Sybil Ludington

A majority of people that study American history are familiar with the ride of Paul Revere.

In that ride, Paul Revere was supposed to be traveling by horse up and down the area to warn residents that the British were coming. But if you look at the large area that he was supposed to have covered, you will quickly realize that he couldn’t have done it alone. Sybil Ludington, daughter of a Colonel, became famous for being one of the brave individuals to join Revere. At age 16, Sybil proved to an incredible force to be reckoned with.

Sybil was the oldest of twelve children of Abigail and Henry Ludington. Her father was a community leader and a militia volunteer who later became an aide to General George Washington.

 

Where did they live?

Gatlinburg Skybridge
Gatlinburg Skybridge

Colonel Ludington was the owner of a gristmill and had a distinguished military record. He had once been loyal to England, yet in 1773 he made the decision to change his allegiance and joined those fighting for the American Revolution. The land that he owned was between the coast of Long Island Sound and Connecticut and was very vulnerable to attack by the British.

Facts about Sybil Ludington

  • It was on April 26, 1777, that Colonel Ludington was told by a rider that Danbury, a nearby town, was under attack by the British troops and were in dire need of help. The regiment that Ludington controlled had been sent out to take care of planting season, and they were all many miles apart working their farms.
  • At the time, the rider was simply too exhausted to continue on. But at age 16 years, Sybil stepped up and volunteered to do the ride to warn others of the oncoming British forces and the attack on Danbury. The militia needed to be alerted, and Sybil volunteered to make the ride through the areas of Kent, Mahopac, Stormville, and Putnam and Dutchess Counties. This is around forty miles, and she rode in the rain.
  • It’s said that a man offered to ride with her, but she refused his help, instead of sending him to warn Brewster residents.
  • Sybil knew that there was a chance that people would try to stop her, so she carried a stick to fight any attackers off.
  • Sybil’s brave actions paid off because when she returned home, she saw around 400 troops that were there to defend their homeland against British troops.
  • The area of Danbury wasn’t successful in fending off the British, but the militia did cause the British to retreat during the Battle of Ridgefield.
  • Sybil’s name is on many historical documents, and they often misspell it. Her name has been shown as Sibbell, Sebal, Sibel, and Cybil.
  • Once the war was over, Sybil married Edward Ogden at the age of 23. They had one son, Henry, and the family lived in Catskill, NY. Her husband died of yellow fever in 1799, and it was four years later that Sybil purchased a tavern and earned enough to send her son to school to become a lawyer.
  • When Sybil decided to sell the tavern, she made a profit that was three times what she had paid for the land. Sybil used the month to buy a home for her on and his family, where she could also live.
  • Sybil was honored in 1975 with a United States Postal Service stamp. Lake Gleneida in Carmel New York also has a statue of Sybil, and throughout Putnam County, there are historical markers that trace the route that Sybil road.

What did you learn?

How old was Sybil when she made her historic ride to warn of British troops?

16

What is the estimated number of miles that Sybil rode to warn her community?

40 miles

Why were Sybil’s father’s militia not in the area?

they were sent home to work on their farms for the planting season

What was Sybil’s father’s military title?

Colonel>

Why did Sybil volunteer to ride to warn the settlement?

the previous rider was exhausted

What are some of the ways that Sybil was honored throughout the years?

U.S. Postal stamp, statue, historical markers tracing her ride