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, U.S.
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), daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, has been celebrated as a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who, mounted on her horse, Star, became famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert militia forces to the approach of the British regular forces. This action was similar to that performed by Jack Jouett, William Dawes and Paul Revere,[1][2][3][4][5][6] although she rode more than twice the distance of Revere and was only 16 years old at the time of her action. This deed, however, was not mentioned in print until 1880, more than a hundred years after it was alleged to have taken place, and there is no evidence that it happened.[7] The legend, nevertheless, has been very widely disseminated, and Paula D. Hunt concludes her extensive study of it by saying, "The story of the lone, teenage girl riding for freedom, it seems, is simply too good not to be believed."[7] Sybil Ludington was an aunt of Harrison Ludington, a Governor of Wisconsin.


Sybil was born in Fredericksburg (now Ludingtonville), Kent, New York. Sybil was the eldest of twelve children.[8] Sybil’s mother, Abigail Knowles Ludington, married her first cousin Henry Ludington after meeting him during the French and Indian War. Sybil was conceived a year after the couple married. The small family moved to Dutchess County, New York, where it expanded. They lived on and farmed a very large piece of land.


On April 26, 1777, Sybil Ludington rode forty miles through the night to warn militiamen under the control of her father that British troops were planning to attack Danbury, Connecticut, where the Continental Army had a supply depot. On her way to gather her Father’s troops she warned the people of Danbury. Sybil’s father, Colonel Henry Ludington, fought in the French and Indian War and following that he volunteered to head the local militia during the American Revolution. Due to her father’s position, Sybil had to move from town to town following her father, and unknowingly playing an important role in the success of the colonies. The afternoon after Sybil’s ride through Danbury the British troops burned down three buildings and destroyed multiple houses, but did not kill many people. Unlike Paul Revere, little was spoken of Sybil Ludington's ride for personal reasons and the only record of this event was written by her great grandson. Ludington's ride started at 9 p.m. and ended around dawn.[8] She rode 40 miles (64 km) into the damp hours of darkness. She rode through Carmel 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 the 400 soldiers were ready to march.[9]

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.[9] She was congratulated for her heroism by friends and neighbors and also by General George Washington.[10][11][12][13] [14][15][16][17]

Close-up of smaller version of statue by Anna Hyatt Huntington. Offner Museum, Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina
Grave of Sybil Ludington, bearing a spelling variation of her first name. There are several variations in the spelling of the name "Sybil"; all of which are correct.

After the war, in 1784, when she was 23 years old, Sybil Ludington married Edmond Ogden, with whom she had one child and named him Henry. Edmond was a farmer and innkeeper, according to various reports. In 1792, she settled with her husband and son in Catskill, 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.[8] Her tombstone, at right, shows a different spelling of her first name.

In 1935 New York State erected a number of markers along her route. A statue of Sybil, sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington, was erected near Carmel, New York, in 1961 to commemorate her ride. Smaller versions[18] of the statue exist on the grounds of the Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters in Washington, DC; on the grounds of the public library, Danbury, Connecticut; and in the Elliot and Rosemary Offner museum at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

In 1975, Sybil Ludington was honored with a postage stamp in the "Contributors to the Cause" United States Bicentennial series.[8]

Each April since 1979, the Sybil Ludington 50k Run, a 50-kilometre (31 mi) ultramarathon footrace, has been held in Carmel, New York. The course of this hilly road race approximates Sybil's historic ride, and finishes near her statue on the shore of Lake Gleneida, Carmel, New York.[19]

See also[edit]


  • Binkley, Marilyn R., Reading Literacy in the U.S.: Findings from the IEA Reading Literacy Study, DIANE Publishing, 1996, ISBN 0-7881-4512-6
  • Bohrer, Melissa Lukeman, Glory, passion, and principle: the story of eight remarkable women at the core of the American Revolution, Simon and Schuster, 2003, ISBN 0-7434-5330-1
  • Johnson, Willis Fletcher (1907). Colonel Henry Ludington: A Memoir. Connecticut: self-published. Retrieved March 24, 2010. 
  • Miller, Brandon Marie, Growing up in revolution and the new nation, 1775 to 1800, Lerner Publications, 2003, ISBN 0-8225-0078-7
  • Moore, David W., Developing readers and writers in the content areas K-12, Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2006,ISBN 0-205-49474-9
  • Weatherford, D., Milestones : A chronology of American women's history. New York: Facts on File, 1997, ISBN 0-8160-3200-9


  1. ^ Johnson, "Memoir", Colonel Henry Ludington, Google Books
  2. ^ It was 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
  3. ^ Ludington Daily News front page, Saturday, August 15, 2009
  4. ^ Ludington - American Revolutionary War heroine, remembered for her valiant role in defense against British attack
  5. ^ Sybil's Story, footnotes 20, 21, 23
  6. ^ Profile,; accessed February 23, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Hunt, Paula D. (May 7, 2015). "Sybil Ludington, the Female Paul Revere: The Making of a Revolutionary War Heroine". New England Quarterly Journal. MIT Press. Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Profile,; accessed February 23, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Sybil Ludington: a Revolutionary Hero,; accessed February 23, 2015.
  10. ^ Sybil Ludington article by Jone Johnson Lewis
  11. ^ Sybil Ludington - Her Midnight Ride,; accessed February 23, 2015.
  12. ^ Miller, p. 18, Later, America's general George Washington came to Sybil's house to thank her.
  13. ^ Moore, p. 300, Afterward, General George Washington made a personal visit to Ludington's Mills to thank Sybil for her courageous deed.
  14. ^ Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Biography – Sybil Ludington 1761–1839, Unit 3, Chapter 5, The American Revolution Later, Sybil was thanked personally by General George Washington.
  15. ^ Binkley, p. 18, Afterward, General George Washington made a personal visit to Ludington's Mill to thank Sybil for her courageous deed.
  16. ^ Smithsonian Source - Confirmation Readings (Sybil Ludington)
  17. ^ Weatherford, p. 31, ... After the battle at Danbury, George Washington and French General Rochambeau came to the Ludington home personally, to thank Sybil.
  18. ^ "Original" defined as a sculpture cast under the supervision of original artist during his/her lifetime.
  19. ^ Sweeney, Bob; McCurtin, Ellen. "Sybil Ludington 50k". Sybil Ludington 50k Run. Bob Sweeney, & Ellen McCurtin. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hunt, Paula D., “Sybil Ludington, the Female Paul Revere: The Making of a Revolutionary War Heroine,” New England Quarterly 88 (June 2015), 187–222.

External links[edit]