Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Search Challenge (3/23/16): What's the unexpected connection between these two?

Unexpected connections

I love finding the unexpected connections that link things together.  I loved that book Connections by James Burke (still highly recommended, both as a book and for the videos), and the ways in which connections can be found between animals, plants, ecosystems, and people. 

We've talked about these kinds of discovered connections before (example: about a femme fatale and an executive chef), so you know how I feel.  

I really enjoy finding these unexpected discoveries about people. 

So you can imagine my delight when I accidentally discovered the connection between the two people depicted in the images below.  The pictures themselves were wonderful moments when I literally ran across these sites at two very disparate locations (yes, I took these images while running through these two locations on different dates).  

It turns out that these two gentlemen had dinner together once upon a time.  

But the remarkable thing is that they were sworn enemies at the time.  

And that delightfully discovered connection leads to today's Challenge:  

1.  Who are these two gentlemen? 
2.  When / where / why did they have dinner together?  
3.  And why is the night of their dinner such a memorable event?  

Can you figure this one out?  

I certainly had no idea that they'd dined together, let alone on date that would go down in history.  What was it about that one evening that left such an impression?

Let us know how you figured it out!  

Search on! 

(Note that I've given you two images of the gravestone.  It was difficult to get a clear shot of the writing, especially while running, so I'm giving you two different views of the same thing to help out in the decoding.)  
Be sure to click on the images to get the full resolution versions.  


  1. This is fun!

    1) So, who are these people? The gravestone/marker was tough to read but realized it was for Major General Robert Ross. A quick search brings up his Wiki page ( Served in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Famous for the Burning of Washington. To confirm this was the same guy, I found the date on the marker 9/12/1814 and searched for that and Baltimore, which is given before the date. That brought me to the Battle of North Point. The Wiki entry mentions that the Brits were led by Ross. So he is the first person. By the way, that marker is his tomb up in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    The second involved me using the coordinates which led me to the Francis Scott Key Park in Washington, DC. Google Images and Yelp confirm that the bust is of Francis Scott Key.

    2 & 3) When, where and why did they have dinner? Why is this important/memorable? A simple search of the two names leads to Key's Wiki page. Within that article, there is this:

    "During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by the British Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of three British officers: Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross."

    They were there to negotiate the release of some prisoners. They were not allowed to leave because they, I guess, knew too much about the British positioning/strengths! Key watched as the Brits bombarded Fort McHenry which later inspired the poem Defence of Fort M'Henry which later became the Star Spangled Banner. This all happened on 9/12-13 of 1814, the date on Ross' tomb.

    I wanted to confirm all of this so looked back at my results which provided this great website The Man Who Captured Washington ( which gives the same story. Fascinating stuff!

  2. Hello!

    I looked for Robert Ross and I found the Wikipedia page:

    Then, having learnt that he was a general, I looked for "robert ross general dinner" and the first Google result was this one:

    Here, I learnt that a member of Ross' British force, Mr. George Gleig, wrote memories about a battle which took place in Washington. Part of the memories are transcribed in this page, and he speaks about a dinner in a house, which soldiers found and ate. As he describes this, I guess Mr Gleig must have been there.

    I have thus looked for "George Gleig" in Google images, and by comparing his portraits with the picture of the statue I guess it must be him which it represents.

    So: 1. These 2 people are Robert Ross and George Gleig, british soldiers fighting the American army in 1814
    2. thay had dinner together because the soldiers found a ready-to-eat magnificent dinner in a sacked house, and as they were hungry they ate it
    3. the night of their dinner is the same of the British burning of Washington DC (actually, the dinner took place during the British burning)

    Have a nice day! :)

  3. Good day, Dr. Russell and everyone.

    From photo 2: Major General Robert Ross. Searched with Google Image 3 and later added "general Robert Ross" trying to find the other gentleman. This didn't work but found other good images as for example, the place in which General was killed. Later, tried again Search with image photo 3 with correct words (bust granite pillar) before tried statue, marble and column for example) and found the image.

    [general Robert Ross gravestone] to verify

    Photo 3 with pic2map. Washington D.C. Francis Scott Key Park. Tried to find monument with filters and adding words. Failed. So next, tried Exif Data.

    [Francis Scott Key statue]
    [Francis Scott Key gravestone Washington D.C.] images

    [Francis Scott Key park statue]

    Bust is a primary design feature of the park commemorating Francis Scott Key and the Star Spangled Banner.

    [General Robert Ross famous dinner]

    [General "Robert Ross" around(4) "Francis Scott key"]

    Fort McHenry, At the Twilight’s Last Gleaming

    Ross and the Star Spangled Banner

    Little wonder that such a location inspired C.S.Lewis' Narnia. Another Connection.

    ["Francis Scott key"]

    More Connections

    ["Robert Ross" diner ""Francis Scott key"]

    Why did Francis Scott Key Write The Star Spangled Banner

    [Francis Scott key diner Dr Beanes]

    On the 7th they found and boarded the TONNANT


    1. Who are these two gentlemen?

    Major- General Robert Ross: participated in the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812
    And, Francis Scott Key who wrote the lyrics to the United States' National Anthem

    2. When / where / why did they have dinner together?

    Francis Scott key boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 1814 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane. They had been negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr Beanes

    3. And why is the night of their dinner such a memorable event?

    Francis Scott key got inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner

  4. is serendipity a form of kismet?
    HMS Tonnant
    1888 - 1st memorial to FSK…on the West coast
    many are wandering the park
    …even without aircraft, the old boys got around…
    "This monument to Francis Scott Key was commissioned by San Francisco businessman James Lick, who donated $60,000 for the sculpture. Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner after witnessing the shelling of Fort McHenry on September 13, 1814. James Lick was also in Baltimore during the shelling, which is most likely the reason for the bequest."
    Key/Lick connection
    our old friend, Mr. Lick

    wiki:"War of 1812
    Tonnant joined the War of 1812 late. She was fitted for sea in the first quarter of 1814, being recommissioned in January under Captain Alexander Skene. In October Captain Charles Kerr assumed command as Tonnant served as the flagship for Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane during most of the campaign in Chesapeake Bay. From her he directed attacks on Washington, D.C. and Baltimore.
    Star Spangled Banner
    It was aboard Tonnant that the Americans, Colonel John Stuart Skinner and Francis Scott Key dined with Vice Admiral Cochrane, Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross, where they negotiated the release of a prisoner, Dr. William Beanes. After his release, Skinner, Key and Beanes were allowed to return to their own sloop, but were not allowed to return to Baltimore because they had become familiar with the strength and position of British units and knew of the British intention to attack Baltimore. As a result, Key witnessed the bombarding of Fort McHenry and was inspired to write a poem called Defence of Fort M'Henry, later named The Star Spangled Banner. During the bombardment, Erebus provided the "rockets red glare" whilst Meteor provided at least some of the "bombs bursting in air" that feature in the lyrics.
    The body of Major General Robert Ross
    After Major General Robert Ross's death in the Battle of North Point, his body was stored in a barrel of 129 gallons (586 l) of Jamaican rum aboard Tonnant. When she was diverted to New Orleans for the forthcoming battle (see above), the body was later shipped on the British ship Royal Oak to Halifax, Nova Scotia where his body was interred on 29 September 1814 in the Old Burying Ground."

    "Tonnant was paid off into ordinary in November 1818. She was broken up at Plymouth in March 1821."
    in action, different location
    related tune…
    a recent rendition… what would FSK think? also near the 'Plex

  5. General Robert Ross was easy to identify by looking at the full resolution version of the tombstone photo. I tried a Google image search for the statue/bust but nothing turned up, so I searched Google maps using the GPS coordinates of the photo, which turned out to have been taken in Francis Scott Key Park, and represents Francis Scott Key. I did a Google web search for [robert ross francis scott key] and scanned the results list. The second result, with the title "Ross and the Star Spangled Banner...." and URL contained the information that "Key dined with General Ross and other British officers" on board a Royal navy ship to negotiate for the release of an American prisoner and that evening witnessed the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, which inspired him to write the "Star Spangled Banner".

