On the last day of March, one of my college friends wrote an article about “famous” women whose stories many of us don’t know. I was happy that I did recognize most of the women she wrote about in her article, but there was one, Sybil Ludington, that I had not heard of before. She has quite a story and I want to share it with you this week. I do so with no apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, because, frankly this is the poem he should have written (in my not-so-humble opinion).
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of a hero more amazing than Paul Revere
A 16-year old girl, Sybil, and her horse named Star
Rode through a the night sounding alarms near and far
Two thousand British had arrived on shore
Twenty transports and six warships ready for war
Inland they marched to Danbury
Looking for the supplies of the Continental Army
In barns and storerooms they found food, cots, and clothes
Wine and rum too, which they used to warm their toes
Houses of British loyal were marked with chalk
Unmarked buildings were burned like dried corn stalks
A call for help was sent post haste
To rally the militia before the town was waste
To Colonel Ludington’s a messenger rode
Arriving with his tale of woe
The Colonel’s regiment had disbanded
Because planting and farm work was demanded
Could the messenger ride from farm to farm
To collect the troops and sound the alarm?
No, his horse was tired, and he did not know the way
So to the oldest of 12 children the Colonel turned that day
Sybil and her horse named Star left at 9’oclock that rainy night
To collect the troops to fight the good fight
Forty miles she rode, through dark woods and rain
From Kent to Mahopec to Stormville and back again.
Defending herself from a highwayman with only a stick
By dawn, when she returned, the regiment had assembled—and quick!
They could not save Danbury from burning to the ground
But they did drive the British back to Long Island Sound
Sybil and Star are now remembered in statue and stamp and history
For their bravery and commitment to liberty.
By the way, Sybil’s ride took place on April 25, 1777, so we are getting close to an anniversary.
© 2015 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.