Virginia Anne Trotter Hennis

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Virginia Anne Trotter (Hennis)

Also Known As: "Mad Anne Bailey"
Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Death: November 22, 1825 (83)
Harrison Twp, Gallia, Ohio, United States
Place of Burial: Pt Pleasent/Tu-Endie-Wei Park, Mason, West Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Wife of Richard Trotter and John Bailey
Mother of William T Trotter

Occupation: Heroine on Kanawha Valley/school teacher
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Virginia Anne Trotter Hennis

"Mad" Anne Bailey (1742 – November 22, 1825) was a famous story teller and frontier scout who served in the fights of the American Revolutionary War and Northwest Indian War. Her single person ride in search of an urgently needed powder supply for the endangered Clendenin's Settlement (present-day Charleston, West Virginia) was used as the template for Charles Robb's 1861 poem Anne Bailey's Ride. She is known as the Heroine of the Kanawha Valley.

"Mad Anne" was born Anne Hennis in Liverpool, England. She first arrived in Shenandoah Valley of Virginia at about the age of 19. In 1765, she married a settler named Richard Trotter. He served in Lord Dunmore's War and was killed on October 10, 1774 in an encounter with the Shawnee forces led by Cornstalk at the Battle of Point Pleasant. His death was a turning point in Anne's life. She left her son William with a neighbor named Mrs. Moses Mann, then joined the militia. Anne wore buckskins while carrying rifles and similar equipment for engaging in scout services, hunting, courier work and story telling.

In 1785, Anne married John Bailey, a frontiersman and ranger. The couple moved to Clendenin's Settlement in the Great Kanawha Valley. It was here in 1791 that local Fort Lee was under heavy threat that Anne made her legendary 100 mile ride to Fort Savannah at Lewisburg for much needed ammunition. Her path was through wilderness, and she rode both directions successfully and is credited with saving Fort Lee. She remained on duty until 1795 where the Treaty of Greenville ended the Northwest Indian War.

In 1794, John Bailey was murdered near Point Pleasant, Virginia (now WV), and his will was filed in the county court that same year. After that she lived with her son but still traveled and visited friends. A few years after John Bailey's death, she traveled to Alabama, apparently to visit her stepson, Abram Bailey. When her son and his family left Virginia for Gallia County, Ohio she left with them. Until her death she continued to travel. Her remains were later moved to Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. The museum there shows several of her memorabilia with special mention of a design made from her hair.


Henry Howe wrote a history of Ohio in 1840, but he did not know of Anne Bailey. In 1888, he corrected this omission by retelling several of her stories.

Anne Bailey Elementary School in St. Albans, West Virginia, is named for "Mad Anne" Bailey.

A Daughters of the American Revolution chapter in Charleston, West Virginia is named in honor of Anne Bailey.

A lookout tower in Watoga State Park is named for Anne Bailey.


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. Hill, Frank. The True Life of Anne Bailey. 1979. Reprinted by The Gallia County Historical Society, Gallipolis, OH.

Hollis, Suzanne. "Anne Bailey" in Women Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War ( 1996. ed. by Captain Barbara A. Wilson, USAF (Ret.).

Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio. Norwalk, O.: State of Ohio, Laning Printing Co., 1888.

Laidley, W. S. History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia. Chicago, IL: Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co., 1911. pg. 81-85.

Lautenschlager, Hedda. In American National Biography, Vol. 1, pg. 874-5. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. [bibliography]

Lewis, Virgil A. Life and Times of Anne Bailey, the Pioneer Heroine of the Great Kanawha Valley. Charleston, WV: The Butler Printing Company, 1891.


Ann Hennis Trotter Bailey was born in Liverpool England in 1742. She was formally educated and learned to read and write. Both her parents had died by the time she turned 18. Bailey was poor and had a hard time earnng enough money to survive. When she was 19 she sailed to America. Some say she went to stay with relatives but other sources say that she became an indentured servant in order to pay for her trip to America. In 1765 Bailey married Richard Trotter and moved to Staunton, Va in Kanawha Valley area. As more and more people moved West, fights broke out between the settlers and the Native Americans that already lived in the area.

