Saturday, January 30, 2010

Betsy Wasn't A Ross

Betsy Wasn't A Ross
That's right.  Betsy wasn't a Ross, at least not until she married John Ross, a descendant of the 4th Earl of Ross of Scotland.  She was a Griscom.  Elizabeth Griscom, to be exact.  I never learned this in school.  Why didn't I learn this in school?  It was always, "Betsy Ross made the first American flag."  Not "Betsy Griscom made the first American flag."  [Turns out, some even question if she actually made the first flag.]  Betsy married into the prominent Ross family of Delaware.  One of these Ross' was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and one Ross married a man who signed the Declaration of Independence.  Anyways, I guess it's not all that important.  It just kind of rocked my world a bit to think that Betsy Ross wasn't really a Ross by blood.

Is Blood Thicker Than Water?
However, I am a Ross by blood.  That's right.  In fact, my Ross family came from Delaware too.  There just hasn't been any connection made between my Ross line and the 4th Earl of Ross' line.  At least, none that I've found, but I'm still looking.  [Wouldn't you?]

There are only 3 counties in Delaware.  [You do remember from geography class that Delaware is petite, yes?]  Well, that "other" Ross line is from New Castle County, and my Ross line is from Sussex County.  To be precise, Northwest Fork Hundred.

Here's what I know about my Ross peeps: 
  • William Ross was born in Sussex County, Delaware to a Mr. & Mrs. Ross [grin].
  • William Ross married Esther Ferris [of possibly Caroline Co, MD] prior to 1767[?]. [What a wonderful name for a county, hm?]
  • Not to be outdone by that "other" Ross family, William signed an Oath of Allegiance to the Delaware State proclaiming his abandonment of loyalty to the King of England. [Why didn't anyone tell me this when I was studying American History in school?  Oh yeah, we didn't know...]
  • At the time of his death, which was prior to 1796, he had land in Sussex Co, Delaware and in Caroline County, MD. ["grin" I love the name of that county.]
  • His death is guestimated from an entry in the "Sussex County Orphans Court Records Book F, 1793-1796," which is dated 17 Nov 1796, and states that he is survived by widow Esther and his eight children: Charles, Edward, Gibson, Nancy Truitt, Nathaniel, Caleb, William, and Daniel Ross.
  •  A petition filed in Caroline County, Maryland by one of his sons, Charles Ross, dated 1809, states the following:

Charles Ross pet that William Ross d intestate seized of land in deed from Isaac Smith son of Levin, and Mary Smith, his wife, in 1795.  William Ross left ch: Charles Ross; Edward Ross who is d and left Anna, Charles and Mitchel Ross; Gibson Ross the son of William Ross, dec'd; Anne Truitt, his dau who m John Truitt and is now d leaving her husband and one dau, Eliza Truitt; Nathaniel his son; and Daniel Ross, his son, a minor.

  • Their fourth child, Nancy Ross, is my 4th great-grandmother and was b.abt 1773 in Northwest Fork Hundred, Sussex County Delaware.
  • Nancy Ross married John Burton Truitt [my 4th great-grandfather] in 1795 in Sussex County, Delaware.
  • John Burton Truitt was born 15 Feb 1771 in Nanticoke Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware to Peter and Elizabeth [Tatman] Truitt.[I'll delve more into John Burton Truitt and the Truitt family next week.  Lucky you.]
  • John and Nancy up and moved to Kentucky. [I guess it seemed like the thing to do.  Actually, some other Truitt's were going as well.]
  • As stated above by Nancy's bro, Charles, John and Nancy had a daughter named Elizabeth, but they actually had 3 children before Nancy's death in 1802: Elizabeth Truitt [b.1795 DE], William Riley Truitt [b.1797 KY], and Weldon Truitt [b.1800 KY].
  • It would seem that Nancy's older brother Charles Ross was only privy to her first child born in Delaware and not her other 2 children born in Kentucky.  [I can see this happening.  I mean, I have a much older brother who I am not very close to and whose 4th child from a second marriage I've only met once.  These things happen...with time and distance...]
  • Anywho, William Riley Truitt is my 3rd great-grandfather.  Also known as the grandfather to the "jerk," Claudius/Claude/C.R. Roy Truitt.  [Yeah, the "jerk" had a grandfather.  Go figure. *wink*]
  • Some other interesting facts about this line is that Nancy Ross Truitt was the aunt to the 37th governor of Delaware, William Henry Harrison Ross. [That's right, a governor, pictured below]
  • Also not to be outdone, this Truitt line lays claim to the 18th governor of Delaware, George Truitt.  [We had a governor "thing" going on...]

William H. H. Ross

Things I'm Interested in Learning About This Ross Line:
  1. Of course, I would like to know if [and if so, how] this Ross line of Sussex County is related to the Ross line of New Castle County. [Again I ask, "Who wouldn't?"  I mean, it'd be kinda cool to lay claim to some signers of the Declaration of Independence and the 4th Earl of Ross, or any earl for that matter.  I know.  I know.  "Greedy, much?"]
  2.  Also, who was William Ross' parents?  [You know, the dude that signed the Oath of Allegiance and who is my 5th great-grandfather?  Isn't that always the next question?  Actually, I've seen some answers ~ just no proof.  Of course, if I knew his parents, it's quite possible that I'd find the answer to my first question. [sigh.] 
  3. One last thing, when I finally make my way to Delaware and visit Gov. William H. H. Ross' governor's mansion, can I get the VIP tour?  You know, the one that's given to those who are related to the Governor?  [Just curious...]

No matter.  This makes an awesome story, to stay the least.  I dare say that learning history is so much more interesting to me when I can place my own peeps into history.  I mean, I certainly would've remembered more details about Betsy when I learned about her in school if I'd known that I'm more of a Ross than ol' Betsy ever was ~ at least by blood.

Next week: So where did the "jerk's" paternal line come from, or who makes a "jerk?":The Truitt's

Photo Credits:
Both photos are in the public domain, and were obtained from Wikipedia. 


  1. I actually learned Betsy wasn't a Ross by blood in the fall while researching the Tylor house ( -- apparently, the original owner's mother was one of Ross/Griscom's grand-niece's! It's amazing how details small and big can be glossed over by history, isn't it?

  2. Very interesting! I did a historical fiction short story about Mary Young Pickersgill, the maker of the Star-spangled Banner flag. Her flag is in the Smithsonian.

    I love connecting my family members with U.S. History, too....except the guy who went AWOL from the Union Army and was shot while stealing peaches. He climbed the tree to get some, and a hunter thought he was a bobcat. Oh, well....

  3. Okay I'm kind braindead but I love geneaology. I did my family tree a few years ago and connected it up way back. I mean like to 768 AD and I'm not joking. We came from England and a lot of it was already in place. It was fascinating. It's online still somewhere....

  4. If youve gotten further back in Gov. Wm. H.H. Ross' line, I would appreciate a reply with some information.... I would imagine that he is of the Dorchester Co. Md. Ross family. Caroline co. was broken off of Dorchester Co. and Seaford Delaware was broken off Dorchester Co. also but put over into Delaware, of which it has very little in common.

  5. Wow, thanks to your posting I've finally found my ggg-grandfather. He is obviously Edward Ross, William's son. My gg-grandfather is Mitchell Ross, born 20 Mar 1798 in Delaware. He and his brother Charles, left Delaware at some point and ended up in Kentucky where they met two sisters with the last name of Stockton. They married the sisters in Champaign County, Ohio. I have a lot of info on my ancester Mitchell and his brother Charles but could not find their parents. If you happen to have any other info on their parents Edward and Anna Ross, please email me at Somewhere there is a connection between our Rosses and the 4th Earl of Ross line. My grandmother told me that her father's ancesters were nobility and there was a Ross castle in Scotland that had belonged to the family.

  6. Thank you. I too am a Ross descendant, looking for my deeper roots. I learned about Betsy Ross at a temporary display in the museum at Winterthur, but you can read all about it on the Internet.

    Obviously not the same John Ross married to Betsy, since her husband died in the war, my ancestor, John Ross could possibly be related to him. My John Ross, (no date) also of Scottish descent, was a millwright from the Philly area and served in the War of Independence under General Greene, making a tour of the South into North Carolina. After the war, he moved from PA to North Carolina. His son, James Ross, 1790, was born near the Pee Dee River in South Carolina (poss NC).

    James married Margaret Elizabeth Yost. James moved his family to Alabama. One of James Ross' sons, Reuben Davis Ross, was born in Alabama, 1824. After Reuben was grown and married, James and Reuben, with family, moved on to Arkansas in 1851. James, Reuben and their families then moved to Harrison County, TX in 1859. Later, in 1865, James, Reuben and families moved down to Comanche County, Texas. Besides being a farmer, James was a leading citizen who was called upon to serve as a Justice of the Peace and a deputy sheriff. He was buried in 1868 in Comanche, TX.

    Reuben Ross married Mary Thompson in Alabama. His son, George Robert Ross, was also born in Alabama, 1850, but then Reuben moved his family several times (see above paragraph). He and his dad were farmers, but in Arkansas, Reuben also became a preacher, and established 2 churches. The last move, in 1865, James moved 20+ miles further south than Reuben did, to the town of Comanche. Reuben bought a farm that straddled Comanche and Erath Counties, 9 miles NE of De Leon, non-existent then (inc 1887).

    As the only preacher in Erath County, Reuben was a circuit riding preacher for 14 years, riding 17 miles across hostile Comanche Indian territory during the worst years of their attacks, with no farmsteads or road between to Stephenville. The next Sunday he rode 10 miles to Dublin, avoiding the road where indians set ambushes, or rode at night. After he trained other ministers to take his place, he also established a church near his farm, giving some of his own land, helping build the building, and preaching there well into his eighties.

    There are lots of stories if you put in "Reuben D. Ross, De Leon, Texas" or "Comanche Rube" into an Internet search. He earned the nickname 'Comanche Rube' during this time, and established several Baptist churches, all of which are still going, although with newer buildings. This is why he was interviewed for the newspaper article, from which I get much of my genealogy information. The stories don't tell why the Comanches came to respect him and leave him alone, but at 6'7" he would be easily recognized by his size even from a distance.

    One of Reuben's sons was George Ross (also a minister, continuing to preach at the Dublin church). George's son was Tipton Ross, who established a lumber yard and a construction business in Gorman, TX, owned a peanut farm, and served 4 terms as a Texas State Legislator. He was my mom's dad. I have 3 full pictures of him. He was only 6'4". The De Leon site has a head-shot picture labeled George Ross.

    If you can provide more information, especially about any connection between my family and the family of John Ross, Betsy's husband, I would appreciate it. Please contact me at:; if that doesn't work, try I've visited, but found nothing at that time.

  7. Hello, my name is gaby Franger and I live in Ochtrup.

    My mothers name is Hues. Her GGGfather (or something like this) was Gustav Hues. He married in 1733 Klara Ross. Her nephew Johannes (John) Ross fled to the USA after a fight. He thought he had killed a man, who wasn't so. He married on 04.11.1773 Betsy (Elisabeth) Griscom.


Inappropriate comments will be deleted. So keep it clean and be nice.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...