Francis Scott Key, Sr. (1779 - 1843) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Terra Rubra Plantation, north of Keymar, Frederick County (Present Carroll County), Maryland, United States
Death: Died in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States
Cause of death: Pleurisy
Occupation: lawyer, poet; United States attorney for the District of Columbia
Managed by: Donald Browne, II
Last Updated:

About Francis Scott Key, Sr.

Francis Scott Key was born on August 1, 1779, in western Maryland. His family was very wealthy and owned an estate called "Terra Rubra."

When Francis was 10 years old, his parents sent him to grammar school in Annapolis. After graduating at the age of 17, he began to study law in Annapolis while working with his uncle's law firm. By 1805, he had a well-established law practice of his own in Georgetown, a suburb of Washington, D.C. By 1814, he had appeared many times before the Supreme Court and had been appointed the United States District Attorney.

Francis Scott Key was a deeply religious man. At one time in his life, he almost gave up his law practice to enter the ministry. Instead, he resolved to become involved in the Episcopal Church. Because of his religious beliefs, Key was strongly opposed to the War of 1812. However, due to his deep love for his country, he did serve for a brief time in the Georgetown field artillery in 1813.

During the War of 1812, Dr. William Beanes, a close friend of Key's was taken prisoner by the British. Since Key was a well-known lawyer, he was asked to assist in efforts to get Dr. Beanes released. Knowing that the British were in the Chesapeake Bay, Key left for Baltimore. There Key met with Colonel John Skinner, a government agent who arranged for prisoner exchanges. Together, they set out on a small boat to meet the Royal Navy

On board the British flagship, the officers were very kind to Key and Skinner. They agreed to release Dr. Beanes. However, the three men were not permitted to return to Baltimore until after the bombardment of Fort McHenry. The three Americans were placed aboard the American ship and waited behind the British fleet. From a distance of approximately eight miles, Key and his friends watched the British bombard Fort McHenry.

After 25 hours of continuous bombing, the British decided to leave since they were unable to destroy the fort as they had hoped. Realizing that the British had ceased the attack, Key looked toward the fort to see if the flag was still there. To his relief, the flag was still flying! Quickly, he wrote down the words to a poem which was soon handed out as a handbill under the title "Defence of Fort McHenry." It was renamed "The Star- Spangled Banner" by an adoring public. It became a popular patriotic song. It was not until 1931, however, that it became our national anthem.

After the war, Francis Scott Key continued to live a very religious life. He was well-liked by his friends and was active in society. On January 11, 1843, while visiting his daughter in Baltimore, Key died of pleurisy. To honor the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner," there are monuments at: Fort McHenry; on Eutaw Street in Baltimore; at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland; and at the Presidio in San Francisco, California.

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Composer of the anthem of the United States of America, "The Star Spangled Banner."

Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Francis Scott Key was born to Ann Phoebe Penn Dagworthy (Charlton) and Captain John Ross Key at the family plantation Terra Rubra in what was Frederick County and is now Carroll County, Maryland. His father John Ross Key was a lawyer, a judge and an officer in the Continental Army. His great-grandparents were Philip Key and Susanna Barton Gardiner, both born in London, England, immigrated to Maryland in 1726.

He studied law at St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland and also learned under his uncle Philip Barton Key.

"The Star-Spangled Banner"

During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by the American Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of three British officers: Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross. Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, one being Dr. William Beanes. Beanes was a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland and had been captured by the British after he placed rowdy stragglers under citizen's arrest with a group of men. Skinner, Key, and Beanes were not allowed to return to their own sloop: they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. As a result of this, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13–September 14, 1814.[4]

When the smoke cleared, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. On the way back to Baltimore, he was inspired to write a poem describing his experience, "The Defence of Fort McHenry", which he published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814. He intended to fit the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith's "To Anacreon in Heaven".[4] It has become better known as "The Star Spangled Banner". Under this name, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play it) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.

In the fourth stanza Key urged the adoption of "In God is our Trust" as the national motto.[5] The United States adopted the motto "In God We Trust" by law in 1956.

