The Legacy of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’: The Anthem & the Flag That Inspired It

O say are you able to see, by the daybreak’s early gentle

What so proudly we hailed on the twilight’s final gleaming?

These phrases have been filling the hearts of United States residents with satisfaction, braveness, and gratitude for hundreds of years. Troopers have sung them earlier than dashing into battle; kids have sung them, hand over coronary heart, beside their desks at college; and the voices of hundreds have joined as one to sing them at live shows, sporting occasions, and ceremonies.

Who wrote these highly effective and evocative lyrics, and what impressed them?

The MyHeritage Analysis staff investigated the legacy of “The Star-Spangled Banner” — and located dwelling descendants of each the person who wrote the U.S. nationwide anthem and the lady who made the flag it celebrates.

Francis Scott Key and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’

Francis Scott Key was born in Terra Rubra, Frederick County (now known as Carroll County), Maryland, in 1779. He grew to become a profitable lawyer and was ultimately appointed U.S. legal professional of the District of Columbia.

Through the Warfare of 1812, one in every of Francis’s buddies, Dr. William Beanes, was taken prisoner by the British. Francis discovered the ship the place his good friend was being held in Chesapeake Bay, and efficiently negotiated his launch. Nevertheless, as a result of the boys had overheard the British as they deliberate their imminent assault on Fort McHenry, the British refused to allow them to depart earlier than the battle was fought. So Francis and William have been compelled to take a seat there and watch from behind enemy traces as their very own troopers have been mercilessly bombarded by British forces for 25 hours.

“It appeared as if mom earth had opened and was vomiting shot and shell in a sheet of fireside and brimstone,” Francis later wrote. As darkness fell, all he may see was “the rockets’ purple glare.” As a result of the British assault was so forceful, he was positive he would see the Union Jack flying over Fort McHenry the subsequent morning.

However as September 14th dawned and the smoke cleared, Frances noticed the previous Stars and Stripes nonetheless raised over the fort. The sight of that flag is what impressed him to jot down the poem that later grew to become the nationwide anthem of america.

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was initially revealed within the Baltimore Patriot newspaper beneath the title “The Protection of Fort M’Henry” and contained 4 verses. It was picked up by extra newspapers throughout the nation and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Later, it was set to music, and the primary verse was adopted because the U.S. nationwide anthem on March 3, 1931.

Tracing a descendant of Francis Scott Key

The MyHeritage Analysis staff delved into the data to find any dwelling descendants of Francis Scott Key.

We discovered Alice Pendleton, Francis Scott’s daughter, within the 1860 census, listed along with her husband George, their kids Frank, Jane, and Mary, and two different kids, James and Alice.

The 1860 census containing a report of Francis Scott Key’s daughter and grandchildren

James and Alice have been possible the orphaned kids of Philip Barton Key, additionally a baby of Francis, who — in keeping with a report we discovered — was murdered in Washington on February 27, 1859:

Article in The Boston Courier asserting the homicide of Philip Barton Key. Courtesy of the MyHeritage Newspaper collections

Sadly, Alice herself was killed in a carriage accident in New York 7 years later, and her daughter, Jane, was severely injured.

Article in The Boston Publish concerning the accident that killed Alice Pendleton, daughter of Francis Scott Key. Courtesy of the MyHeritage newspaper assortment

We discovered Jane 24 years later within the 1910 Census listed along with her husband, Arthur Brice, and their kids, Arthur, Alice, and Julia.

Then, we discovered Jane’s daughter Alice within the 1930 U.S. Census along with her husband John Forsyth Joline II and their two sons, John Forsyth Joline III and Laurence T. Joline. The report states that John II was a bonds salesman in an funding firm.

1930 U.S. Census report from the MyHeritage collections

From there, it was just some extra steps to John III’s daughter, Helen, and her son, Eric Michael Sirois: Francis Scott Key’s direct descendant at present dwelling in Charleston, North Carolina.

Eric Michael Sirois, 4th great-grandson of Francis Scott Key

“We knew since we have been kids that the person who wrote the nationwide anthem is our ancestor,” Eric instructed us. “My grandmother used to inform us about him, and we all the time felt proud… She made a handwritten household tree that confirmed how we’re associated to him. Every time the topic got here up in dialog with buddies, it was all the time thrilling to say that we’re his descendants.”

“Each time I hear the nationwide anthem I really feel so proud,” he provides. “It’s neat!”

Whose broad stripes and vibrant stars? Mary Younger Pickersgill’s

Who made the flag that Francis Scott Key noticed “gallantly streaming” over the ramparts of Fort McHenry that fateful morning?

Within the fashionable age, after we see a flag waving, we don’t give a second thought to the place it got here from: it was in all probability mass-produced at a manufacturing facility someplace. However again in 1812, all flags utilized in battle have been hand-stitched. The flag that impressed “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sewn by an individual: Mary Younger Pickersgill.

