Have you heard of the midnight ride of SYBIL LUDINGTON? Me, neither but let’s learn together!

OK, if you are from the East Coast, you probably know all about Sybil Ludington – or at least that is what I am telling myself as to why I had never heard of her…

A reader sent this information to me which sparked my interest for sure!:


Statue of Sybil Ludington, commemorating her ride by artist Anna Hyatt Huntington, resides near Camel, NY.

This month in U.S. history, we remember that famous ride that would warn the colonies that the British were coming.

Colonel Ludington needed someone he could trust, someone brave enough, someone who could ride a long distance, through the darkness, from 9 p.m. to dawn, someone who could fight off enemy combatants, to alert the Colonial militia to the approach of British forces.

So, the Colonel chose the “best man for the job.”

He chose Sybil Ludington, his 16-year-old daughter.  Sybil Ludington was born on this day, April 5, 1761.

This month, on April 26, 1777, her father asked his young daughter to take the dangerous ride.

–On the night of April 18, 1775. Revere made his famous ride and history remembers him well, because of the famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who would tell the tale, saying:

“Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere . . .”

But, many people do not know about the four other riders, who warned their communities of the approach and movement of the British forces.

The five heroes (including Paul Revere) were Samuel Prescott, Israel Bissell, William Dawes, and, the one who I am dedicating this post to, Sybil Ludington, who at that time was only 16 years old.

Sybil set out at 9 p.m. that night in the rain to warn the colonists at Danbury, Connecticut of the approach of the British. She would make a journey double to that of Revere (totaling 40 miles), riding through Kent to Farmers Mills and then returning back home again.

During her famous ride, she gathered her father’s troops, knocked on doors and warned the countryside of the British troops’ incoming attack – and, she fought off a highwayman with a long stick.

By dawn, she was exhausted, damp from the rain, but had accomplished her mission warning the colonists and bringing together 400 soldiers ready to march and drive the enemy troops from the area.

She would later be commended by George Washington for her heroism. Each April since 1979, the Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer footrace has been held in Carmel, New York. The course of this hilly road race approximates Sybil’s historic ride, and finishes near the statue which was erected in her honor on the shore of Lake Gleneida, Carmel, New York.

So, when you hear the tale of Paul Revere this month, remember about the other riders, one of which was the courageous Sybil Ludington.


OK, I had no idea about Sybil, probably because we – out in CA – don’t learn much history East of Colorado (or it seems that way) and probably because the nuns in my Catholic grammar school weren’t really teachers so they just went with that the text books told about Paul Revere.

Anyway, I found Sybil’s story very inspiring!  What a little warrior!

Evidently, there are statues along her famous route (per Wikipedia) “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[17] 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.”

So, I’m guessing that many of you know about Sybil already.

Well, did you know about the commemorative stamp?  She has her own stamp?  “In 1975, Sybil Ludington was honored with a postage stamp in the “Contributors to the CauseUnited States Bicentennial series.”

Her stamp.

Her stamp.

There is also a movie!!  You can order it here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 1.20.22 PM

And, of course, the 50K run mentioned above!  If you’d like to learn more about her run, click here.  I think this is the BEST idea because it approximates her ride.  I would love to walk this run!

“Each April since 1979, the Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer 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.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 1.26.59 PM


It seems that Sybil led a rather quiet life after her huge, early accomplishment!

Here is what wiki said:  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.[7] She rode 40 miles 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.[8]

The young Sybil.

The young Sybil.

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] She was congratulated for her heroism by friends and neighbors and also by General George Washington.[

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.[7] Her tombstone, at right, shows a different spelling of her first name.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 1.10.07 PM


Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 1.55.14 PM

lewis carrol

APRIL BUCKET FUND MARE:  BIG GIRL!  We are a quarter of the way there!  I know it is Tax season… but if you could just spare your Starbucks for one day… it would all add up!  Thank you, thank you!  Read her story here!

Our girl. Click to read her story... how they worked her feet to the bone - literally.

Our girl. Click to read her story… how they worked her feet to the bone – literally.




HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

5 comments have been posted...

  1. Michael Hoiriis

    I grew up in Lexington where this history is taught extensively in school. It didn’t happen. Sybil Ludington may have done a ride, but it was to Danbury Ct in 1777, two years after the midnight ride. She was 14 in 1775, and she lived in New York, not Boston Massachusetts. Also the Continental Army did not exist in April of 1775 when the Revere ride took place and George Washington did not become a General until June of 1775 which also means that Sybils Father could not have been a Army Colonel in April although he would be later on. There is historical doubt that she did any ride at all as there is no history of her ride prior to 1880, Cool Story, but not true.

  2. dawndi Post author

    Fixed. Thank you for finding this error. If you refresh your link, the photo will not be there.

  3. k

    the photo you have is of the absolutely brilliant Henrietta Swan Leavitt, the astronomer. She established that the universe is expanding and discovered the relation between the period and luminosity of Cepheid variable stars but Hubble got credit for her work and now we know him as the person who had the telescope named after him.

    Please see this well-sourced entry on Wikipedia which has the photo you display above, as well as one of her in later years. To credit this brilliant woman with someone who almost 50 years before is to do her a disservice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrietta_Swan_Leavitt

    Besides the fact that Henrietta Leavitt’s dress and hair is from about 1900, Sybil Ludington died in 1839, and btw Robert Cornelius took the first recorded portrait daguerrotype (of himself) in 1839.

    Thanks for correcting this.

  4. Gay Ludington

    As far as i know, there’s no documentation to confirm the kind of saddle she used – but I suspect that the side saddle pose came from Huntington’s imagination. Since Sybil rode hard, at night, in the dark, in the rain and over rough terrain (no asphalt roads then!) she needed to have as secure a seat as possible — probably not side saddle! But, who knows. . . ?

Post a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *