Jaybird Alarm: From the Adventures of Mad Anne Bailey by Harve Hildebrand
The Story:(Click on images to enlarge)
On the border country of 18th century Colonial America there lived many interesting and colorful characters. One was Anne Hennis Trotter Bailey. Born in Liverpool, England in 1742, Anne immigrated to the colonies at about 19 years of age and lived most of her adventurous life along the western frontier of Virginia. On October 10, 1774, Anne’s first husband Richard Trotter was killed at the Battle of Point Pleasant when his Virginia militia was engaged in a bloody fight with Chief Cornstalk’s Shawnee forces. Insane with grief, Anne began dressing in men’s clothing and carrying a rifle, axe, and knife, declaring her own war on the Shawnee.
During the American Revolution, Anne was a fearless patriot performing the duties of a scout and courier, as well as riding through the border settlements recruiting men to militia service. Many times Anne would travel the 150 miles between Forts Savannah and Randolph carrying messages. On these trips Anne would sometimes run across parties of Shawnee. She showed no fear of the people who had killed her husband and would defy and challenge them. The Shawnee came to respect her as a warrior-soldier, and fear her for her madness. To the Shawnee, no woman in her right mind would act the way she did, therefore she had to be insane. Insanity was protected by Kijimanitou, and to harm or kill her would bring down the wrath of the “Greatest of Mysteries”.
In 1785, Anne married a Virginia Ranger named John Bailey. While at Fort Lee in 1791, the fort was under siege and low on gunpowder. When there was no man willing to volunteer, Anne is said to have ridden the 100 miles to Fort Savannah and back, bringing the precious powder. By this time, she was well–known throughout the border country as “Mad Anne” Bailey. As fearless as Daniel Boone and as eccentric as John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), Mad Anne Bailey, who died in 1825, has come down through history in lore, legend, and song.
Harvey has employed his technique of combining the traditional arts of pen draughtsmanship and trompe l’oeil to tell a tale based on the legends and stories of the “White Squaw of the Kanawah”. The portal here is a crude window cut into an ancient barn wall, long ago a pioneer cabin. Surrounded by an early longrifle, a priming horn, a bluejay feather, a powder measure, and a branch of dogwood blossoms, the portal draws us into the past and reminds us of our early American heritage.
One morning, while on a journey through the woods, Anne has stumbled across several Shawnee who have broken camp and are preparing to travel. The bluejays, who surely had raised a ruckus when the Native Americans arrived the evening before, are now beside themselves with the approach of the new intruder – Anne.
Anne is not completely concealed behind the tree and the Shawnee realize it’s a white woman. Instead of attacking, they hesitate. The nearest warrior is somewhat uneasy, but curious to get a look at the soldier-woman who is protected by the “Greatest of All that is Great”. Standing behind him, a second Shawnee, wrapped in a matchcoat, has set down his gourd container and retrieved his tomahawk which he nervously fingers while he glares at the noisy bluejays. A third warrior watches their back for any sign of further danger.
How will Anne get out of this one with her hair intact? Will the Shawnee be able to retreat with dignity and tell an exciting story of meeting the “Mad Woman”? Will the young inquisitive fox squirrel get past that unusual bobbing vine (as he might see Anne’s rifle) and feast on eggs in an unguarded nest?
Only Anne, known for her intriguing stories, can tell us.
The artist wishes to thank his gracious models: Suzanne Larner (who IS Mad Anne Bailey) and Perry Riley (who posed for the three Shawnee). Also, thanks go to the obliging fox squirrel that digs for stored nuts in Harvey’s back yard and keeps the house cats entertained.
Each giclée print is 15" x 18" (image size 11" x 14") on high-quality archival acid-free paper, numbered and signed by the artist. Prints are available in a limited edition of 200 from the original art.
Artist proofs are available with remarque, enhancement, signed and specially numbered by the artist, in limited editions of 10 from each original. Artist proofs are $500 each and available by phone order only.
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Printed by Heartland Printworks of Indianapolis, IN.
The online image is purposely faded and watermarked to discourage online theft. The actual print is rich and vibrant with color and detail.
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