A bit of history

Sybil Ludington Memorial, Carmel, New York, © Steven Willard

I had an appointment at the VA clinic this morning and got to Carmel so early I had time to do something I’ve been meaning to do for years, stop and photograph this monument.

There was a time when kids in school learned about Paul Revere’s midnight ride. Perhaps they still do. The “source material” was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem published January, 1861, years after Revere died in 1818. Although he was fairly well known in his lifetime, it was nothing like the fame he was to achieve after his death. It was Longfellow’s poem, a poem which historians will point out strays a bit from historical accuracy, that turned him into an American folk hero.

What is not so well known is that only a couple of years after Revere’s ride, a sixteen year old young woman named Sybil Ludington performed much the same service, warning of the British move on Danbury, Connecut.

 

Sybil Ludington, Carmel, New York © Steven Willard

 

Unfortunately, there was no Longfellow to make her famous, a common fate for women who all too often have been left out of the histories written by men.

I didn’t notice until I had the image up on the screen that Sybil is riding side saddle. It brought to mind the comment about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. “He was fantastic, but Ginger did everything he did but backwards and in high heels”.

Olympus OMD EM1 with 12-40mm f2.8 zoom.

 

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