Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sybil Ludington: Ride of a lifetime!

On April 26, 1777, 235 years ago, 16 year old Sybil Ludington, of Putnam County, NY, made history when she rode her horse 40 miles to gather the militia to attack the British. The British had come up from Long Island to Danbury, 17 miles away, where patriot stores were kept, to burn the food, supplies and equipment gathered there. Sybil’s father, Colonel Henry Ludington, was commander of the 400 troop militia that had been given a few days to return home to plant their crops.

On the evening of April 26, 1777, Colonel Ludington learned that a British army was attacking Danbury, Connecticut. Danbury was roughly 20 miles away from Ludingtonville. Sybil mounted her horse named STAR, and carrying a short stick to rap on doors, she rode from 9 pm to dawn on a dark and rainy night, keeping watch out for British deserters and “cowboys” looking to capture horses to sell to the British. She succeeded in rousing out the militia, who marched to Danbury and chased the British back to Long Island, not without many stores being destroyed.

Colonel Ludington’s militia chased the British troops from the area. Later, Sybil was thanked personally by General George Washington. She rode twice as far as Paul Revere, and didn’t get caught, as he did. She said, modestly, “I was glad that I could do something for my country.”

The Plattsburgh (NY) Public Library (19 Oak Street) has a display of books about Sybil Ludington, which may be borrowed. The Library also has on display a three volume set of the original autographed movie script by author Charles Welty, who is planning a movie in Hollywood called “Ludington’s Ride.”

Weltry's is one of two known films about young Sybil.

Sybil Ludington, who died in 1839, is included in the New York State Senate’s compilation of “Women of Distinction.” I was able to locate a distant relative of Sybil Ludington for a radio story I prepared to mark the anniversary of her ride!

Here's a look at the script for my story, in case you want to read along as you listen!

On a dark and rainy night 235 years ago, 16-year old Sybil Ludington rode her horse into history - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear, Of a ride of our female Paul Revere…” Sybil Ludington's 40 mile trek was a small victory that helped lead to American Independence and the eventual formation of the United States.

George Ludington is Town Supervisor of Maine, New York, about 70 miles south of Syracuse in Broome County. The 80-year old is proud to be a distant relative


On the evening of April 26, 1777, Colonel Henry Ludington got word at his home in Ludingtonville that the British army was mounting an attack from the sea on Danbury, Connecticut, several miles away. Daughter Sybil mounted her horse named STAR, and carrying a short stick to rap on doors, she rode through Dutchess and Putnam counties
9 pm to dawn.

Tony Addonizio is a real estate agent in Brewster who has always been fascinated by young Sybil


George Ludinton says Sybil's night long ride resulted in four hundred militia driving the British out of Danbury and back to Long Island.


Sybil actually rode twice as far, and unlike Paul Revere - did NOT get caught by the British. A feat that did not go unnoticed by the future U.S. President. Despite Longfellow’s poem, Revere rode only twenty miles before the British captured him and took him back to Lexington. Again, Tony Addonizio


Sybil Ludington : a New York teen-heroine etched in history for all young people to admire.

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