On April 15th, Lincoln, the town where I lived celebrated the alarm and muster of the minutemen. That was the night when Paul Revere rode out from Boston to warn that the British regulars were marching on Concord. What many people don’t realize is that Revere was captured in Lincoln. There’s a monument marking the event in the Minute Man National Park. In fact, there were multiple riders that night, most of
whom never received proper credit. In Lincoln, it was Captain William Smith who rode into town (I had the honor of riding as him in the reenactment for several years).
But there were many other riders who took on the task of warning the Colonial militia of approaching British troops and, apparently, at least one teen aged old girl.
On April 26th in Putnam County (New York, but on the Connecticut line), 16 year old Sybil Ludington rode her horse Star all the way to 40 miles — twice the distance ridden by Paul Revere — to warn the militia that the British were burning nearby Danbury, Conn.
The young woman left at 9 p.m. and rode all night through pouring rain to knock on doors and gather troops. At one point fighting off a highway man with a stick! Altogether she raised 400 soldiers who drove the British from the area. She would later be commended by George Washington for her heroism.
Each April since 1979, the Sybil Ludington 50-kilometer footrace has been held in Carmel, New York. The course of this hilly road race approximates Sybil’s historic ride, and finishes near the statue which was erected in her honor on the shore of Lake Gleneida, Carmel, New York.
Funnily enough, my grandparents live in Putnam county, not far off Sybil’s route. Their house is one of the many that it was rumored housed George Washington, but I only recently learned of Sybil’s historic ride. Now that I know, I’ll add her to the list of famous riders and will celebrate her daring and courage every April 26th.