Sybil Ludington was an American War Heroine who became famous for her horseback ride through various towns in Danbury, Connecticut, and Putnam County in upstate New York. On the night of April 26, 1777, Sybil Ludington rode 64 km during the dark of night to warn the militia that the British Forces were burning and pillaging in the area. Along her ride Sylvia used a stick to fight off would be attackers and was successful in reaching her destination. What makes her story so remarkable is that she was only 16 years old at the time. She is believed to have travelled twice the distance of Paul Revere’s famous ride. Ludington’s story was first published in 1880 and later recounted in a book about her father’s life “Colonel Henry Ludington: A Memoir” which was published in 1907.
Some historians doubt whether this ride really took place, stating that the town of Danbury had already been alerted to the arrival of the British Army. It is also questionable whether Ludington volunteered for this momentous ride or was ordered by her father. In 1907, Louis S. Patrick, Ludington’s great nephew, who was a historian in Connecticut, wrote an article and claimed Sybil’s father commanded her to take a horse and ride through the night advising the militia to be at his home by daybreak. When she returned home, Sybil was met with 400 militia. Although they were unsuccessful in defending Danbury, they were later able to force the British to withdraw in what became known as the Battle of Ridgefield. This was the last inland battle fought in Connecticut during the Revolutionary War.
Sylvia Ludington was born in Kent, New York, on April 5, 1761, and died February 26, 1839, and was buried in the same cemetery as her father in Patterson, New York. Her father was a volunteer in the militia who served as an aide to General George Washington. Sylvia married Edmond Ogden and they had one son.
Sylvia’s hometown was renamed Ludingtonville in honor of her heroic deeds. In 1935 several notable markers were erected along Sylvia’s legendary ride and in 1961 a statue was constructed near Carmel, New York. Several smaller statues were constructed in front of the Public Library in Danbury, Connecticut and the Elliot and Rosemary Offner Museum at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. On March 25, 1975 Sylvia Ludington was honored with a postage stamp in the “Contributors to the Cause” United States Bicentennial series, which can still be purchased today at places like Amazon.
Several books have been written about her famous ride, including “Sylvia Ludington: Revolutionary War Rider” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25664417-sybil-ludington
Additional information about this remarkable young trailblazer can be found at the following websites: