While everyone is intimately familiar with Paul Revere and his famous midnight ride, far fewer know the story of 16-year old Sybil Ludington. She rode throughout the dark countryside of Putnam County (NY) warning of an impending attack by the British. Her ride, on the night of April 26, 1777, covered more than forty miles which was twice that of the more famous Revere ride. Too small to fit in the saddle atop her trusted horse “Star,” Sybil rode sideways through the thick forests and muddy lanes pulling up in the center of small towns like Mahopac and Farmers Mills and Kents Cliffs. There she would scream at the top of her lungs for the townspeople to rouse themselves and come to the aid of her father, the militia leader Colonel Ludington. Her efforts were successful. The story of this brave little girl raced throughout the region and she was lauded for her heroic act. Even General George Washington came to her home to “pat her on the head and say thank you.”
The Sybil Ludington statue is located in Carmel, N.Y. It was created by perhaps the most famous female sculptor of her time, Anna Hyatt Huntington. The statue is more than life size and depicts the little girl sitting sidesaddle on her charging horse. Sybil is wielding a tree branch to prod “Star” onward through the night and the girl’s mouth is wide open as if in mid-scream. The statue is muscular and poetic at the same time. It is a mighty tribute to a little girl who proved herself during a dark time in America’s infancy.
In my next post you will discover a dual statue which pays tribute to “the men who dug Clinton’s Ditch.”