In 1812, the Hayes family lived in Maryland. Taxes were being collected by the government for the war effort. A man came around from the government and collected a very large estate tax, which left the family nearly penniless until the next harvest. A few weeks later, a second man appeared with government credentials, and informed all the local gentry that the first one had been a con-man, and had taken all of their money and disappeared out west.

Because they had no funds left to pay the actual government tax, the estate was now forfeit to the government. The family asked their next door neighbor to make a special appeal to the U.S. Congress to request that they could stay on the farm property until the patriarch of the family passed away. The gracious next-door neighbor who made this successful appeal to Congress was Francis Scott Key. 


After the family patriarch passed away, the farm was sold and the slaves were sold (yes, to my everlasting shame, my family were slaveholders). One elderly slave remained with the family as they moved out to the Midwest. His name was Ned, and he is buried in the family plot with the rest of my family in Illinois. I do not know if I am named after him, but I would like to think so.


True family story!