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Relatives in History

I keep seeing sponsored link stories at the bottom of some of the Internet news articles that I read. I think it’s a marketers method to grab my attention while I click to some “informational item” that is usually more gossip than newsworthy.  Do you see the same stories?

These usually appear under some kind of entertainment subject matter.  Sometimes it’s an article that tempts me to click and learn about “celebrities with the highest IQs” or “Movies that will make you want to travel”. Usually, I’m not tempted too much by those titles. I even get irritated with titles that include “jaw dropping” in the headline.

I did see one that caused me to click. The title was something like “Did you know that these celebrities are related”. I think I clicked on that one and also the one that discussed who was related to Abraham Lincoln… but that’s just me!

That brings me to the relatives of Francis Scott Key, the author of The Star Spangled Banner. Because of him, we remember the rockets red glare! He also made some history as a lawyer, both as U.S. Attorney and as a private lawyer.  It’s worth clicking on his story here. But,  I am trying to keep this blog short and to the point, instead of where I seem to be taking it… toward Key’s law practice.

So, let me get back to the point of this blog, to write about those of significant historical significance who are related to Francis Scott Key. It would be like seeing a story at the bottom of this blog as a sponsored link that might ask something like “Your jaw will drop when you see Key’s relative“. Or something like that. Then you would click on it and your jaw would not drop.

However, I wrote all of the above to say… here are the relatives for the blog:

First, he was distantly related to F. Scott Fitzgerald (famous novelist including author of The Great Gatsby)

As a horrible historical side note, Key’s son was shot and killed by U.S. Congressman Daniel Sickles.

Another historical relative was  Roger B. Taney, who Scott’s sister had married. Taney would later become Chief Justice of the United States U.S. Supreme Court. The significance in that was that Justice Taney wrote the historical opinion in the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857). (Story) An important case about slavery.

On one hand, Scott had previously argued cases on behalf of freeing slaves, and had written our National Anthem. Now his Supreme Court Justice relative was writing an opinion that would certainly have provided some curious family dinner conversation.

Among legal scholars, the Dred Scott opinion has been called the worst decision ever rendered by the Supreme Court. A ruling that determined that a slave (Dred Scott) who resided in a free state where there was no slavery,  could not be a free man. According to the Court, Africans/blacks were not and never could be citizens of the United States. They were merely property.

The Supreme Court, with that language, helped to ultimately fuel the Civil War.


And finally, my mom in on a roll. She sent me this pic o’ day last night that got me!


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