Sybil Ludington

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Sybil Ludington
Ludington statue 800.jpg
Statue of Sybil Ludington in Carmel, New York by Anna Hyatt Huntington.
Born (1761-04-05)April 5, 1761
Kent, New York
Died February 26, 1839(1839-02-26) (aged 77)
Catskill, New York, U.S.
Spouse(s) Edmond Ogden (married in 1784)
Children 1
Sybil Ludington commemorative stamp

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,[1][2][3][4][5] 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.

Early life[edit]

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.[6] 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.[7] A messenger was dispatched to alert Col. Ludington, arriving around 9 pm.[8] Sybil then set out on her ride, which would end near dawn the following day.[7] 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.[9] 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.[8][9]

The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,

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.[8]

Later years[edit]

The grave of Sybil Ludington. Note the misspelling of her first name.

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.[7][10]


Ludington was congratulated for her heroism by friends and neighbors and also by General George Washington.[9][11][12][13][14] [15][16][17][18]

Close-up of smaller version of statue by Anna Hyatt Huntington. Offner Museum, Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina

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[19] 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.

In 1975, Ludington was honored with a postage stamp in the "Contributors to the Cause" United States Bicentennial series.[7][9]

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.[9]


  • Binkley, Marilyn R., Reading Literacy in the U.S.: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, DIANE Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-7881-4512-6


  1. ^ a b Johnson, "Memoir," Colonel Henry Ludington, Google Books
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Ludington - American Revolutionary War heroine, remembered for her valiant role in defense against British attack
  4. ^ Sybil's Story, footnotes 20, 21, 23
  5. ^ American National Biography Online - Sybil Ludington
  6. ^ "Sybil Ludington". The Town of Patterson, NY. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Historic Patterson, New York - Sybil Luddington
  8. ^ a b c Sybil Ludington: a Revolutionary Hero
  9. ^ a b c d e Sybil Ludington
  10. ^ Pension Files, R7777, Ogden, Edmond, Sebal
  11. ^ Sybil Ludington article by Jone Johnson Lewis
  12. ^ Sybil Ludington - Her Midnight Ride
  13. ^ Miller, p. 18, Later, America's general George Washington came to Sybil's house to thank her.
  14. ^ Moore, p. 300, Afterward, General George Washington made a personal visit to Ludington's Mills to thank Sybil for her courageous deed.
  15. ^ Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Biography - Sybil Ludington 1761—1839, Unit 3, Chapter 5, The American Revolution Later, Sybil was thanked personally by General George Washington.
  16. ^ Binkley, p. 18, Afterward, General George Washington made a personal visit to Ludington's Mill to thank Sybil for her courageous deed.
  17. ^ Smithsonian Source - Confirmation Readings (Sybil Ludington)
  18. ^ Weatherford, p. 31, ... After the battle at Danbury, George Washington and French General Rochambeau came to the Ludington home personally, to thank Sybil.
  19. ^ "Original" defined as a sculpture cast under the supervision of original artist during his/her lifetime.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]