Saturday, July 10, 2021

A Ride as Daring as That of Paul’s

By Suzanne Norquist

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of a lovely feminine Paul Revere
Who rode an equally famous ride
Through a different part of the countryside,
Where Sybil Ludington’s name recalls
A ride as daring as that of Paul’s.”

This poem by Berton Bradley describes a ride similar to that of Paul Revere; however, few have heard of the poem or the ride.
Sybil Ludington’s famous ride took place on April 26, 1777. No one published anything about it for over a hundred years. The earliest reference surfaced in 1880. A brief vignette appeared later in the account of her father’s life published in 1907.

Her father, the colonel of the local militia, had disbanded the men for planting season. When he learned of British troops heading toward Danbury, Connecticut, he needed to rally his men. Sixteen-year-old Sybil, oldest of twelve children, eagerly accepted the challenge.

Sybil rode all night—forty miles—on horseback, through Carmel, New York on to Mahopac, then to Kent Cliffs and Farmers Mills, knocking on doors with a stick. Meanwhile, as the four-hundred men arrived, her father organized them to march. Unlike Paul Revere, she wasn’t caught.

The American militia wasn’t able to save Danbury, but they did drive the British army to Long Island Sound. Apparently, friends, neighbors, and even George Washington thanked her.

The story never made it into the history books but was passed down through the family and came to light in 1880 when her great-grandson shared it.

Details were limited, but over time, storytellers filled in the holes. Who doesn’t want to cheer for a young female heroine who had been overlooked? Stories and reenactments abound. In 1975, the United States Postal Service published a stamp in her honor. Statues and historical markers celebrate her heroism.

The Daughters of the American Revolution don’t believe there is enough documentation to support claims that she is a war heroine. They don’t sell books about her in their stores.

Sybil married Edward Ogden in 1787 when she was twenty-three years old. The couple had one child, a son, before her husband passed away in 1799. As a tavern owner, she raised her son and helped him become a lawyer. After her son passed away, she applied for a Revolutionary War pension based on her husband’s service. Her application was denied because she had insufficient proof of marriage. At age seventy-seven, she died in poverty.

Her story makes me wonder how many other heroes and heroines live in obscurity. Maybe someday we will celebrate their stories too.


"Mending Sarah’s Heart" by Suzanne Norquist
in the Thimbles and Threads Collection
Four historical romances celebrating the arts of sewing and quilting.

Rockledge, Colorado, 1884

Sarah seeks a quiet life as a seamstress. She doesn’t need anyone, especially her dead husband’s partner. If only the Emporium of Fashion would stop stealing her customers, and the local hoodlums would leave her sons alone. When she rejects her husband’s share of the mine, his partner Jack seeks to serve her through other means. But will his efforts only push her further away?

For a Free Preview, click here:

Suzanne Norquist is the author of two novellas, “A Song for Rose” in A Bouquet of Brides Collection and “Mending Sarah’s Heart” in the Thimbles and Threads Collection. Everything fascinates her. She has worked as a chemist, professor, financial analyst, and even earned a doctorate in economics. Research feeds her curiosity, and she shares the adventure with her readers. She lives in New Mexico with her mining engineer husband and has two grown children. When not writing, she explores the mountains, hikes, and attends kickboxing class.

She authors a blog entitled, Ponderings of a BBQ Ph.D.


  1. Thanks for the interesting post! It's sad that she couldn't get that pension. Maybe all the paperwork we are buried with these days has a purpose after all. It's all about the documentation, right?

    1. Thanks. It is easy to forget that we didn't always keep many records.