear Vera, you have touched my heart with the story of Betsy Ross and through your beautiful poetry. Thank you so much for sharing your talents and your love of our country. Hugs, Jo

  15. Thank you Vera for sharing the history of Betsy Ross. I really knew nothing about her, and to read how she was able to rise above all of her difficulties and heartaches is so inspiring! You are lucky to live in a city so rich in history.
    And the poem of your dad as a young boy coming to America was awesome.
    Happy 4th!!

  16. This is a wonderful post and tour of the home of Betsy Ross. We toured it many years ago, so appreciated the refresher! So much great history in Philadelphia.
    Your poem is terrific, Vera, and such a great reminder of how and why we enjoy the freedoms we have today!
    Mary Alice

  17. What a remarkable woman! I look forward to a future visit to this historic home. Thanks for the tour, Vera. Wishing you and John a wonderful and safe 4th! Cheers, L

  18. Hello dear Vera!

    Thank you for visiting. Yes, Carmel is our place where we started our married life and proceeded eastward toward the rising sun. It's been great since.

    HUGS! And I love Betsy Ross's humble quarters!

  19. Loved your patriotic and heartfelt post, so beautifully written. Old glory, long may she wave! Happy 4th!

  20. I really enjoyed this post, Vera. So appropriate for this holiday.
    I especially liked the last part about your Dad, and your poem...very touching.
    Happy 4th of July to you dear friend.

  21. Beautiful post, Vera! I so hope to visit Philadelphia one day.
    Hope you are enjoying the summer!
    xo, T.

  22. As a seamstress, I have always admired Betsy Ross, but had no idea of her difficult life. Thanks for the tour and the history lesson.

    My grandmother arrived in the US in about 1902, from Norway. She had a message pinned to her chest with her brothers' address in Portland, Oregon. First the men came and set up business. Eventually the entire family ended up in Portland. One of her brothers went to Pratt Institute to become an architect. He was one of the architects on the Williamsburg project. He met my aunt while she was a secretary on the same project. They began their married life living in one of the Williamsburg houses - no electricity!

  23. This is just incredible. Love the history and the photos take us on a day in the life

  24. What a beautiful tour you took us on. I just love going thru such historic buildings/homes....thanks for the good time.