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WAR 1812 HEROINES

ALABAMA

Peggy Bailey Click HERE

CONNECTICUT

Anna Warner Bailey


Our Petticoat Heroine
by Carol Kimball
"The Groton Story"

Groton's most celebrated heroine is Mother Bailey, whose famous flannel petticoat rocketed her to fame in 1813, making her the toast of the nation.

"Born Anna Warner on October 11, 1758, in Groton, she was orphaned at an early age and went to live with kind grandmother Mills on a farm at Candlewood Hill, where she helped her uncle, Edward Mills, with the crops and animals. She was unusually tall and strong for a girl. When the Revolution began, she longed to fight the despised Tories.

On September 6, 1781, when the British attacked Fort Griswold, her uncle Edward, a corporal in the militia, hurried to the fort, leaving behind his wife, a young son, and a very new baby. All day the sound of cannons reached Candlewood Hill and smoke rose from the battle and burning town. By night the guns were silent, but Edward did not return, and there was no news. At dawn Anna rose, milked the cows, and without breakfast, began the three-mile hike to find her uncle. She hurried barefoot down the lane to the highway (now Route 184) already crowded with worried relatives. She found Edward lying mortally wounded in the Avery house, weak from the loss of blood and sinking fast. He longed to see his family and begged his niece to bring them to him. Anna hurried back to the farm, saddled the old horse, helped up the young wife and older child, and carrying the baby herself, returned to place the infant in the arms of the dying man. After this, Anna Warner hated the British more than ever.

She married veteran soldier Elijah Bailey in 1783. About 1800 they went to inn-keeping on Thames Street below the fort where Mrs. Baileys' hearty manner and outspoken ways made the tavern popular from the start. The house still stands at the southwest corner of Thames and Broad street.

When (President) Madison declared war on England in 1812, she thought it was second only to July 4, 1776. Her vigorous denunciation of the British attracted many in her inn. When Decatur's Fleet scuttled into New London harbor in June 1813, everyone believed the British would attack again. The people fled to the back country. Mrs. Bailey sent away her household goods and prepared to follow.

Major Simeon Smith hastily manned Fort Griswold with his militia. In need of cartridges and flannel for wadding, he sent a messenger down the hill for flannel, but the village was deserted.

The discouraged messenger met Mrs. Bailey and told her of his need. In a moment, she loosened her long flannel petticoat, stepped out of it, and presented it with a loud wish that the wadding would do its work well. Amused, bystanders saluted the daring gesture, for in 1813 ladies did not admit to wearing petticoats, much less remove them publicly. The messenger carried his prize to the fort, where it was received with cheers.

Though the British did not attack, word of Mother Bailey's impulsive gift spread over the country. Newspapers hailed her as the war's greatest female patriot. Later, a stream of celebrities knocked at her Groton door: President Monroe in 1817, Lafayette in 1824, and in 1833, President Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. As her fame increased, visitors flocked to the tavern to hear the lively tale told from her own lips. She was as good as a floor show, dancing about the room, singing patriotic tunes and railing the British."

On January 19, 1851, as Mother Bailey snoozed in an armchair near an open hearth, her clothes caught fire and she died within an hour at age 93. Her only survivors were cousins, for her title of mother was purely honorary. However, her name is remembered by the Anna Warner Bailey Chapter, NSDAR. In their monument house museum, is her portrait (above), showing a stern elderly lady wearing a demure white cap and collar. But isn't there a gleam in her eye?

 

NEW YORK

Betsy Doyle:

Maziarz announces War of 1812 heroine Betsy Doyle awarded Women of Distinction

by jmaloni
Fri, Mar 16th 2012 10:10 pm

State Sen. George Maziarz, R-C-Newfane, is proud to announce that, as part of Women's History Month, War of 1812 heroine Betsy Doyle of the Niagara and Greenbush areas (circa 1750-1819) was selected to be recognized as one of this year's Historic Women of Distinction.

To celebrate Women's History Month, the New York State Senate announced an exhibit honoring historic New York women whose achievements in arts, science, government, military, labor, education and social reform has earned them recognition as Women of Distinction. Each year three women statewide are inducted based on their historic contributions to New York.

Betsy Doyle was a heroine of the War of 1812, who remained at Fort Niagara during the war and played an integral role in the struggles that took place there. During a prolonged duel with British forces, Doyle carried red-hot cannonballs to guns on the roof of the French Castle. A year later, she donned a soldier's uniform and stood guard through the night. She instantly became a local celebrity for her acts of bravery. Although the fort was ultimately captured, she and her children were able to escape some three hundred miles to refuge in Greenbush.

"Women's History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate the enormous contributions of great women from our past," Maziarz said. "The Women of Distinction exhibit singles out just a few of these extraordinary people as an example of women's achievements that continue to this very day. Betsy Doyle was a true heroine for her actions, and her legacy to this area is something that I am glad is not going unnoticed. This being the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, I find it only fitting that she be inducted in a year of great significance."

Doyle is being honored alongside African-American crusader and nurse Adah Belle Samuels Thoms of New York (1870-1943) and documentary photographer and writer Margaret Bourke-White (1904-1971) of the Bronx and Ithaca areas.

The exhibit will be on display in Albany, March 19 to 30, at the Legislative Office Building. Maziarz is also offering an online Women of Distinction exhibit through his website, www.senatormaziarz.gov.



 

 

 

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