Key, Francis Scott(American, 1779-1843)
Francis Scott Key was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who is most famously remembered for writing the words to 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 a prisoner, 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 allowed to return to their own sloop, but were not allowed to return to Baltimore because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and of the British intention 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. On the way back to Baltimore, he was inspired to write a poem describing his experience, The Defense of Fort McHenry, which he published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814. 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.

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