Francis Scott Key

Portrayed by Doug Thomas

Maryland born Lawyer and author Francis Scott Key was engaged in negotiations regarding the release of American soldiers aboard the HMS Tonnant during the Battle of Baltimore. After dinner aboard the ship. Key was refused permission to leave in order to return to his own ship because it was believed that he had attained specific knowledge about the British fleet’s position and strength. Thus being stranded, he was unable to do anything but watch, as the British began their assault on Fort McHenry in September of 1814. While returning to Baltimore, the images of the battle still fresh in his mind, he penned the poem “Defence of Fort McHenry” which later became adopted as our National Anthem in 1916.

Later in life he became a US District Attorney, and used his position to silence the anti-slavery movement. His position was that abolitionists were attempting foment rebellion and that statements by abolitionists asserting that there was no “mercy or justice” for the colored people of the area were “intended to injure, oppress, aggrieve, and vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates and constables” of Washington.

Doug Thomas is a professional actor with over 2 decades of experience. Local credits include The Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Vagabond Theatre and others. He has been immersed in historical interpretation for over 15 years. Other characters in his repertoire include Meriwether Lewis, William Penn, John Paul Jones, Patrick Henry and a young Governor Livingston. He regularly performs at Independence Hall.