I do love finding out about interesting people and ‘Mad Ann’ as she was known, definitely ranks as an interesting character.
Ann was born in Liverpool, England in 1742 and moved to the Colony of Virginia when she was 19 years old. She married Mr. Trotter who was a soldier. He was killed on October 10, 1774 in the war with the Indians at the ‘Battle of Point Pleasant.’ This is when life changed dramatically for Ann!
She left her 7 year old son with her neighbor so that she could go and seek her revenge! She taught herself to shoot a gun and then disguised herself as a male Indian so that she could become an ‘undercover’ frontier scout.
She would ride up and down the border encouraging the men to volunteer themselves to join the military so that the women and children would be safe. She was often seen riding between Fort Savannah and Fort Randolph to carry messages to the troops. This was an incredible distance of 160 miles and she did the journey on a regular basis.
She met and married her second husband, John Bailey (who was also a frontier scout) around 1790 and they moved to the present day Charleston in West Virginia. She did not give up her work and in 1791she became so famous that even a song was written about her.
At this time, Fort Lee, near Charleston was under siege by the Indians. The fort was running very
low on gun powder and the General asked for a volunteer among his soldiers to ride for more stock. Not one man would volunteer, but guess who did? Our daring Ann!
She rode the 100 miles to Fort Union and returned by the third day exhausted, but with fresh supplies carried by a second horse. This brave act saved the lives of many men, and the fort. Apparently she was rewarded with whiskey and a horse!
For this incredible act, she has been credited with the founding of the beautiful State of West Virginia.
Soon after this heroic act, her second husband John was killed, so she decided to take her son William and they lived in the wild on the bank of the Kanawha river.
On her daily horse rides she often came across groups of Shawnee Indians. On one of these days, they chased her and to avoid getting caught, she jumped off her horse and hid in a hollow log. They searched everywhere for her and eventually gave up, but took her horse back to their camp. Ann waited until nightfall and crept into their camp and get her horse back.
When she had put a safe distance between herself and the Indians, she stood screaming as loudly as possible. The Indians thought she was possessed and that bullets and arrows would never harm her, so they were afraid of her.
They named her ‘White Squaw of Kanawha.’ They never got too close to her after her trip into their camp but would watch her from a distance.
Ann and William continued to live in the wild for nearly 20 years; they would visit friends, but always went back to their camp, or their favorite cave to sleep.
Around 1818, they both moved to the Harrison Township in Ohio and took up a more normal life. Ann even taught in the local school.
She died in 1825 at a wonderful age of 82 years old and was buried in Point Pleasant in the site where her first husband was killed.
I think you have to agree that Ann was a truly remarkable woman of her time, and if nothing else,
has given us a wonderful story to read!