Later life

From 1817 until his death in 1843, Key served as a Vice President of the American Bible Society.

In 1832, Key served as the attorney for Sam Houston during his trial in the U.S. House of Representatives for assaulting another Congressman.[6] He published a prose work called The Power of Literature, and Its Connection with Religion in 1834.[3]

In 1835, Key prosecuted Richard Lawrence for his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President of the United States Andrew Jackson.

In 1843, Key died at the home of his daughter Elizabeth Howard in Baltimore from pleurisy and was initially interred in Old Saint Paul's Cemetery in the vault of John Eager Howard. In 1866, his body was moved to his family plot in Frederick at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Though Key had written poetry from time to time, often with heavily religious themes, these works were not collected and published until 14 years after his death.[3]

The Key Monument Association erected a memorial in 1898 and the remains of both Francis Scott Key and his wife were placed in a crypt in the base of the monument.

Other related items

In 1861, Key's grandson Francis Key Howard, was imprisoned in Fort McHenry with the Mayor of Baltimore, George William Brown, and other locals deemed to be pro-South.

Key was a distant cousin and the namesake of F. Scott Fitzgerald whose full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. His direct descendants include geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan,[citation needed] guitarist Dana Key,[citation needed] and the American fashion designer and socialite Pauline de Rothschild.[citation needed]

Key's daughter, Alice, married U.S. Senator George H. Pendleton.

His sister, Anne Phoebe Charlton Key, married Roger B. Taney, future Chief Justice of the United States and author of the Court's Dred Scott decision.

Key's son, Philip Barton Key was shot and killed by General Daniel Sickles in 1859 after General Sickles discovered that his wife was having an affair with Philip Barton Key.

The official Spanish translation of the Star Spangled Banner was written by Clotilde Arias.

Monuments and memorials


The Howard family vault at Saint Paul's Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.Two bridges are named in his honor. The first is the Francis Scott Key Bridge between the Rosslyn section of Arlington County, Virginia, and Georgetown in Washington, D.C.. Scott's Georgetown home, which was dismantled in 1947 (as part of construction for the Whitehurst Freeway), was located on M Street NW, in the area between the Key Bridge and the intersection of M Street and Whitehurst Freeway. The location is illustrated on a sign in the Francis Scott Key park.[7]

The other bridge is the Francis Scott Key Bridge, part of the Baltimore Beltway crossing the outer harbor of Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge is located at the approximate point where the British anchored to shell Fort McHenry.

  • St. John's College, Annapolis, which Key graduated from in 1796, has an auditorium named in his honor.
  • Francis Scott Key was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
  • He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. His family plot is next to Thomas Johnson, the first governor of Maryland, and friend Barbara Fritchie, who allegedly waved the American flag out of her home in defiance of Stonewall Jackson's march through the city during the Civil War. Fritchie's resistance was memorialized in a poem by Poet Laureate John Greenleaf Whittier.
  • Francis Scott Key Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park is named in his honor. The George Washington University also has a residence hall in Key's honor at the corner of 20th and F Streets.
  • Francis Scott Key also has a school named after him in Brooklyn, New York. I.S 117 is a junior high school located in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn on Willoughby Avenue. It houses 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms as well as a District 75 Special Education unit. The Special Education classes include children who are emotionally disturbed. For more information on the school and its programs please visit the schools main site, P369k, located in Downtown Brooklyn.
  • Francis Scott Key High School in rural Carroll County, Maryland.
  • Francis Scott Key Middle School (at least three)
  • Francis Scott Key Elementary School (several, including California,[8] Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC).
  • Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick County, Maryland.
  • The Frederick Keys minor league baseball team is named after Key.
  • A monument to Key was commissioned by San Francisco businessman James Lick, who donated some $60,000 for a sculpture of Key to be raised in Golden Gate Park.[9] The travertine monument was executed by sculptor William W. Story in Rome in 1885-87.[10][11] The city of San Francisco recently allocated some $140,000 to renovate the Key monument, which was about to be lost to environmental degradation if repairs weren't made. Repairs were recently finished on the monument located in the music concourse outside the de Young Museum.
  • The US Navy named a submarine in his honor, the USS Francis Scott Key

