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ON AN APRIL NIGHT - 1777 

By Fred C. Warner, 

The showers fell gently that April night ;

 On town and country alike they fell , 

As the Ludington family by candle light 

Settled down for an evening they loved so well. 

 

Through the rain and darkness a horseman came ; 

From Danbury town to the west he had sped ; 

“ Come over and help us - our homes are aflame , 

Call out your militia ! ” , the horseman said . 

 

The steed was exhausted , the rider spent 

For the way was long and the pace was hard ; 

Who now would see that the word was sent 

To the hundreds of men of Ludington's Guard ? 

 

Promptly bear tidings of anguish and fear 

To farms and hamlets o'er valley and hill ; 

The mission was urgent , its meaning was clear , 

Up spake young Sybil , “ Please , Daddy , I will . ” 

 

The big bay colt she had broken to ride 

Was saddled and bridled and led from his stall ;

 In jeans and loose garments , she mounted astride , 

The country folk would soon hear her call . 

 

On the trail by the river she rode through the night , 

Spreading on down the valley the news and alarm 

That a city was burning , to come enter the fight 

From every cottage and hamlet and farm.

 

By the Lake of Gleneida and Mahopac's shore , 

Where fishermen's loved ones in slumber were still , 

Now woke to the chant of the message she bore , 

“ Muster at once at Ludington's Mill ! ” 

 

To the west and then north she soon made her way;

Where families of miners next heard her shrill call ; 

Through the thick of the forest where bandits held sway 

She sped on regardless of danger and all . 

 

Ever onward advancing through the dark and the rain 

She came to the northernmost point of her way ; 

Her steed was quick in response to her rein 

And brought her back home ere the dawn of the day . 

 

The story is known how the militiamen came , 

How the British were conquered and freedom was won ; 

And our people today are proud of the name 

And tell of the fame of Sybil Ludington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sybil Ludington's Ride 

By Berton Braley

 

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. 

 

In April, Seventeen Seventy-Seven, 

A smoky glow in the eastern heaven 

(A fiery herald of war and slaughter) 

Came to the eyes of the Colonel's daughter. 

"Danbury's burning," she cried aloud. 

The Colonel answered, " 'Tis but a cloud,

A cloud reflecting the campfires red, 

So hush you, Sybil, and go to bed." 

 

"I hear the sound of the cannon drumming"

“ 'Tis only the wind in the treetops humming! 

So go to bed, as a young lass ought, 

And give the matter no further thought."

 Young Sybil sighed as she turned to go, 

"Still, Danbury's burning-that I know." 

 

Sound of a horseman riding hard 

Clatter of hoofs in the manor yard 

Feet on the steps and a knock resounding 

As a fist struck wood with a mighty pounding. 

The doors flung open, a voice is heard, 

"Danbury's burning-I rode with word; 

Fully half of the town's gone 

And the British-the British are coming on.

 Send a messenger, get our men!" 

His message finished the horseman then

 Staggered wearily to a chair 

And fell exhausted in slumber there. 

 

The Colonel muttered, "And who, my friend, 

Is the messenger I can send? 

Your strength is spent and you cannot ride

 And then, you know not the countryside;

 I cannot go for my duty's clear; 

When my men come in they must find me here; 

There's devil a man on the place tonight

 To warn my troopers to come-and fight. 

Then, who is my messenger to be?" 

Said Sybil Ludington, "You have me." 

 

"You!" said the Colonel, and grimly smiles, 

"You! My daughter, you're just a child." 

"Child!" cried Sybil. "Why I'm sixteen! 

My mind's alert and my senses keen, 

I know where the trails and the roadways are 

And I can gallop as fast and far 

As any masculine rider can. 

You want a messenger? I'm your Man!" 

 

The Colonel's heart was aglow with pride. 

"Spoke like a soldier. Ride, girl, ride 

Ride like the devil; ride like sin; 

Summon my slumbering troopers in. 

I know when duty is to be done 

That I can depend on a Ludington!" 

 

So over the trails to the towns and farms 

Sybil delivered the call to arms. 

Riding swiftly without a stop 

Except to rap with a riding crop 

On the soldiers' doors, with a sharp tattoo 

And a high-pitched feminine halloo. 

"Up! Up there, soldier. You're needed, come! 

The British are marching!" and then the drum

 Of her horse's feet as she rode apace 

To bring more men to the meeting place. 

 

Sybil grew weary and faint and drowsing, 

Her limbs were aching, but still she rode 

Until she finished her task of rousing 

Each sleeping soldier from his abode, 

Showing her father, by work well done, 

That he could depend on a Ludington. 

 

Dawn in the skies with its tints of pearl 

And the lass who rode in a soldier's stead 

Turned home, only a tired girl 

Thinking of breakfast and then to bed 

With never a dream that her ride would be

 A glorious legend of history; 

Nor that posterity's hand would mark 

Each trail she rode through the inky dark, 

Each path to figure in song and story 

As a splendid, glamorous path of glory

To prove, as long as the ages run, 

That "you can depend on a Ludington." 

 

Such is the legend of Sybil's ride 

To summon the men from the countryside 

A true tale, making her title clear 

As a lovely feminine Paul Revere!

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Fred C. Warner's map of Sybil's Ride

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