Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mad Anne Bailey

Anne Hennis was born in Liverpool, England in the early 1740's.  As a teenager she came to America with her family who settled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.    In 1774 and during the Battle of Point Pleasant Anne's husband was killed.  She sent her 7-year old son to live with relatives and began her career as a frontier scout.  As a scout she became famous as a skilled horsewoman and earned her nickanme, "Mad Anne" as a result of her fearless work as a messenger and scout for the militia.

During the 1790's Anne was living in a remote settlement in Virginia with her second husband, John.  The settlers were beginning to farm the land and appreciated the abundant game.  It was also a time in which the natives were being pushed further and further west and there was much unrest in the area.  As a result, a series of forts were being built along the border to protect the settlers.

A messenger came one day from Point Pleasant with disturbing news that a large band of Indians were planning an attack on Fort Lee.  The settlers retreated into the fort but soon began to run out of ammunition.  Anne volunteered to ride to the next fort for the gunpowder they so desperately needed.  Outfitted in her buckskins, knife and rifle she took her horse and set out on the dangerous 100 mile ride to Fort Savannah.

She had to ride through very rough terrain and there were no roads but she did reach Fort Savannah in Lewisburg and returned back to Fort Lee in time to save the fort.  No one knew how she managed to get through the enemy lines and return safely, but somehow this gutsy woman managed what seemed to be an impossible and dangerous mission.

We salute "Mad Anne" Bailey for her courageous ride!

Read more about her ride at:  Crook, Valerie F. Historic Ride of "Mad" Anne Bailey, extracted from The History of West Virginia, Old and New, Vol. I, pg. 99-100, by James Morton Callahan, 1923.