Trotter joined this militia and partcipated in the battle at Point Pleasant that took place October 10, 1774. This battle is known by some as the first battle of the American Revolution. The battle prevented these Native Americas from becoming allies to the British. Although the Settlers won the battle, there were massive casualties on both sides. Richard Trotter was killed.

After learning her husband had died, something in Bailey changed and she swore to avenge her husband's death. Some say this is the point when she turned "Mad". Bailey began wearing men's clothing and taught herself to shoot a gun. She volunteered her services as a scout and messenger and was adamant about doing anything she could for America's Revolution. Bailey felt a strong duty to her country and that her participation was important. She left her seven year old son with a neighbor and rode up and down the border encouraging men to volunteer their services to join the militia in order to keep the women and children of the border safe. She often traveled between Fort Savannah and Fort Randolph carrying messages back and forth. The distance between the two Forts was almost 160 miles. She knew all the paths and was highly valued. Bailey was well known and respected by all of the settlers along the route.

On her rides Bailey often came across a group of Shawnee Indians. In one such encounter, Bailey was being chased by them and about to be caught when she jumped off her horse and hid in a log. Though they looked everywhere for her and even stopped to rest on the log theycouldn't find her. They gave up and stole her horse. After they left, Bailey came out of the log and during the night snuck into their camp and stole her horse back. When she was far enough away she began to scream at the top of her lungs. The Shawnee Indians thought she was possessed and could not be touched by a bullet or arrow. After this event they saw her often, but they feared her and only watched her from afar. Therefore, Bailey was realitively safe living in the woods and did not need to fear being attacked by Indians. After several years living on herbnown Ann Bailey, who seemed to enjoy "Mad" Ann Bailey's rough ways. They were married in 1785. He was a Ranger, one of the most legendary groups of frontier scouts. In 1788, John Bailey began duty at Ft. Clendenin where there was more conflict between the settlrs and Native Americans. Ann Bailey began working for the settlrs as well androde around warning them of impending attacks. In 1791 Native Americans were planning an attack on the Fort. The militia discovered that they did not have enough gun powder to sucessfully fight the Native Americans. The ride was over 100 miles and very dangerous. When the Colonel asked for a volunteer none of the men offered so Bailey did. It is said that she rode the whole way without stopping to sleep or rest. When she reached Fort Savannah they gave her the powder and an extra horse. They also offered to get her an escort but she refused. Bailey returned a hero and was rewarded with whiskey and the horse she rode. Later a song was written bout her famous ride. She became a ledgend among the other settlers and she was always welcome in there homes.

When John Bailey died in 1802, she gave up her home and lived in the wilderness for over 20 years. She vsited friends occasionally but often slept outside. A cave near 13 mile creek was said to be a favorite place to sleep. Another story that has not been verified is that Bailey brought the first geese to Kanawha Valley. She wascontracted by Colonel William Clendenin to bring him 20 geese, no more no less or he wouldn't pay. On the way back one died so she put it in a bag and cvontinued on. When he said he wouldn't pay because there were only 19 she threw the dead goose on the ground and said, There's your 20. Bailey continued to messenger supplies for the settlers from all over. She made her last trip to Charleston in 1817, at the age of 75. In 1818, she reluctantly moved with her son to Gallia County in Ohio. Instead of asking her to stay with his family, her son built her a cabin close to his house so that she would still feel indepenedent. 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".

She died on November 22,1825 of old age and was buried in Gallia County however later her remains were moved to Point Pleasant.

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Virginia Anne Trotter Hennis's Timeline

Liverpool, England
April 27, 1767
Age 25
Augusta, Virginia, United States
November 22, 1825
Age 83
Harrison Twp, Gallia, Ohio, United States
October 10, 1901
Age 83
Pt Pleasent/Tu-Endie-Wei Park, Mason, West Virginia, United States