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Key, Francis Scott (1779-1843), American lawyer and poet, who wrote the lyrics for "The Star-Spangled Banner," the United States national anthem. He was born in Frederick County (now Carroll County), Maryland, and practiced law in Maryland and in the District of Columbia. During the War of 1812 (1812-1815) Key witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor. The sight of the American flag still flying over the fort at daybreak inspired him to write the poem "The Star-Spangled Banner," which he set to the tune of an English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven." "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official United States national anthem in 1931. Key also wrote The Power of Literature and Its Connection with Religion (1834) and Poems (posthumously published, 1857).

Every American knows the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner," because every American watches sporting events. Some of us know the words, although we can't sing it unless we are singers of special talent, because of the reach of range of the notes (the "red glare" of the rockets makes most people's voices break). And every American who knows something of history knows that Frances Scott Key, watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the shore of Baltimore Harbor, saw the Star-Spangled Banner flying over the fort, and wrote the poem bearing that name on the back of an envelope, and since then it has been our national anthem, sung before baseball games starting from the last century. All this history is pleasant, but it is not at all true.

Setting the record straight about our most famous flag and its anthem is the purpose of The Flag, the Poet, & the Song: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner (Dutton) by Irvin Molotsky, a fun look at an important part of American history. It is important history because of the emphasis we place on our sacred flag, and it is important to see how we often get that history wrong. The book quite rightly goes into the War of 1812 to show why the battle for Baltimore was important. The British had captured the area that eventually became Chicago and Detroit. In April 1813, the Americans pushed vessels against Toronto (then called York), and although the city surrendered, it was subject to six days of looting and burning by the American soldiers. Americans were the invaders in this instance, and were the bad guys. As a direct result of British indignation over the way Toronto had been treated, the British burned the city of Washington after taking it easily. The White House was burned (with Dolley Madison saving the famous Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, and the Declaration of Independence hidden in a gristmill) along with many other buildings, and the seemingly invincible British moved toward Baltimore.

Along the way, they arrested Dr. William Beanes, who had tried to interfere with their progress; the British mistakenly thought he was a recent immigrant from Scotland and wanted to try him for treason. It was to free Beanes that Frances Scott Key, a young lawyer living in Georgetown, was sent by President Madison under a flag of truce. The British general agreed to release Beanes, but would not let either him or Keys go as the attack on Baltimore was being readied. It was thus that Key was on a British ship to see the result of the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

The huge flag, thirty by forty-two feet, was not, in fact, the one Key saw being bombed. In the rain, the fort flew a smaller, less valuable flag, now lost, called a storm flag. The original Star-Spangled Banner was raised in the morning. Key started his poem on the back of a letter, but after the battle began and he was released, he continued it in his hotel on better stationery. His brother-in-law was second in command at Fort McHenry, and caused the poem to be printed as a handbill, "The Defence of Fort McHenry," not the title by which we know it. Someone discovered it could be sung to "Anacreon in Heaven," a jolly English drinking song whose original lyrics included "And besides I'll instruct you like me, to intwine, the Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus's Vine," so perhaps it was not only a drinking song. Eventually, around 1890, it was adopted as the official song of the Army and the Navy. It was not adopted as the National Anthem until 1931, and the choice was controversial. Critics said that the music ought to be of a more modest range so everyone could sing it, and that it should not be derived from a British tune, much less a drinking song since America was under prohibition. Most objections were about the martial lyrics, which would give "to millions of Unknown who sing it the notion that the only real patriotism is warlike activity." This and its unsingablility are objections that continue to be brought up when "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" are proposed as replacements, but the anthem is secure.

