Anne Bailey

by Virgil A. Lewis

The Magazine of History, With Notes and Queries, Vol. XI, No. 3, March 1910

All that was earthly of Anne Bailey, the Pioneer heroine of the Great Kanawha Valley, that has not crumbled to dust, has been removed to Point Pleasant and re-interred in Tu-Endie-Wei Park. It is, therefore, now time to eliminate from the story of her wonderful career and life of adventure, as scout and messenger, everything of a mythical, legendary, fabulous and fanciful character, and to learn to know the real narrative - the truth - regarding that record female heroism which has no parallel in the annals of the Border Wars. The keeping of her grave is now in care of the Colonel Charles Lewis Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and they must answer a thousand questions regarding her whose bones they keep. Anne Bailey was herself a Daughter of the Revolution, a real one, who served her country faithfully and well when that struggle was in progress. Then this western border was the "Back Door of the Revolution," and the men and women who kept back from it the savage allies of Great Britain were the "Rear Guard of the Revolution." Anne Bailey was one of these; and the school children should be able to tell to the thousands who will henceforth visit her tomb, the real story of her life.

The following facts obtained from Border annals, from official records, and from persons who knew her, will help them to do this.

1742. Anne Bailey, whose maiden name was Hennis, was born in Liverpool, England, the home of her father, who in early life had been wounded at the battle of Blenheim, while serving under Marlborough. She was named for Queen Anne.

1747. When five years of age her mother took her to London to visit relatives, and for the first time and probably the last, she saw the splendors of the British capital. While there she witnessed the execution, April 9, of Lord Lovat on a charge of treason.

1748 to 1760. She resided in Liverpool and attended school in that city.

1761. Both parents were dead and she was alone in a great city. This year she crossed the Atlantic to join her relatives, the Bells, who had emigrated to Virginia some years before. A journey over the Blue Ridge brought her to their home near Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley.

1765. She wedded Richard Trotter, who had been at Braddock's defeat and was prominent in border wars. Representatives of his family still reside in the Shenandoah Valley.

1774. One the 10th day of October, her husband was killed in the battle of Point Pleasant.

1774 to 1785. Eleven years of widowhood. When she heard of the death of her husband a strange wild dream seemed to possess her, and she vowed revenge on the Indian race. Having matured her plans she submitted them to Mrs. Moses Mann, then residing in Augusta, but afterward in Bath county. She approved them and gave a home to Anne's orphan son. It was now that Anne Bailey abandoned that home life that had once been so dear to her, and entered upon that military career which has made her name famous for all time. Clad in the male costume of the border, with rifle in hand, she attended the militia musters and urged men to go to war against the Indians in defense of hopeless women and children; or to enlist in the Continental army and fight the British. Then she became messenger and scout, going from one frontier post to another, thus continuing that carrer of female heroism which made her name a familiar one to the pioneers.

1785. She was again united in marriage, this time to John Bailey, a distinguished border leader of southwest Virginia. He had assisted in carrying Colonel Charles Lewis off the field when fatally wounded at the battle of Point Pleasant. Rev. John McCue was the officiating clergyman. (See Marriage Record, No. 1 p. 7, in the County Clerk's office at Lewisburg.)

1788. She went with her husband to Fort Lee, which was built by the Clendenins that year on the present site of the city of Charleston, the capital of West Virginia. The husband was a member of the garrison, and she served as messenger between Fort Lee and Fort Randolph, at Point Pleasant.

1791. She made her famous ride from Fort Lee to Fort Savannah at Lewisburg, to secure a supply of powder for the garrison of the former place when it was besieged by the Indians. Having obtained this she returned and thus saved the garrison and other inmates from death at savage hands. The distance between the two forts was more than a hundred miles, and the whole of it was a wilderness road.

1800. Her son William, grown to full manhood, took Mary Cooper (whose home was on the farm now owned by George Pullins, Esq., on the Kanawh river about nine miles above Point Pleasant), in a canoe, to Gallipolis, where they were united in marriage, the first Virginians married in the old French town. (See records of Gallia county, Ohio.)

1802. Her husband, John Bailey, died and was buried on the Joseph Carroll farm, fifteen miles above Charleston, on an eminence overlooking the beautiful Kanawha, and there he now reposes. A second time Anne Bailey was a widow, and she went to live with her son William Trotter. She rode back and forth from Point Pleasant to Lewisburg and Staunton, acting in the capacity of letter carrier and express messenger, and was thus employed for several years.

1817. She made her last visit to Charleston, and there and in that vicinity spent the summer of that year.

1818. She removed with her son to Harrison township, Gallia county, Ohio, he having sold his farm on the Kanawha about three miles above Point Pleasant, the preceding year, to William Sterrett; the consideration being fourteen hundred dollars, current money of Virginia. (See Records, Mason County Clerk's Office.)

1820. About this time she was a frequent visitor at Gallipolis where she was ever a welcome visitor in the homes of the old French settlers of that place. Her home was nine miles away, but she was in the habit of walking the whole distance.

1825. November 22, she died suddenly, at night, while sleeping with her two little grandchildren, one of whom, the aged Mrs. Willey, still (1908) lives at Gallipolis. For seventy-six years her remains reposed in the Trotter graveyard in the vicinty in which she lived, her grave being kept green by her descendants.

1901. The members of the Point Pleasant Battle Monument Commission learned that her relatives were willing her bones should be removed to Point Pleasant. On the 10th of October they were re-interred in Monument Par, Point Pleasant, under the auspices of the Colonel Charles Lewis, Jr., Chapter D. A. R., and there they will repose while thousands who hereafter visit the spot will learn the story of her strange and eventful life.

Sources on Anne Bailey