Anne Arnold Phoebe Charlton Key was born on 13 June 1783 in Frederick County, Maryland. She was described as beautiful, with a "bright mind and womanly graces." On a visit to Annapolis, Maryland, her brother, Francis Scott Key, introduced her to a friend of his from law school - a young lawyer named Roger Brooke Taney. Roger soon moved to Frederick and began courting Anne. She and Roger married on 7 June 1806 at Terra Rubra, her parents' plantation, located north of Toms Creek in Frederick County, Maryland. Anne was Anglican and Roger was a devout Roman Catholic. They reconciled religious differences by agreeing that their sons would be raised as Catholics, and their daughters as Anglicans.
Anne gave birth to seven children:
Anne and Roger maintained close ties with Anne's family. They enjoyed frequent family reunions with her brother's family and her parents, John Ross Key and Anna Charlton Key, at Terra Rubra. In the summer, the Taney family would sometimes retreat to the country to visit Anne's cousin, Arthur Shaaff. He was a leader of the Frederick Bar who lived in Arcadia, Maryland, a short distance from Frederick.
They maintained close ties with Roger's family as well. Roger's mother moved in with them during the War of 1812, and remained with them until she died in 1814.
In 1814, Francis Key and his family resided in Georgetown. Francis was a volunteer in the Light Artillery during the War of 1812, serving to defend the capital following the British burning of Washington, DC and the subsequent the raid on Alexandria, Virginia in August 1814. His wife, Polly, refused to leave their home while her husband was in danger. Believing that the British would make a marauding attack on Georgetown, Anne was very anxious about the fate of her brother’s family. She was concerned that by remaining in Georgetown, his family would be placed in great and useless peril. She asked her husband to go to Georgetown and persuade her sister-in-law to come away with her children and stay with them in Frederick, or with her parents at Terra Rubra. A few days after Roger reached Georgetown, Francis left on a mission approved by President James Madison to procure the release of Dr. William Beanes, who had been captured by the British. Polly and their children returned to Frederick with Roger, and then went on to Terra Rubra, where they remained until Francis returned.
Anne and Roger lived in Frederick, Maryland for 17 years, and this is where her first six children were born. Her only son, Augustus, died before he was three years old in 1818. In 1823, the family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. Her youngest daughter, Alice was born there in 1827 - the same year that her husband was appointed Attorney-General of Maryland.
Anne and Roger had a very long and happy marriage. Roger wrote to her frequently when he was away from home on business. In his many letters he shared with her the details of his public business, his belief in God, and his loneliness when away from her and his children. On their 46th wedding anniversary, Roger wrote her the following letter:
I cannot, my dearest wife, suffer the 7th of January to pass without renewing to you the pledges of love which I made to you on the 7th of January forty-six years ago. And although I am sensible that in that long period I have done many things that I ought not to have done, yet in constant affection to you I have never wavered – never being insensible how much I owe to you – and now pledge to you again a love as true and sincere as I offered on the 7th of January, 1806, and ever shall be
Anne died in Baltimore County, Maryland on 29 September 1855 from complications of a stroke. Her youngest daughter, Alice, died the next day from yellow fever.
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