November 22, 1825: Kanawha Valley pioneer Anne Bailey dies

Nov 22, 2017

Anne Bailey roamed the Western Virginia wilderness for 11 years, relaying messages between frontier forts.
Credit e-WV West Virginia Encyclopedia

Kanawha Valley pioneer Anne Bailey died in Gallipolis, Ohio, on November 22, 1825, at about age 83. It’s not clear when the native of Liverpool, England, emigrated to America. However, she was living in Staunton, Virginia, by 1761.

After her husband was killed by Indians in the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant, she swore to avenge his death. She taught herself how to shoot a gun and became a scout. Some say this is when she earned the nickname “Mad Anne.”

She roamed the Western Virginia wilderness for 11 years, relaying messages between frontier forts. About 1785, she married Greenbrier County soldier John Bailey but continued scouting. In addition, she supposedly drove livestock from the Shenandoah to the Kanawha Valley.

A frequently quoted legend says that Anne Bailey carried gunpowder from Lewisburg to relieve a 1790 siege on Fort Lee at the present site of Charleston. Writers of that time didn’t mention the incident, so most historians consider the story to be fiction. Regardless, Anne Bailey’s services to frontier settlements were invaluable and remain a powerful symbol of the fortitude of pioneer women.