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Sybil Ludington

Born: 5-Apr-1761
Birthplace: Dutchess County, NY
Died: 26-Feb-1839
Location of death: Unadilla, NY
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Maple Avenue Cemetery, Patterson, NY

Gender: Female
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Military

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: "The female Paul Revere"

Sybil (frequently spelled Sibyl or Sibbell) Ludington was the eldest of twelve children in the family of Colonel Henry Ludington, who commanded the 7th Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia during the American Revolutionary War and oversaw a regional network of anti-Tory spies. On the stormy night of 26 April 1777, a rider on horseback brought word to Ludington's home that the British had landed in Long Island Sound and were planning to attack the Connecticut town of Danbury, vital both for its strategic location and its storehouse of revolutionary armaments. Urgently needing to rouse the volunteers under his command, Col Ludington was faced with a dilemma he could not make the ride himself, as he needed to remain at his home to organize the rallying defense, but the horseman who had alerted him was too weary from his journey to continue.

According to legend, the Colonel turned to his daughter Sybil, who was barely 16 years of age, and asked her to make the ride. Through the rainy night on unlit, muddy trails, she is said to have ridden 40 miles to the towns of Carmel, Mahopac, and Stormville, conveying word to the soldiers to gather at her father's house at daybreak. The troops were rallied, but too late much of Danbury was burned by the British, though the American militia was able to block the King's men from advancing into New York.

The story of Sybil Ludington's ride is inspiring, and has been compared to the heroics of Paul Revere two years earlier, with two key distinction Ludington's ride was more than twice the distance of Revere's, and Revere was a trained military officer while Ludington was a teenaged girl whose assignment came as a complete surprise. Markers have been erected along the route she is believed to have traveled, but historians have questioned the veracity of these events, since no mention of her ride appeared in print during her lifetime. Her purported heroism was first described in a biography of her father, which was published in 1907 by two of his grandchildren.

Her nephew Harrison Ludington (1812-1891) was elected Mayor of Milwaukee and Governor of Wisconsin in the 1870s.

Father: Henry Ludington (farmer/military officer, b. 25-May-1739, d. 24-Jan-1817)
Mother: Abigail Knowles Ludington (b. 6-May-1745, m. 1-May-1760, d. 3-Aug-1825)
Sister: Rebecca Ludington (b. 24-Jan-1763, d. 1777)
Sister: Mary Ludington (b. 27-May-1765)
Brother: Archibald Jeremy Ludington (b. 5-Jul-1767)
Brother: Henry Ludington (b. 28-Mar-1769, d. 1770)
Brother: Derick Ludington (b. 17-Feb-1771, d. 1772)
Brother: Tertullus Ludington (b. 19-Apr-1773, d. 1821)
Sister: Abigail Ludington (b. 26-Feb-1776, d. 12-Jan-1816)
Sister: Anna Ludington (b. 14-Mar-1778, d. 23-1833)
Brother: Frederick Ludington (b. 10-Jun-1782)
Sister: Sophia Ludington (b. 16-May-1784)
Brother: Lewis Ludington (b. 25-Jun-1786)
Husband: Edmond Ogden (innkeeper, m. 1784, d. 1799)
Son: Henry Ogden (attorney)

Appears on postage stamps:
USA, Scott #1559 (8, "Contributers to the Cause," issued 25-Mar-1975)

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