1975 8¢ Contributors to the Cause: Sybil Ludington
US #1559 – Ludington was honored as part of the Contributors to the Cause Bicentennial Series.

Revolutionary heroine Sybil Ludington was born on April 5, 1761 in Kent, New York.  

The oldest of 12 children, Sybil was the daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington, the leader of the local militia in Patterson, New York. During the Revolutionary War, Sybil wanted to join the militia as well.

1975 8¢ Sybil Ludington Classic First Day Cover
US #1559 – Classic First Day Cover

Early in the war, a group of 50 Loyalists approached the Ludington house to capture her father. But Sybil lit candles all around the house and had her siblings march military style in front of the windows to scare them off. And it worked. 

Sybil’s claim to fame came on the night of April 26, 1777. As Sybil was tucking her siblings into bed, a messenger arrived at the family house. He had news that the British were burning the town of Danbury, Connecticut – the militia’s supply center. With only 150 militiamen in town at the time, Sybil’s father knew he needed to muster additional troops to protect the town from a British attack. With only hours before they’d arrive, he needed a volunteer to ride fast and hard to bring back troops. Sybil volunteered in a heartbeat.

1975 8¢ Sybil Ludington Fleetwood First Day Cover
US #1559 – Fleetwood First Day Cover

It was 9 p.m. before Sybil got underway. By then, the glow from the burning town of Danbury could be seen for miles. She traveled 40 miles alone on horseback and in the dark. She banged a stick on doors to rouse the locals, calling out, “Muster at Ludington’s!”

Sybil rode all night through the rain – at one time fending off highwaymen with her father’s musket. Finally, exhausted after riding 40 miles, she returned home shortly before dawn.

1975 8¢ Sybil Ludington Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover
US #1559 – Colorano Silk Cachet First Day Cover

There, 400 members of the local militia had gathered and soon marched off. They were too late to save Danbury, but in the Battle of Ridgefield and other skirmishes, the British were so thoroughly harassed that they were driven back to their ships. They did not raid deep into Connecticut for the rest of the war.

1935 3¢ Connecticut Tercentenary
US #772 – Ludington’s efforts helped drive the British out of Connecticut.

News of Sybil’s ride spread, and General George Washington personally went to her house to thank her for her courage. Alexander Hamilton also wrote her a letter of thanks.

1932 Washington Bicentennial: 6¢ Washington by John Trumbull
US #711 – from the Washington Bicentennial Series

After the war, Sybil got married and had one son. She died on February 26, 1839. In 1935, in honor of her ride, New York State placed markers along the route it’s speculated she took. And since 1979, there has been a Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer race that closely follows the path of her ride.

Click here to see a statue in Carmel, New York honoring Sybil’s ride.

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  1. I had never heard of this brave woman and her contribution to the Revolutionary War effort. Thank you Mystic for today’s article.

  2. When I was growing up one town over from Danbury CT, a school trip to the Scott-Fanton Museum in 4th or 5th grade was part of social studies class. They used to have this great miniature recreation of the Burning of Danbury and the docents always told the story of Sybil Ludington. She was only 16, rode further than Paul Revere in worse weather, and raised more militiamen.

  3. Learning about a truly heroic and valiant young American Lady is awesome !! Thank, you for the update about the contribution and heroic actions of Sybil Ludington during the American Revolutionary War. I am so happy to learn about another great American that I just discovered, thanks to Mystic.. At her young age, she absolutely understood why she did want to live her life under British control and her contributions to avoid that from happening are great !!

  4. George, I think your last sentence should read, she did not want to live…
    But thank you for your comments and Thank you Mystic for informing me on so many of the US stamps I own but never really paid attention to the stories behind them. Thanks to all the heroes and heroines young and old who are currently giving of themselves to help us.

  5. My retirement years have perked up since getting back to stamp collecting again. Now I know who Sybil Ludington is and I’m glad to know her valuable contribution to our history! She should be remembered!

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