  6. 1. Who are these two gentlemen?
    Robert Ross and Francis SCott Key

    2. When / where / why did they have dinner together?
    13 Spetember 1814 aboard HMS Tonnant to try to secure release of Dr William Beanes

    3. And why is the night of their dinner such a memorable event?
    THe next morning Scott penned his soon to be famous lyrics

    statue is in Francis Scott Key Park: 3428 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007, USA [jeffery's]

    Robert Ross stone is in 1460 Barrington St, Halifax, NS B3J, Canada; old burying ground [jeffery's]

    ["Robert ross" "Francis Scott Key" dinner]

    The Woodyard

    Francis Scott Key was also the West family’s attorney and Dr. William Beanes was the family’s doctor. When Beanes was arrested by the British, Richard West asked Francis Scott Key to assist in his release.

    The Man Who Captured Washington: Major General Robert Ross and the War of 1812 by John McCavitt et al

    Key and Skinner were on a white flag truce mission to the British to work out an exchange of prisoners, including Beane, were hosted at dinner by Vice Admiral Cochrane ane and Major General RObert Ross, on board HMS Tonnant. The four men had dinner together and the British discussed their battle plans. Key and Skinner were detained overnight while the fort at Baltimore--McHenry-- was shelled all night. Key looked out in the morning and was delighted to find the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry. This morning after the night before inspired lawyer Key to pen on the back of a letter the immortal words of what would known as the Star Spangled Banner. He never explained how the poem/lyrics came to him. But British use of rockets is certainly noted.

    Moved to write during the fort's heroic defense, he composed the words to an old drinking song entitled To Anacreon in Heaven. Initially published after the battle as the Defense of Fort McHenry, it eventually became known as the Star-Spangled Banner and was made the National Anthem of the United States.

  7. — some additional search & self amusements… to flesh things out a bit
    interesting connections/germination/cross-pollenation of personalities and agendas to produce the National Anthem…
    do have to say The D.C. bust of FSK is rather homely - imho - although I do like the way they worked the traffic signal in
    as a stand-in for "the rocket's red glare"… intentional, I'm sure… anyway, much prefer the depiction in Golden Gate Park…
    seems a bit more fitting of the contribution, again, imho.
    red light/polleNation
    see large, worth checking the detail
    roof over his head

    the troubles
    "My interest in the Ross obelisk on the shores of Carlingford Lough was stimulated even more when I moved to Rostrevor in 1988 to live within a virtual ‘stone’s throw’ from the ‘monument’. Sadly, during the Troubles in Northern Ireland the obelisk has lain neglected. The history of the Ross family in Rostrevor, as it happens, transcends the traditional political divide. Descending from a Scottish commissioner for the Plantation of Ulster, family descendants ultimately converted to catholicism, with the family providing funding for facilities in the local church."
    SERP for "the Troubles" see eu·phe·mism/ˈyo͞ofəˌmizəm/
    Ross background
    "spot" where Ross went down
    our monuments… scroll down to "the Dreamer's" portion of the tale… we understand little of our past and care even less…
    poignant - "How beautiful is death, when earn'd by virtue! Who would not be that youth? What pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country!"

    the historical and the cinematographic
    WH burned - great details, audio & visual nuggets - Ross gets a mention
    at least it was 'just' the British and not aliens… illegal or otherwise…
    (see clip, Independence Day (1996))

    a view from Japan: "Americans may have forgotten the War of 1812, one joke goes, but the British never knew it was fought in the first place."
    (WaPo via The Japan Times - check image of the obelisk)

  8. 1)Who are these two gentlemen?
    Major General Robert Ross (The name on Tombstone) & Francis Scott Key ( Coordinates and Google street view gave me the exact image and the person)

    2)When / where / why did they have dinner together?

    When -Sep 7, 1814
    Where - Aboard British Flagship HMS Tonnant
    Why - They were negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr Beanes.

    These were all simple search across few sites [francis scott key robert ross dinner]

    3. And why is the night of their dinner such a memorable event?

    I couldn't find anything for this particular night(sep 7 1814) except they agreeing to release Dr Beanes and Francis scott along with Skinner held captive as they had heared the plans for the attack on Baltimore.

  9. In addition to the dinner I kept thinking there was supposed to be another connection between the two men. I discovered that Francis Scott Key was the son of John Ross Key (1754)son of Ann Arnold Ross (1727) daughter of John Ross (1705) but I was never able to find a family history of Robert Ross that matched the names/dates or showed a broader family history that might have tied the two together.