Her official gravesite is memor-
ialized at the Betsy Ross House
on Arch Street in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania – the city where
she passed away at age 84 on
January 30, 1836 - and yet, there
is some speculation as to where
here remains were truly placed.
As a Quaker her grave was likely
unmarked at the time of her
death or if it was the marker may have been discreet. Equality being a significant part of the Quaker faith, ornate gravestones were not used to identify where a person was interned. Although she left her faith as a young woman by her death she was a devout member of the faith.
In the early 1900’s, there were reports that Ross was buried in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, under the Oak. Years later, a local historian uncovered news clippings collected by the late Dr. William Pennington which corroborated those stories. Once article garners a quote by a man sharing the doctor’s last name – E.M. Pennington – who stated on July 4, 1876 while in the vicinity of the tree, “Here lies the woman who made the first banner containing the stars and stripes after that honored old ensign had been adopted, June 14, 1776.”
Another clipping dated June 1901 declared, “Oak Marks Grave of Betsy Ross;” and “Maker of the First American Flag Buried Under a Giant Tree in Baking Ridge.” The latter headline also claiming that her headstone had been stolen by relic hunters. Other articles throughout 1901 and 1902 support the claim and a book published in 1942 tree titled The Revolutionary Scene in New Jersey, (shown) states; “The tradition persists that Betsy Ross, who made the first American flag, is buried in the yard.” Ask any Philadelphian and they’ll deny the story but there’s enough there to keep the idea alive.