Monday, February 23, 2009

My World Tuesday - Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key is probably the best-known person from Frederick County. He was born 1 Aug 1779 at the Key home "Terra Rubra". Some sources list his date of birth as 1780. This section of Frederick County became a part of Carroll County when that county was formed in 1837. Francis studied law at St John's College in Annapolis and practiced law in Georgetown, MD (now part of Washington, DC). He died in Baltimore 11 Jan 1843 and was buried at Old Saint Paul's Cemetery in Baltimore. In 1866 his remains were moved to the Key family plot in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. The monument pictured above was erected in 1898 and both his and his wife's remains were placed in a crypt in the base of the monument.


He is known for a poem he wrote in September 1814 during the War of 1812. The British Army had captured and burned Washington and the fleet was sailing to Baltimore. The British had captured a well know physician, Dr. William Beanes. Francis Scott Key went with Col. John Skinner to meet with British officers aboard the HMS Tonnant to negotiate the release of Beanes. They gained his released, but were prevented from returning to Baltimore until after the British attack on Fort McHenry. The next morning, after 25 hours of shelling, Key saw the large stars and stripes flag still flying and drafted a poem on "The Defence of Ft McHenry". After returning to Baltimore, he finished the poem and it was printed and circulated in Baltimore. It then appeared in newspapers and was sung to the tune "Anacreon in Heaven". The song became popular as "The Star spangled Banner" though it was not until 1931 that Congress officially declared it to be the National Anthem. The flag from Ft. McHenry is now in the Smithsonian.

Francis Scott Key's birthplace "Terra Rubra" is near Keymar, Maryland. The present house is not the original one built in the 1770's for his father. After Key died, the house was sold and deteriorated. It was demolished after further damage by a storm and the present brick house was built. Terra Rubra was listed in the Maryland Historic Trust in 1978.



Buildings, bridges, schools, shopping malls, roads and a US submarine have been named for him. One of his namesake bridges spans the Baltimore harbor near where the British anchored to shell Ft. McHenry in 1814.

12 comments:

Lilli & Nevada said...

What great photos with a lot of good history. thanks so much for sharing your part of the world

ewok1993 said...

Fantastic post with great photos.

chrome3d said...

He seems so glad and uplifiting in the monument. I had never heard of him before but I have now.

Arija said...

What a great post, historical info. and photos!

Babooshka said...

New to me, but that's what I love aboit blogging, always something new to learn.Fabulous write up and image.

Dina said...

That is really interesting. I never knew the national anthem became official so late and that the original tune had a British history.
Thanks, Lew!

imac said...

Interesting History lesson Lew with great photos.

John said...

Very nice done post, Lew. The images are top as usual.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Ah us Brit's were a pesky lot back then Lew. Great post, very interesting and lovely piccies.

Jack and Joann said...

Nice local history lesson with implications for all Americans. Very well done!

SandyCarlson said...

I love this guy and his story. Love the Orpheus statue by the fort, too.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

As a native Marylander, I really enjoyed this post. But didn't Bob Dylan write the Star Spangled Banner (just joking!)