Perhaps because of the martial lyrics and the national anthem centered on the flag, Americans are prone to take their symbol with extreme seriousness, except when using it on advertising. One chapter of The Flag, the Poet, & the Song deals with flag-burning and the attempts to make it unconstitutional. Although Molotsky extensively quotes patriots on both sides of the issue, the most sensible words are those of General Colin Powell: "I would not amend that great shield of democracy to hammer a few miscreants. The flag will still be flying proudly long after they have slUnknown away. Finally, I shudder to think of the legal morass we will create in trying to implement the body of law that will emerge from such an amendment." His fellow Republicans generally did not agree with him, but part of our flag's history might show a clearer way of looking at the issue. The Banner is one of only about twenty American flags from before 1815 known to exist. American flags did not become a sort of icon until the Civil War. The Star-Spangled Banner, now under care of the Smithsonian, does not risk being burned, but it has already suffered indignities because it flew in a pre-idol age. It suffered from "souveniring," losing more than a fifth of its size to those who just wanted a little piece of it, up unto the beginning of the twentieth century. Some icon.

Molotsky's book is largely a happy miscellany of flag and anthem lore. The first documented singing of the anthem before a ball game was not until 1918. The fans of the Baltimore Orioles, known as the "O's," sing until the second to last line and shout the initial syllable of "O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave," in a manner to scare the uninitiated. In Atlanta, home of the Braves, the last line is modified to, "O'er the land of the free and the home of the Braves." Robert Goulet flubbed the lyrics in his performance before the 1965 Ali-Liston fight; Jose Feliciano offended many with an eccentric rendering at a World Series game in 1969, but not as many as Roseanne Barr did in a deliberately bad performance in 1990. The flag is now undergoing an $18 million restoration and preservation, in a laboratory that visitors to the Smithsonian can peer into. There are plenty of enjoyable details here, but the flag and anthem form an important facet of American history and public thought, and Molotsky has done a fine job of making the historic ideas accessible in a patriotic little volume. -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Scott_Key

Francis Scott Key (August 1, 1779 – January 11, 1843) was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States' national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Francis Scott Key was born to Ann Phoebe Penn Dagworthy (Charlton) and Captain John Ross Key at the family plantation Terra Rubra in what was Frederick County and is now Carroll County, Maryland. His father John Ross Key was a lawyer, a judge and an officer in the Continental Army. His great-grandparents were Philip Key and Susanna Barton Gardiner, both born in London, England, immigrated to Maryland in 1726.

He studied law at St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland and also learned under his uncle Philip Barton Key.

"The Star-Spangled Banner"

During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by the American Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of three British officers: Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross. Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, one being Dr. William Beanes. Beanes was a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland and had been captured by the British after he placed rowdy stragglers under citizen's arrest with a group of men. Skinner, Key, and Beanes were not allowed to return to their own sloop: they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. As a result of this, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13–September 14, 1814.

When the smoke cleared, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. On the way back to Baltimore, he was inspired to write a poem describing his experience, "The Defence of Fort McHenry", which he published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814. He intended to fit the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith's "To Anacreon in Heaven". It has become better known as "The Star Spangled Banner". Under this name, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play it) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.

In the fourth stanza Key urged the adoption of "In God is our Trust" as the national motto. The United States adopted the motto "In God We Trust" by law in 1956.

Later life

From 1817 until his death in 1843, Key served as a Vice President of the American Bible Society.[citation needed]

In 1832, Key served as the attorney for Sam Houston during his trial in the U.S. House of Representatives for assaulting another Congressman.[6] He published a prose work called The Power of Literature, and Its Connection with Religion in 1834.[3]

In 1835, Key prosecuted Richard Lawrence for his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate President of the United States Andrew Jackson.

In 1843, Key died at the home of his daughter Elizabeth Howard in Baltimore from pleurisy and was initially interred in Old Saint Paul's Cemetery in the vault of John Eager Howard. In 1866, his body was moved to his family plot in Frederick at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Though Key had written poetry from time to time, often with heavily religious themes, these works were not collected and published until 14 years after his death.[3]

The Key Monument Association erected a memorial in 1898 and the remains of both Francis Scott Key and his wife were placed in a crypt in the base of the monument.

Other related items

In 1861, Key's grandson Francis Key Howard, was imprisoned in Fort McHenry with the Mayor of Baltimore, George William Brown, and other locals deemed to be pro-South.

