As smoky twilight gave way to dawn, captive Francis Scott Key penned “The Defense of Fort McHenry” offshore the port city of Baltimore in 1814.
That September morning found the flag and fort tattered but standing. Key’s poem about the “banner [that] yet wave” became the United States national anthem and Ft. McHenry became a place of citation for Pensacola history.
Randall Broxton, sponsor of the Jared Sparks Historical Society of Pensacola Junior College, commemorated the 194th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore at the first walking tour of the 08/09 season.
Multiple Pensacola brick companies were given contracts to supply brick for the building of Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas and Fort Jefferson all because Fort McHenry’s brick structure proved durable in battle.
Pensacola became the leading exporter of brick in the 1800s because of these military contracts.
Historians say that understanding the achievements of any former culture takes a series of slow and minor discoveries, adding to the foundation of our knowledge.
“It makes your life more meaningful and fulfilling the more you know about something,” said club member Dr. Bill Spain.
Professor Broxton pays close attention to details in the stories he shares. And he did so for the Dorothy Walton house in Downtown Pensacola.
Dorothy Walton, widow of Declaration of Independence signer Judge George Walton, housed President George Washington at her home in Augusta, Georgia.
Her son, acting territorial governor, George Walton Jr. had a daughter named Octavia Walton.
Octavia married Dr. Henry Levert, whose father came from France with Rochambeau and treated then General George Washington on the field during the American Revolution.
“Interesting, how history combines and becomes a tapestry for us to learn and appreciate,” Broxton said.