As I am writing my final paper on Miss Sybil Ludington, the respect I have for what she did has really sunk in. In our readings this week, Sybil showed up in a collection of stories of incredible women in the time of the Revolution. Surprisingly, she was not compared to Paul Revere. Of all the research I have found on her, she is always called the “Female Paul Revere” yet in the book, Revolutionary Mothers, a lady named Debrah Champion was in comparison with him. This week, I’ll discuss briefly a comparison on Champion and Ludington. Champion’s ride was to Boston to delivery General Washington. Like Sybil, a horseman rode to her home to confer with her father but she took the job for herself. Champion did not ride alone like Sybil did but was instead accompanied by a family servant. Sybil rode to warn her father’s militia and Champion rode to deliver dispatches. Revere was part of the alarm system making his ride more comparable to Sybil who rode to warn her father’s men. While Champion’s ride is just as important as Sybil’s, I believe Sybil is more like Revere than Champion. However, with these two incredible women that did a similar job as Revere, why are they so much less known?
Berkin, Carol. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence. New York: n.p., 2006. Print.
This week in class, the subject of women in wartime was discussed. Women had different roles such as nurses, helping soldiers, and morale but all were important aspects to the Revolution. Sybil Ludington fits into the category of Women of Wartime but in a different aspect. Her father was a general so she was a high class woman and did not live in the camps. Normally, higher class women were more known for morale and attending parties for appearances however, Sybil was a fighter. She did not fit into this category. As stated in my previous posts, it is apparent Sybil was not afraid to take on a man’s role of fighting, warning others, protecting her family, and goes on to join the war as a part of the warning system for the rest of the Revolution. Sybil is a unique character in the war because she does not follow not only her gender roles but also her class role. She demonstrates the bravery of a man but the protective nature of a mother all shown in her actions throughout the war.
Sybil Ludington was a very relevant figure in the Revolutionary War but why is she so unknown? Her story was actually never written in print until 1907 by Lundington’s descents in a biography of her father, Colonel Ludington. Her story had been passed down by word of mouth and became a legend but why did it take so long for her story to be written? The evidence of this may never really be discovered but it is stated that her family had first hand knowledge of her story. We can look into the history of her father, as he was an influential part of the Revolution, fought, led, and defied the British, it is understandable that his accounts were written down almost immediately. Sybil’s ride was so important but realistically, it was one event. However, that one event led to a greater purpose in the Revolution and she later continued to help in the alarm system that was made for the troops. I am in no way saying she was in any way lesser than her father but when taking into account that women (especially a child) just did not do things such as this, her history is so important and different. So why did it take so long to write it down?
Pollak, Michael. “Heroine of 1777 Still All in a Revolutionary Lather.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Oct. 1995. Web. 28 Jan. 2017.
How can a man as influential and important to the Revolution as Henry Ludington be so progressive in his time to trust his daughter with confidential information? In this time in history, having a son was important especially as the oldest. There were standards that sons were to live up to such as protecting the family and learning under the dad of how to be a man in this world. Sybil Ludington was the eldest and a girl. Henry took a real chance with the social norms by how much he trusted his daughter. He raised her to have courage and she proved herself time and again that she had the same potential as any man. Henry once stood with the British but later joined the Revolution and became a patriot. According to some sources, Sybil was even invited by her father to speak with his fellow patriots. She was obviously very educated for a woman of this time and also very protective of her family just like her father. One night she even fooled the British army into thinking there was a protection patrol outside of her house just to save her father from invasion/capture. If Henry Ludington followed social norms and just taught his girl to do the dishes, history may have taken a different turn because his life may have been taken earlier but instead he taught his daughter to be just as protective as a man. She saved many lives because of this, including her father’s.
Before Sybil Ludington was making history and riding to warn soldiers, she was simply the eldest child in her family. Her responsibilities were immensely important to her family such as taking care of 11 other children and protecting them when her father had gone off to war. She and her sister were also responsible for protecting her small town by keeping them updated and warned. Of the 12 children that her father had, he only trusted Sybil and one other child with the codes used in the revolution to spread news. She was trusted immensely by her father and everyone in the town while demonstrating wonderful skill in horse riding. Sybil seemed to have always been very protective and responsible due to necessity of the hard times America was undergoing. After the night of her heroic ride, Sybil became a regular messenger and aided the American Revolution until she married a lawyer. After the war, her and her husband opened an inn where Sybil worked for the rest of her life. From very early in her life, Sybil had been trusted with much information about the war that it is unsurprising that she stepped up to a heroic situation and worked hard to help America in the revolution.
Can you imagine, in a world where women were “lesser” than men, a girl who has barely hit puberty takes on the job of a revolutionary soldier because she could. This week, I’d like to discuss how Sybil Ludington failed her initial mission but succeeded in the long run of history. Sybil Ludington was born in 1761 which made her 16 in 1777 when a messenger came to her house at night to warn her father of incoming danger. Danbury was being burned and attacked by British soldiers but her father’s militia was off duty in their own homes. The messenger did not know where the militia lived but Sybil did! She rode and banged on doors only on the doors of her father’s men. After her 40 mile ride, the militia arrived at Danbury only to find they were too late. So why is she important if her mission failed and a city was destroyed? While her ride did not accomplish what everyone hoped for but because the men were already assembled when they were not originally supposed to, they were already prepared for the fight at Ridgefield with the British on the next day. So while things may not happen as planned, a success in the future might be capable because of a failure.
The Female Paul Revere
“The British are coming! The British are coming!” These are the words that everyone knows about and connects them to Paul Revere (even though it’s thought that he never actually said this). While Revere’s ride was important why is his ride the only one remembered? Sybil Ludington did the exact same thing but most have never heard of her. For this week’s post, I would like to compare Revere’s and Ludington’s rides and let you decide who history should have remembered more.
Paul Revere was important to history in more ways than his ride, he was indeed part of the revolution and helped organize the alarm system but out of all his efforts in the war the ride is the most famous. His ride was 25 miles, was not the only rider, and was the beginning of his alarm system that included lanterns and loud noises.
Sybil was 16 years old when her father’s militia was about to be attacked near Danbury. The militia’s men were scattered in their homes all around and in the middle of the night so probably asleep. The original messenger did not know the area so was not confident in running this warning around. Sybil rode 40 miles to warn her father’s men and even defended herself with her dad’s musket. She saved 400 men in one night’s ride.
So while Paul Revere was a bigger part in the Revolution as a whole, in regards to the same act that both people did, I believe Sybil’s ride should be more known.
Welcome to my blog about my historical badass, Sybil Ludington. She is the daughter of Henry Ludington who was a colonel in the revolution. Long story short, she is famous for riding her horse at night to warn the militia of the British forces attack on Danbury, Connecticut. This ride is similar to the one of Paul Revere but her ride was twice as long (40 miles) and she was only 16 at the time (April 26,1776). She is now a legend but is not very well known because Revere is the one that history decided to recognise.
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