Saturday, October 9, 2010

Star-spangled Beanes

While Dr. William Beanes is not a direct descendant of mine, he was very close to the Marbury family and, now that I know his story, is someone I'll think about every time I hear "The Star-Spangled Banner."   

Leonard Marbury, my 6th great-grandfather, had a brother named Luke Marbury Sr. Luke Sr.'s son (and my 5th great cousin) was also named Luke and was a Colonel in the Revolutionary War.

Dr. William Beanes was Colonel Luke Marbury's first cousin on his mother's side and his close friend. When Colonel Marbury married Dr. Beanes' sister, Elizabeth, they also became brothers-in-law.

Dr. Beanes was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and married Sarah Hawkins Hanson. She was the niece of John Hanson who became the president of the First Continental Congress and therefore technically, the first President of the United States.

Colonel Marbury's granddaughter, the late Jane Contee Marbury Penn, many years later, wrote that Dr. Beanes and Colonel Marbury were devoted friends. They both engaged with the Maryland troops at The Battle of Long Island and were among the few Maryland men who escaped after the battle. They escaped by “swimming across Long Island.” Source: The Patriotic Marylander, pg. 15

Dr. Beanes played a pivotal role in the inspiring Frances Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“In 1814, when British encamped at Marlborough, on their way to Washington, the officers made their headquarters at Dr. Beanes’ house. On their return, after burning the Capitol, they learned that Dr. Beanes had headed a party which made prisoners of some of their soldiers and in revenge, they carried him away to their fleet and treated him with harshness it is said. Efforts were at once made by the friends of Dr. Beanes to effect his release and Frances Scott Key was sent to Admiral Cockburn with a flag of truce to demand release of the prisoner, who should have been treated as a non-combatant. The enemy was about to bombard Fort McHenry when Key reached the flagship. He was compelled to remain on board all night and witness the bombardment. The rest of the story is well known – how in the dawn’s early light, Key, discovering the American flag still floating over the fort was inspired to write what has become our immortal National Anthem, ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”
 Bowie, Effie, Across the Years in Prince George's County, 1947 

After his release, Dr. Beanes spent the remainder of his life on Academy Hill in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. He died there in 1828.

Dr William Beanes Grave
Dr. William Beanes on Wikipedia

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