Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Thursday, November 22, 2018

"Mad Anne" Bailey and the Revolutionary War

Anne Hennis Bailey, Scout and Courier in the American Revolution (died 22 November 1825)

Born in 1742, Anne Hennis emigrated to the colony of Virginia in 1761, after the death of her parents, probably arriving as an indentured servant. Settling in the Shenandoah Valley (where she may have had family), she married the British soldier and frontiersman Richard Trotter in 1765, with whom she had a son, William.

 A drawing of Anne Bailey, frontispiece,
Virgil A. Lewis's Life and Times of Anne Bailey,
the Pioneer Heroine . . .
"copied from Historical Collections of Ohio"
Richard Trotter was a member of the Virginia militia and fought in Lord Dunsmore's War, a conflict between the colony and the Shawnee and Mingo native peoples--Trotter was killed at the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. 

After her husband's death, Anne Hennis Trotter left their son with neighbors and joined the Virginia militia herself. Clad in a mixture of men's and women's clothing--buckskin leggings and a man's coat and hat but still wearing petticoats--she became "Mad Anne," working as a scout and courier while also recruiting for the militia.

Once the war for independence began, Anne Hennis Trotter also served as a recruiter, messenger, and spy for the continental army.

She married again, in 1784. Her husband, John Bailey, was also a frontiersman and scout. The two relocated to Clendenin's Settlement, now Charleston, West Virginia. Anne Bailey continued to go on patrols for the militia, and she also carried messages between various settlements.

In 1791, when Fort Lee was under attack by Native Americans, and supplies, especially gunpowder, were running low, Anne Bailey made a daring ride--she traveled by horseback 100 miles to Fort Savannah in order to secure supplies. She made the round trip (200 miles) in three days, returning with gunpowder. She is credited with having saved Fort Lee and its defenders.

After she was widowed again in 1794, Anne Bailey continued her restless move west, dying in Ohio in 1825. At the time of her death, she was eighty-three years old.

Memorial for Anne Bailey,
Tu-Endie-Wei State Park
(also known as Battle Monument State Park)
 Point Pleasant, Mason County, West Virginia;image posted at Find a Grave

About "Mad Anne" Bailey, the online History of American Women notes:
In 1823, Ann Bailey was interviewed by Anne Royall, a local reporter. When speaking of her adventures and bravery she said, "I always carried an ax and auger, and I could chop as well as any man. . . . I trusted in the Almighty. . . . I knew I could only be killed once, and I had to die sometime."
You might enjoy Virgil A. Lewis's 1891 The Life and Times of Anne Bailey, the Pioneer Heroine, which you can read at Google Books (click here). Surprisingly, for the source I love to hate, there is a brief entry for this "American scout" in the Encyclopedia Britannica.