Thursday, March 3, 2011

Teenagers Who Changed The World: Part One

     You know all about Paul Revere and his famous midnight ride, but have you ever heard of Sybil Ludington?
     In April of 1777, the sixteen-year-old was tucking her eight younger siblings into bed when a rainsoaked, weary messenger came to their door. The messenger said that the British were burning down Danbury, Conneticut, the supply center for the militia. Only 150 militia men where there to protect it.
     Somebody had to warn the local farmers. The messenger was too tired to go on and Sybil's father, Colonel Ludington, couldn't go because he had to organize the militiamen they had . So Sybil got on her horse and rode into the rainy night. She found a long stick to bang on doors so she wouldn't have to waste time mounting and dismounting. Bang, shout, ride on.
     Paul Revere rode fourteen miles through Boston over good city roads. Sybil Ludington rode nearly forty over rutted dirt paths and cut across farming fields. Paul Revere rode for around two hours. Ludington rode all night. Paul Revere is in most American history books. Sybil Ludington is not.
     When Sybil was finally able to ride home, four hundred men were ready to march. Later, George Washington came to thank her in person for her bravery. Alexander Hamilton wrote her a letter of praise. Though infrequently mentioned, Sybil Ludington is just as much of a hero as any of the men you've heard about in history class.
     Other heroes include Rebecca and Abigail Bates, ages 19 and 15.  During the war of 1812, their town, Scituate, Massachusetts was captured by the British. American soldiers chased them out and left when the town was secure, leaving the Bates family a few firearms in case they came back, as well as a fife and a drum.
     Three months later, trouble returned. The Bates sisters, their parents gone for the night, saw a boat full of redcoats in the Scituate Harbor. They knew if they tried to shoot, they would only bring down one or two of them and then they would likely be killed themselves.
      But quick-thinking Rebecca had another plan. "You take the drum and I'll take the fife."
     "What good'll that do?" Abigail asked.
     "Scare them," she said.
     The girls played the anther of the American army: Yankee Doodle. The British heard it and thought American soldiers were sounding a call to arms. They turned the boat around so quickly that a man fell overboard.
     Let's no for get the bravery and contributions of Sybil, Rebecca, and Abigial. These girls proved that teenagers are very capable of making a difference.
     Interested? Post a comment below and come back to read about more teenagers who made a difference.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow.... I had no idea. Well, I had heard of Rebecca and Abigail, but not Sybil. That's really cool.