by Carmen Doyle
There are two different explanations.
One explanation says that the nickname started because of Wayne’s “daring valor” at the Battle of Stony Point. The success of the battle inspired the population so much that he began to be called “Mad” for his audaciousness and bravery.
That’s what Washington Irving (the author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”) wrote in his “Life of Washington.”
|Anthony Wayne Statue in Freimann Square|
Another explanation is that the nickname resulted from Wayne’s treatment of a soldier, Jemmy the Rover. Jemmy allegedly had unofficial permission to go to and from the fort as he wanted, perhaps because he occasionally worked as a spy for Wayne.
Jemmy went missing for an unusually long period of time, and when eventually found, it was because he had been put in jail for disorderly conduct.
Jemmy tried to get General Wayne to intervene and let him out of jail, but Wayne refused. Instead, he ordered Jemmy to be given 29 lashes. Upon hearing this, Jemmy started to mutter that “Anthony is mad. He must be mad, or he would help me. Mad Anthony, that’s what he is. Mad Anthony Wayne.”
It was considered to be such a good story, as well as a fitting name, and the story was repeated often, that the name stuck, although the reason behind the nickname was only dimly remembered.
Anthony Wayne had a big impact on modern popular culture, although this is not well known.
Marion Morrison had to change his name for the screen. Director Raul Walsh was reading a biography of Anthony Wayne, and suggested the actor change his name to Anthony Wayne. The studios liked Wayne, but thought “John” was a better first name- so Marion Morrison became John Wayne, in a tribute to the Revolutionary War hero.
Another big impact on pop culture is Anthony Wayne’s fictional descendant- Bruce Wayne.
So John Wayne and Batman owe part of their legacy to “Mad” Anthony Wayne.