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Betje Voorgebergte
Betje
Betje at age 14, 1775

Full Name

Betje Voorgebergte

Born

January 11, 1761

Died

March 8, 1779

Known for

Designed first American Flag, Suspected Traitor to British, Affair with Major John André

Party

Sons of Liberty

Betje Voorgebergte (January 11, 1761 - March 8, 1779) was the daughter of wealthy Dutch parents who were staying with family members in Boston, Massachusetts Bay, when, unfortunately for them, the Great Revolution broke out. Her father, Erik, and mother, Luce, were accused of being Dutch ambassodors smuggling funds to the Sons of Liberty during the British occupation of Boston following Parliament's passing of the Massachusetts Bay and New York Governing Act of 1774. They were hanged in front of the new Redcoat governor's mansion. Betje was only thirteen.

An orphan, she was taken in by silversmith Paul Revere and his family, who were acquaintances of her parents. Revere made her a solid patriot and radical, and in 1775, at the age of 14, sewed the first flag to carry an inherently anti-British meaning, the famous green-white-blue Sons of Liberty banner, which was hoisted over Faneuil Hall following Samuel Adams' election as President of the Second Continental Assembly. Betje, known to the troops as "Betsy of Boston," went on to serve as figurehead and mascot for the Republican Government, who exhalted her as a role-model for all children.

At age 18, and with backing from Thomas Paine, she announced she would run for a position in the Second Continental Assembly, which was unheard of at the time for a woman to even consider. Unfortunately, before she could do this, she was found dead, face down in a gutter on the Boston Waterfront, her clothes torn, her face beaten, and a dagger lodged in her back. On the dagger's hilt was the trademark stylized "T," the emblem of the infamous Toppers Gang, which had only just begun serving as a well-known underworld divison of the government. It is not known why she was killed, but some say there was a large conspiracy about her; some secretly thought she was a secret British spy and that she was having an affair with a young British major named John André, who was later captured in civilian clothing near the Canadian border by General Benedict Arnold. Sentenced for spying (carrying secret documents some said only someone like Betje could procure), he was hanged only a week before Betje's murder.