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History

Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was born in Frederick County, Maryland to a wealthy family on the plantation of Terra Rubra. He was educated at home until the age of 10 and then attended an Annapolis grammar school. He went on to study at St. John's College, ultimately returning to his home county to set up practice as a lawyer.

Key married Mary "Polly" Taylor Lloyd in the early 1800s. The couple had 11 children. By 1805, Key had set up his legal practice in Georgetown, then in an independent municipality within the Washington, D.C. area. Key later witnessed the British attack on Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The fort withstood the day-long assault, inspiring Key to write a poem that would become the future U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." Key later served as a district attorney for Washington, D.C. before he died on January 11, 1843.

Francis Scott Key