Badass Women in History: Sybil Ludington

Hi, everyone! Today’s post in the Badass Women in History series is about someone who very easily one-upped someone famous, yet never got any recognition because SHOCKER! She was a TEENAGE GIRL!!!! The famous someone I’m talking about is none other than Paul Revere. Yes, the grown-ass dude that rode his horse screaming “the British are coming!” was totally outdone by a 16 year old girl from Putnam County, NY, named Sybil Ludington.

Statue in Carmel, NY commemorating Sybil                               Ludington’s ride                            Image: Encyclopaedia Britannica


On the stormy night of April 26, 1777, a messenger showed up to the door of Colonel Henry Ludington, a veteran of the French-Indian War and commander of the local militia. The British had broken into nearby Danbury, Connecticut and found some military stores (including some whiskey) and were drunkenly ransacking and burning the town. The worst part was, the Colonel’s men were all on furlough.

Around nine o’clock that night, the Colonel’s eldest daughter –sixteen year-old Sybil– grabbed her father’s musket and mounted her horse to begin a valiant ride to warn her father’s men. She rode all night, battling heavy rains and highway men. Around daybreak she had ridden over 40 miles (that’s more than TWICE AS FAR as Paul Revere, BTW) and roused all 400 of her father’s men. While they were too late to stop the British in Danbury, they were able to beat them back, and at a heavy cost to the enemy.

Sybil received personal thanks from George Washington for her bravery that night. At age 23, she married a local farmer and they had one son. She lived until a few days shy of her 78th birthday.

Plaque at the base of the statue of Sybil                 Ludington in Carmel, NY             Image: Encyclopaedia Britannica

Sybil Ludington is just one example of how history conveniently seems to forget the contributions women make to society. I only found out about her from an episode of Mysteries at the Museum from way back. Was her name familiar to you? Let us know in the comments.


Thanks for reading, and until next time!