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...]
Things I'm Interested in Learning About This Ross Line:
- 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?"]
- 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.]
- 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
Both photos are in the public domain, and were obtained from Wikipedia.