Mary Younger Pickersgill (probably the one on the correct) and her sister, Hannah Fearson. Picture enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage picture instruments

Flag-making was apparently a practice in Mary’s household. Based on this text in The Boston Herald, revealed in 1932, Mary’s mom Rebecca made the primary American flag to be flown in battle throughout the Revolutionary Warfare.

Article from The Boston Herald. Courtesy of the MyHeritage newspaper collections

“Story of ‘mom’ and ‘grandmother’ of ‘star-spangled banner’ which impressed our nationwide anthem,” reads the headline.

“Rebecca Younger… made the primary American flag for Washington — the Grand Union flag beneath which he led the military besieging the British in Boston… her daughter, Mary Younger Pickersgill… made the battle flag that impressed Key to jot down ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’” the article explains.

It was no small feat, both: the flag was 36 toes lengthy.

“When the revolution ended, Rebecca Younger was a widow,” the article goes on. “When the Warfare of 1812 started, Mary was a widow too, and had a daughter of her personal. The three of them have been dwelling collectively in a purple brick home down by the waterfront in Baltimore, and it was Mary now who was the flag maker.’”

The article mentions Mary’s daughter, Caroline Purdy. We discovered a letter Caroline wrote to the son of Colonel Armistead, who commissioned the flag, which was revealed in The Boston Globe in 1877.

Caroline’s letter revealed in The Boston Globe. Courtesy of the MyHeritage newspaper assortment

“The flag was made by my mom, Mrs. Mary Pickersgill, and I assisted her,” Caroline wrote. “My grandmother, Rebecca Younger, made the primary flag of the Revolution, beneath Normal Washington’s path, and for that reason my mom was chosen by Commodore Barry and Normal Stricker, household connections, to make this star-spangled banner, which she did, being an exceedingly patriotic girl.”

Caroline goes on to explain the arduous course of of stitching the flag: “The flag being so very massive my mom was obliged to acquire permission from Claggitt’s brewery, which was in our neighborhood, to unfold it out of their malt home, and I bear in mind seeing my mom down on the ground putting the celebrities. After the completion of the flag, she superintendent the topping of it, having it fixed in essentially the most safe method to forestall its being torn away throughout the engagement, many photographs piercing it, however nonetheless remained kind to the workers. Your father, Colonel Armistead, declared that none however the maker of the flag ought to mend it, and requested that the rents must be merely certain round. The flag contained, I believe, 400 yards of bunting, and my mom labored many nights till 12 o’clock to finish it.”

Tracing a dwelling descendant of Mary Younger Pickersgill

Sadly, Caroline died widowed and childless. Nevertheless, we have been in a position to hint a dwelling descendant of Mary’s sister Hannah.

First, we discovered Hannah’s census report from 1850. It data her dwelling in Baltimore along with her daughter, Hannah Ely, age 40, and her grandson Jesse Ely, 14. The census states that the worth of their actual property was $2500, which is the same as round $86,000 in in the present day’s foreign money:

Then, we discovered this text asserting the marriage of Jesse’s daughter, Adele Louis Ely, to Walter Scott Carswell in June 1898:

Wedding ceremony announcement of Adele Louis Ely and Walter Scott Carswell within the Baltimore American and Industrial Advertiser, 1898. Courtesy of the MyHeritage newspaper collections

Within the 1910 census, we discovered Walter and Adele dwelling with their kids, Adele and Lois. The report states that Walter was a doctor (common follow).

1910 U.S. Census itemizing Walter and Alice

And that led us to Lois’s son, Jack Gilman Hinds, after which to his daughter, Grace Hinds Grinnell, who at present lives in Connecticut.

Grace Hinds Grinnell, 4th great-niece of Mary Younger Pickersgill

“My mother and father used to volunteer on the Flag Home in Baltimore — which was Mary’s home,” Grace instructed us. “As a baby I bear in mind reciting the Pledge of Allegiance there. After I was youthful I all the time simply assumed that Auntie Mary was the equal to everybody’s uncle Sam, and that it was everybody’s Auntie Mary. Solely after I grew up a bit extra, I got here to know that it was my Auntie Mary.”

The flag Grace’s 4th-great-aunt made is at present on show on the Smithsonian Institute, and Grace says she not too long ago took her youngsters to see it. “Trying on the sheer dimension of it made me understand what an unlimited endeavour it should have been to work on that laid out on the ground of a bar, on one’s palms and knees,” she says. “It’s one thing I hadn’t absolutely appreciated after I was small.”

Grace’s ancestor’s appreciable efforts paid off. Her creation went down in historical past because the sight that introduced hope to a younger lawyer from Maryland caught behind enemy traces, and impressed him to jot down what would turn into one of many world’s best-known nationwide anthems.

What inspiring feats did your personal ancestors accomplish? Begin constructing your loved ones tree in the present day and discover out.

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