The claims of the Betsy Ross flag were first brought to the attention of the public in 1870, by one of her grandsons, William J. Canby. He gave a talk a meeting of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, during which he stated:
"It is not tradition, it is a report from the lips of the principal participator in the transaction, directly told not to one or two, but a dozen or more living witnesses, of which I, myself, am one, though but a little boy when I heard it.... Colonel Ross, with Robert Morris and General Washington, called on Mrs. Ross and told her they were a committee of Congress, and wanted her to make a flag from the drawing, a rough one, which, upon her suggestions, was redrawn by General Washington in pencil in her back parlor. This was prior to the Declaration of Independence. I fix the date to be during Washington's visit to Congress from New York in June, 1776 when he came to confer upon the affairs of the Army, the flag being no doubt, one of these affairs."