Sybil Ludington (1761-1839)

Biography researched by Conor M., age 16, College of Staten Island High School for International Studies, Staten Island, New York

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Called “the Female Paul Revere,” sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington’s Revolutionary War ride was much longer than Revere’s celebrated feat.


A statue of Sybil Ludington on her horse
NWHM image

The American Revolutionary War is filled with war heroes such as George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Paul Revere, who is known for his famous ride to warn of British troop arrival.  His Massachusetts ride is known by many, but he is not the only one to ride through the night. In fact, one girl rode further.  

Sybil Ludington was born on April 5, 1761 in Patterson, New York, the daughter of Abigail and Colonel Henry Ludington.  He had fought in the French and Indian War and was an influential community leader.  He volunteered to head the local militia during the American Revolution. In 1777, Sybil was sixteen years old and the oldest of twelve children. Being the oldest, Sybil was often in charge of caring for her eleven younger siblings.

On the night of April 26, 1777, Colonel Ludington received word that  the British were attacking Danbury, Connecticut, which was 25 miles  from Ludington's home in New York State.  Sybil Ludington went out  to gather her father's troops and warn the countryside of the British troops’ incoming attack. She took a forty-mile route by  horse, and riding through the pouring rain, shouted that the British were burning Danbury, and called for the militia to assemble at the home of Colonel Ludington. By the time Sybil had returned home from her ride, around four hundred men were assembled, ready to stop the British army.

Sybil Ludington was recognized for her heroic ride by the man who would become the first American President, General George Washington. She continued to help throughout the rest of the Revolutionary War as a messenger. In October of 1784, at the age of 23, Sybil Ludington married lawyer Edward Ogden, and spent the rest of her life in Unadilla, New York with their son Harry, until she died on February 26, 1839. Her hometown was later renamed Ludingtonville in honor of Sybil’s heroic ride. Sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington created a statue of a statue of Ludington on her horse. In 1976, the US Post Office issued a stamp commemorating Sybil’s ride. 1

 

 

 


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