March is Women’s History Month. So it seems quite fitting that we’re featuring this statue of the young woman often referred to as “the female Paul Revere.”
The American Revolution was in full swing in April 1777. Led by New York’s colonial governor, Gen. William Tyron, a contingent of British troops 2,000 strong had made its way from Fairfield to Danbury, Connecticut. There they discovered several sparsely guarded Continental Army storehouses full of sugar, rice, flour, meat — and rum. Before long, Tyron had lost control of his men, who looted all the supplies they could carry, consumed much of the alcohol, and set fire to the storehouses as well as several private homes. Messengers rode off to warn local colonists that the British were on the rampage.
Twenty-five miles away, in a small town then known as Fredericksburg, word of the attack reached the commander of the all-volunteer 7th Regiment of Dutchess County. The commander knew he had to muster his men, but they were asleep on their farms, which were scattered miles apart in every direction. Who could he send to rouse them?
As it turns out, it was his 16-year-old daughter who rode off into the rainy night to sound the alarm. Armed with nothing but a sharp stick — which she alternately used to fend off highwaymen and urge on her horse, Star — the teen covered 40 miles between 9 p.m. and dawn (which, by the way, is more than twice the distance Revere traveled on his famous jaunt). By the time she returned home, most of the regiment’s 400 militiamen were ready to march.
The colonial soldiers were unable to save Danbury, but they did succeed in driving the Redcoats back to Long Island Sound (and away from the Valley). The young rider was congratulated by many — including Gen. Washington himself — for the vital role she played in the colonists’ success. In 1975, her midnight ride was commemorated on a postage stamp; since 1979, a 50-kilometer road race that (more or less) retraces her route has been held each April. But she was best immortalized by this 1961 Anna Huntington sculpture, which holds a prominent place in a bustling Valley village. Do you know the name of this tenacious teen, and in which village her statue stands? If so, E-mail us at email@example.com. The first reader with the correct answer wins a small prize. Good luck!