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General ‘‘Mad Anthony’’ Wayne (January 1, 1745–December 15, 1796) commanded the American army that defeated the Indians at Fallen Timbers in 1794. He also played a leading role in negotiating the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 that ceded most of Ohio to the United States and ended the frontier era for Western Virginia.

Wayne, born in Pennsylvania, joined the Continental army, saw his first service in early 1776 and fought throughout the war. He then served under Nathaniel Greene in Georgia in 1781 and 1782 against the Creeks and Cherokees, his first action against Native Americans. Wayne represented Georgia in the House of Representatives from 1791 to 1792. His seat was declared vacant due to irregularities, and he declined to run again.

Meanwhile, President Washington and his cabinet, shocked by disastrous defeats of the American army by the northwestern Indians, convinced Congress to establish a larger and better organized army. The president and his cabinet passed over Virginians Richard Henry ‘‘Lighthorse Harry’’ Lee and Daniel Morgan and selected Wayne, the most available of the senior revolutionary army officers, to command this newly created ‘‘legion.’’ Wayne, although nicknamed ‘‘Mad’’ for his sometimes daring ways, conducted a lengthy and cautious campaign that ended with his victory at Fallen Timbers. Wayne County is named for General Wayne.

This Article was written by Van Beck Hall

Last Revised on March 25, 2019


Kohn, Richard H. Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America. New York: Free Press, 1991.

Nelson, Paul David. Anthony Wayne: Soldier of the Early Republic. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985.

Cite This Article

Hall, Van Beck "Anthony Wayne." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 25 March 2019. Web. 24 July 2024.


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