April 5, 1761|
Kent, New York
|Died||February 26, 1839
Catskill, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Edmond Ogden (married in 1784)|
Sybil Ludington (April 5, 1761 – February 26, 1839) was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who is famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert American colonial forces to the approach of the British. Her action was similar to that performed by Paul Revere, though she rode more than twice the distance of Revere and was only 16 years old at the time of her action. She was an aunt of Harrison Ludington, the Governor of Wisconsin.
Ludington was born in 1761, the eldest of twelve children, in what was then known as Fredericksburg, and is now known as the Ludingtonville section of the town of Kent, New York. Her father was Colonel Henry Ludington, a respected militia officer who commanded the 7th Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia, a volunteer regiment of local men during the Revolutionary War. He and his wife, Abigail, ran a mill in Patterson, New York. He later became an aide to General George Washington.
There is much confusion concerning the spelling of her first name. Although it is mostly spelled "Sybil", her tombstone displays her name as "Sibbell". However, she signed her Revolutionary War pension application as "Sebal", which is apparently the spelling she preferred. Her sister Mary spelled her name "Sebil". In the 1810 census, she is listed as "Sibel", and appears on other records as "Cybil". Her name does not seem to appear on any official documents as Sybil.
On April 27, 1777, British troops raided Danbury, Connecticut, which housed numerous Continental Army supplies. A messenger was dispatched to alert Col. Ludington, arriving around 9 pm. Sybil then set out on her ride, which would end near dawn the following day. She rode 40 miles, through Carmel, New York on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highwayman with a long stick. When, soaked with rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of her father's 400 soldiers were ready to march.
The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,
|“||Sybil, who, a few days before, had passed her sixteenth birthday, and bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak. One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of "Cowboys" and "Skinners" abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man's saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father's house at Fredericksburgh , and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.||”|
The men arrived too late to save Danbury, Connecticut. At the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, however, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound.
After the war, in 1784, when she was twenty-three years old, Ludington married Edmond Ogden, with whom she had one child, Henry. Edmond was a farmer and innkeeper, according to various reports. In 1792 Ludington settled with her husband and son in Unadilla, New York, where they lived until her death on February 26, 1839, at the age of 77. She was buried near her father in the Patterson Presbyterian Cemetery in Patterson, New York.
In 1935 New York State erected a number of markers along her route. A statue of Ludington, sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington, was erected near Carmel, New York, in 1961 to commemorate her ride. Smaller versions of the statue exist on the grounds of the Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters in Washington, D.C.; on the grounds of the public library in Danbury, Connecticut; and in the Elliot and Rosemary Offner museum at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.
Each April since 1979, the Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer footrace has been held in Carmel, New York. The course of this hilly ultramarathon road race approximates Ludington's historic ride, and finishes near her statue on the shore of Lake Gleneida in Carmel.
- Binkley, Marilyn R., Reading Literacy in the U.S.: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, DIANE Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-7881-4512-6
- Johnson, "Memoir," Colonel Henry Ludington, Google Books
- It was first mentioned by Lewis S. Patrick (Connecticut historian and Ludington descendant, great nephew of Sybil Ludington) in The Connecticut Magazine II (no. 2, 1907) and credit was given to Patrick by Willis Fletcher Johnson in the memoirs of Colonel Henry Ludington. Hauntings of the Hudson River Valley: An Investigative Journey By Vincent T. Dacquino, p. 93</ ref name ="news08152009">Ludington Daily News front page, Saturday, August 15, 2009
- Ludington - American Revolutionary War heroine, remembered for her valiant role in defense against British attack
- Sybil's Story, footnotes 20, 21, 23
- American National Biography Online - Sybil Ludington
- "Sybil Ludington". www.historicpatterson.org. The Town of Patterson, NY. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- Historic Patterson, New York - Sybil Luddington
- Sybil Ludington: a Revolutionary Hero
- Sybil Ludington
- Pension Files, R7777, Ogden, Edmond, Sebal
- Sybil Ludington article by Jone Johnson Lewis
- Sybil Ludington - Her Midnight Ride
- Miller, p. 18, Later, America's general George Washington came to Sybil's house to thank her.
- Moore, p. 300, Afterward, General George Washington made a personal visit to Ludington's Mills to thank Sybil for her courageous deed.
- Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Biography - Sybil Ludington 1761—1839, Unit 3, Chapter 5, The American Revolution Later, Sybil was thanked personally by General George Washington.
- Binkley, p. 18, Afterward, General George Washington made a personal visit to Ludington's Mill to thank Sybil for her courageous deed.
- Smithsonian Source - Confirmation Readings (Sybil Ludington)
- Weatherford, p. 31, ... After the battle at Danbury, George Washington and French General Rochambeau came to the Ludington home personally, to thank Sybil.
- "Original" defined as a sculpture cast under the supervision of original artist during his/her lifetime.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sybil Ludington.|
- Sybil Ludington at Find a Grave
- Sybil Ludington at HistoricPatterson.org
- Sybil Ludington: A Revolutionary Hero, by Jennifer Hartwell-Jackson