Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Francis Scott Key
During the war of 1812, British troops had invaded and captured Washington in August of 1814. They set fire to the Capitol, the White House and most Federal buildings. as they withdrew to their ships they took Dr. William Beanes prisoner because he had arrested some stragglers among the British troops for looting.
The popular and respected 35-year-old George Town lawyer, Francis Scott Key, came to the aid of friends seeking Dr. Beanes' release. Under a flag of truce approved by President James Madison, key set out with Colonel John Stuart Skinner, an American agent for prisoner exchange. They located the British fleet and boarded Admiral Cochrane's Royal Navy Flagship. Key successfully arranged for Dr. Beanes' release.
After the release following the British defeat, Key continued to work on his poem. On the next day, he showed it to a relative, Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson, a Fort McHenry's defender. Nicholson was so moved he immediately had broadsides of the poem printed and circulated. That poem became The Star Spangled Banner.
Francis Scott Key's law practice continued to flourish. He was three times appointed to the post of U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He was active in anti-slavery causes, advocated the establishment of public schools, negotiated a treaty in 1833 between the Creek Indians and settlers in Alabama, and was a vestryman of St. John's Church as well as a founder of Christ Church in George Town. On a trip to Baltimore in 1843, Francis Scott Key died of pneumonia on January 11 at the home of his eldest daughter, Mrs. Charles Howard. He is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery near his birthplace in Frederick, Maryland.
The high standards which guided Francis Scott Key's life continue to be an example
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • War of 1812. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #04 James Madison series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1824.
Location. 38° 54.287′ N, 77° 4.084′ W. Marker is in Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of M Street Northwest and 34th Street Northwest, on the left when traveling west on M Street Northwest. This marker is in the Francis Scott Key Park which is between M Street and the C&O Canal on the east side of the Key Bridge. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3418 M Street Northwest, Washington DC 20007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Star-Spangled Banner (here, next to this marker); Francis Scott Key Park (a few steps from this marker); An Industrial Georgetown (within shouting distance of this marker); Francis Scott Key Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Forrest Marbury House (within shouting distance of this marker); Houses With A Prospect (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Halcyon House (about 400 feet away); How High is the River? (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Georgetown.
Also see . . . Francis Scott Key. Biography at the Maryland State Archives. (Submitted on August 21, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 24, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 4,089 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on February 24, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 2. submitted on August 21, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 3. submitted on September 11, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 4. submitted on February 23, 2006, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 5. submitted on April 18, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 6, 7. submitted on August 21, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.