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“Mad” Anthony Wayne Biography

 

Anthony Wayne was an officer in the United States Army, a statesman, and member of the US House of Representatives. Wayne entered the military with the American Revolutionary War, where his daring military achievements and feisty personality helped him to quickly ascend to promotion as a brigadier general and earned him the nickname “Mad Anthony.” Wayne’s military career proved him able to hold out against forces that far outnumbered his own.

Born on January 1, 1745 in Pennsylvania, “Mad Anthony” was one of five children. He was educated as a surveyor, and in 1766 was sent by Benjamin Franklin to survey land Franklin owned in Nova Scotia. After his return, he became a prominent figure in his county and served in the Pennsylvania legislature from 1774-1780. In 1766 he married Mary Penrose and they had two children.

Wayne’s service in the American Revolutionary War allowed him to lead his troops into many battles, including Germantown and the Battle of Monmouth. The highlight of his military career took place at Stony Point, New York, where Wayne led a successful, brutal attack against the British. Wayne personally led a bayonets-only night attack that lasted only thirty minutes, storming and capturing British fortifications at Stony Point, a cliff-side fort offering control of the Hudson River. He was awarded a medal for this victory, which came after the army had suffered a number of military defeats, providing a much needed boost to morale.

Wayne died on December 15, 1796 from complications with gout and was buried at Fort Presque Isle. His son attempted to relocate his remains in 1809 to the family plot, but legend states that many of Wayne’s bones were lost along the roadway which is now US Route 322. Every January 1 on his birthday, Mad Anthony’s ghost is said to be seen searching the highway for his lost remains.