2017-04-26 / Front Page

Sybil Ludington comes to life on the 240th anniversary of her ride

Eric Gross

History came to life throughout the Putnam County seat Thursday when Sybil Ludington rode into town atop her mount warning the militia forces that the British army was burning Danbury.

Sybil rides across the Gleneida lakeshore. In real life Sybil is 16 year old Kailie Nolan of East Durham, a hamlet in the Catskills, in Greene County. Photo/Eric GrossSybil rides across the Gleneida lakeshore. In real life Sybil is 16 year old Kailie Nolan of East Durham, a hamlet in the Catskills, in Greene County. Photo/Eric GrossThe reenactment celebrated Sybil’s famous ride on the night of April 26, 1777, when the 16 year old daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington rode more than twice the distance of Paul Revere on her trusted horse Star.

Historian the Rev. Larry Maxwell of Patterson told a crowd of more than 500 gathered along the Lake Gleneida shoreline that included school children from throughout the county, “Sybil’s ride embraces the values expressed in our country’s founding. She represents the persistence of all Americans while embodying our values and beliefs.”

The Rev. Maxwell said the weather on the night of Sybil’s ride resembled Thursday’s inclement conditions: “It was wet and rainy and foggy that famous night.”

Former Putnam and Carmel Town Historian Allan Warnecke told the children that 12 of his ancestors served in Ludington’s militia and Wayne Ryder, a life long Carmel resident and President of the Putnam County National Bank, said his great-great-great grandfather also served with the colonel: “I remember hearing stories as a small child from my parents and grandparents related to his bravery.”

County Executive MaryEllen Odell, a pioneer in her own right being the first female county executive in Putnam history, admitted that Sybil had inspired her: “She realized what was at stake. Her ride is such a powerful message–one girl, one American–who decided to declare her independence from tyranny.”

Retired Brigadier General, West Point graduate and Sheriff Don Smith told the gathering: “Sybil broke the glass ceiling 240 years ago when she took that ride knowing even back then that freedom isn’t free.”

Children in attendance were at awe. Nine year old Timmy said he heard a “lot about Sybil from my grandpa. Now I have seen her. She was a brave girl.”

For his classmate, Rachel, “Sybil is my hero. When I think that something can’t be done, Sybil comes to my mind and the project always gets completed.”

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