Laura Secord, Heroine of Beaver Dams
Her name is associated with a candy company that is found in almost every Canadian shopping mall. Yet, she never made any chocolate.
Laura Secord’s adventures started when her husband, James Secord, a sergeant in the 1st Lincoln militia was wounded early on in the War of 1812. She managed to rescue him from the battlefield during the battle of Queenston Heights. He was lucky to survive this battle as others, such as Major-General Isaac Brock, did not.
In June of 1813, Queenston was still occupied by American troops when James and Laura Secord were forced to host some American officers in their home. That’s when she overheard the Americans plan to surprise the British outpost at Beaver Dams and capture the officer in charge, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. Her husband, given his injuries, was unable to deliver this message to the British so she set out to do it herself. The direct route to the outpost was 12 miles (about 20 kilometers), and Laura was worried that she would encounter American guards on her way there. She decided it would be better to travel through fields and forests; it wasn’t easy and when she finally arrived, she was exhausted.
After she crossed the Twelve Mile Creek on a fallen tree, Laura was surprised to come upon a First Nations’ encampment. Once her mission was explained, the chief took her directly to FitzGibbon. Two days later, American troops were ambushed near Beaver Dams by First Nations warriors. FitzGibbon then persuaded the much larger American forces to surrender.
Official reports of the victory make no mention of her. However, FitzGibbon later recounted her contribution.
June 22, 2013 will mark the 200th anniversary of Laura Secord’s historic walk to warn the British outpost of the impending enemy attack. Over the years, her heroic efforts have been documented in many ways. Here are some of them:
- Watch the Laura Secord Heritage Minute video.
- A Laura Secord statue was installed in 2006 at the Valiants Memorial, located in downtown Ottawa. To learn more about the memorial, listen to these audio clips.
- Canada Post issued a Laura Secord 42 cent stamp in September, 1992.
- Canada Post will also issue a new stamp in 2013.
Want to know more? Here are some useful links:
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