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The Midnight Ride of ... Sybil Ludington

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Sybil was called upon to serve the independence of her newly forming country a short three weeks after her 16th birthday. She had just finished helping her mother put all her younger siblings to bed when an exhausted rider arrived from Danbury with the news that the British were burning the city.


White dot indicates general location of Ludington's ride. by Public domain by www.cpdclipart.org


Map of Ludington's route by Meryl Ann Butler

Some have questioned why that rider wasn't charged with rounding up the Patriots. But more importantly than his exhaustion, he wouldn't have known which houses to avoid. One knock on the wrong door and the motley group's primary ally - the element of surprise - would be lost.

Although Sybil remains relatively unknown in American History classes, in 1975 she was honored with a stamp in the " Contributors to the Cause " United States Bicentennial series.


Sybil Ludington stamp, issued in 1975. by Public Domain.

It's fitting that Sybil was also honored with a statue created by another spirited American woman, Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973.) Huntington was a classically trained sculptor, known for her stunning, life-like figures of animals, particularly horses.

Huntington was 84 when she created the statue to honor Sybil. Her one-and-one-third life-size bronze statue of the young girl riding her horse was erected along Ludington's route near Carmel, New York, in 1961. State markers have designated the route since 1935.

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Sybil's horse, "Star," was a birthday gift from her grandfather, and is alluded to in the phrase, "stellar job."

The Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer footrace has been held along her general route every April since 1979. The hilly race finishes near her statue on the shore of Lake Gleneida . This year's race was held on April 16th.

According to the Enoch Crosby Chapter of the DAR in Carmel, NY (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyeccdar/sybil_ludington.htm):

The legend states that while (Sybil) was helping to put her brothers and sisters to bed on the evening of April 26, 1777, little did she know that the British were plundering Danbury, Connecticut, only 25 miles away.  They had landed near Westport, Connecticut, and marched to Danbury where they knew supplies such as clothing, medicine and ammunition along with barrels of pork, flour and molasses were stored for the Continental Army -- but they didn't know about the rum.  Meeting little resistance, the invaders set fire to the storage barns and when they discovered the rum, it was only a short time before the officers lost all control of their men.

The plaque near the statue reads:

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Sybil Ludington

Revolutionary War Hero

April 26, 1777

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http://www.merylannbutler.com

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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