Key was a distant cousin and the namesake of F. Scott Fitzgerald whose full name was Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. His direct descendants include geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan, guitarist Dana Key, and the American fashion designer and socialite Pauline de Rothschild.

Key's daughter, Alice, married U.S. Senator George H. Pendleton.

His sister, Anne Phoebe Charlton Key, married Roger B. Taney, future Chief Justice of the United States and author of the Court's Dred Scott decision.

Key's son, Philip Barton Key II was shot and killed by General Daniel Sickles in 1859 after General Sickles discovered that his wife was having an affair with Philip Barton Key. Sickles was acquitted in the first use of the temporary insanity defense.

The official Spanish translation of the Star Spangled Banner was written by Clotilde Arias.

While there were three efforts to save the Francis Scott Key residence, it was dismantled in 1947. The residence was located at 3516-18 M Street in Georgetown.

Monuments and memorials

Plaque commemorating the death of Francis Scott Key placed by the DAR in Baltimore.

The Howard family vault at Saint Paul's Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

Two bridges are named in his honor:

--The first is the Francis Scott Key Bridge between the Rosslyn section of Arlington County, Virginia, and Georgetown in Washington, D.C.. Scott's Georgetown home, which was dismantled in 1947 (as part of construction for the Whitehurst Freeway), was located on M Street NW, in the area between the Key Bridge and the intersection of M Street and Whitehurst Freeway. The location is illustrated on a sign in the Francis Scott Key park.

--The other bridge is the Francis Scott Key Bridge, part of the Baltimore Beltway crossing the outer harbor of Baltimore, Maryland. Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge is located at the approximate point where the British anchored to shell Fort McHenry.

St. John's College, Annapolis, which Key graduated from in 1796, has an auditorium named in his honor.

Francis Scott Key was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. His family plot is next to Thomas Johnson, the first governor of Maryland, and friend Barbara Fritchie, who allegedly waved the American flag out of her home in defiance of Stonewall Jackson's march through the city during the Civil War. Fritchie's resistance was memorialized in a poem by Poet Laureate John Greenleaf Whittier.

Francis Scott Key Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park is named in his honor. The George Washington University also has a residence hall in Key's honor at the corner of 20th and F Streets.

Francis Scott Key also has a school named after him in Brooklyn, New York. I.S 117 is a junior high school located in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn on Willoughby Avenue. It houses 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms as well as a District 75 Special Education unit. The Special Education classes include children who are emotionally disturbed. For more information on the school and its programs please visit the schools main site, P369k, located in Downtown Brooklyn.

Francis Scott Key High School in rural Carroll County, Maryland.

Francis Scott Key Middle School (at least three)

Francis Scott Key Elementary School (several, including California,[11] Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC).

Francis Scott Key Mall in Frederick County, Maryland.

The Frederick Keys minor league baseball team is named after Key.

A monument to Key was commissioned by San Francisco businessman James Lick, who donated some $60,000 for a sculpture of Key to be raised in Golden Gate Park. The travertine monument was executed by sculptor William W. Story in Rome in 1885-87. The city of San Francisco recently allocated some $140,000 to renovate the Key monument, which was about to be lost to environmental degradation if repairs weren't made. Repairs were recently finished on the monument located in the music concourse outside the de Young Museum.

The US Navy named in his honor, the USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657), a Benjamin Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine. Which was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for Francis Scott Key.

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Francis Scott Key's Timeline

1779
August 1, 1779
north of Keymar, Frederick County (Present Carroll County), Maryland, United States
1802
January 9, 1802
Age 22
Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, MD, United States
1803
October 10, 1803
Age 24
1805
February 13, 1805
Age 25
Bladensburg, Prince George's, Maryland, USA
1806
October 7, 1806
Age 27
District of Columbia, United States
1808
March 3, 1808
Age 28
1811
March 2, 1811
Age 31
1813
September 26, 1813
Age 34
1816
June 9, 1816
Age 36
1818
April 5, 1818
Age 38