Winners named in DAR essay contest

Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 10:11 AM.

During our younger years, my father was a miller and the justice of the peace. Then in June of 1776, my father took the position of Colonel of the Seventh Militia. The area that he was in charge of had a large population of Tories and informers.

One day, Daddy learned that the British had placed a bounty on his life. This news did not discourage the Colonel from his duties no Sybil’s plight to help her father. Sybil served many nights on Sentry duty and many times saved our father’s life.

On April 5, 1777, Sybil turned 16 years old. Twenty-one days later, on the night of April 26, 1777, Sybil heard talking outside of our window. Our parents were talking to a man who had ridden up very quickly to our home. The rider and horse were wet with sweat and exhausted. He told them that about 2,000 British soldiers were in Danbury, and they were searching stores for the Continental Army’s ammunition, guns, and supplies. The British marked with chalk the properties of those that were loyal to the British and to be unharmed. Sybil wanted to know what was happening. Father told her the British were attacking Danbury. Syb said that she could ride and warn the neighbors and to muster his troops. Sybil pleaded with our parents, when finally they gave in.

Bent low over her horse, Syb rode hard and fast from Carmel to Cold Spring. She avoided known paths which made the journey even more dangerous because of the risk to her horse, but the most treacherous part of the journey was the informers that hid in the darkness of the secret trails throughout the woods. Her deep commitment to the cause of freedom at such a young age drove her every mile. House to house she went, yelling as she passed, “Danbury’s burning! Soldiers are coming! Muster at Ludington’s Home!” Seeing a light come on, she knew she had been heard; so she continued on to the next house. Forty miles she rode. “By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburg, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.” About 400 troops marched to Danbury, but they were too late to save the town, it was burning. However they did fight many of the British as the British left the area.

Because of Sybil’s brave actions, George Washington came to our house in person and thanked her and my dad for their bravery. Just think, the commanding general of the colonial forces was at our house! What a wonderful and exciting moment for my family!

Looking back on my younger years, remembering the hard times we suffered to gain our freedom, I feel so proud of my sister. I am not trying to compare her ride with that of Paul Revere’s and its midnight message, but my sister was only a child. Both rides were true acts of true Patriots, and in my mind, neither were more important than the other.

A few years later, Sybil married Edgar Ogden who had served in the Revolutionary War with the Navy under the Connecticut Continentals. Sybil had one child, a son that she named Henry. Thankfully, the rest of her life was calm and filled with love and laughter.

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