Family Fun    

Celebrate Women's History Month

Meet Sybil Ludington- hero of the 18th century

womens history month, Sybil Ludington, hiking trail

The Hudson Valley is so rich in history that you don't have to go far to travel back in time. Since March is Women's History Month, why not clean off your hiking boots, dust off your bike seats or polish up a saddle and get on the trail this spring to teach your children about some women who, through their grit and hard work, won a place in history?

The late-night ride of Sybil Ludington
About 50 years later another teenager, Sybil Ludington of Putnam County, rode into history. Colonel Henry Ludington, Sybil's father, was a volunteer militia officer and community leader who went on to become an aide to General George Washington. On the night of April 26, 1777, he got word from an exhausted messenger that the British were attacking Danbury. Since the messenger was unable to go any farther, legend has it that Sybil took over, riding her horse, Star, 40 miles through the countryside of Putnam and Dutchess counties-roughly twice as far as Revere rode-to alert the militia with the same message: The British are coming! When she got back home, some 400 troops had gathered at the Ludington residence to fight the British, whom they ultimately forced to retreat in what became known as the Battle of Ridgefield.

Sybil's ride spanned over 40 miles through the countryside of Putnam and Dutchess counties. Her ride was roughly twice as far as Revere's ride.

The rest, as they say, is history...or is it? Jennifer Cassidy, aide to the Putnam County Historian's Office & Archives, allows that several versions of the story exist and reluctantly acknowledges that some historians have discredited the story. But she also points out the multiple tributes to the ride-a commemorative Sybil Ludington stamp from the mid 1970's, an NRA award named in her honor, and a replica of the statue of Sybil Ludington that stands in Carmel today.

A replica of Sybil Ludington and her horse Star stands in Carmel today.

Gloria Smith is a freelance writer, contributing articles on a wide range of subjects from health to history and real estate.