Laura Secord was an incredibly gutsy woman.
When she overheard plans by the Americans to attack the British soldiers defending Canada in the War of 1812, she walked almost 20 miles from her home in Queenston to warn them. She was determined to get the message to the British soldiers, under the command of Lieutenant FitzGibbon, at Beaver Dams, where the Americans planned to attack.
This was no walk in the park. It was over varied terrain in 19th century ladies’ shoes and clothing which, it may safely be assumed, were not designed for much other than drinking tea in parlours and visiting a shop or two on the odd occasion. She didn’t go by the main road, because she didn’t want to be stopped by more American soldiers. Even though she was afraid when she came upon a camp of Iroquois, she asked for directions and was pleased to find that they supported the British. She was even more pleased that a guide accompanied her to Decew House, where FitzGibbon and his men were in a meeting.
The message borne by Laura Secord made a huge difference in the outcome of the Battle of Beaver Dams. The British ambushed and defeated the Americans, and gladly took all the credit in their official reports. Laura Secord didn’t even get a mention.
It is rather good, though, that her homestead has been preserved, and that there is a lovely monument to Laura Secord and her bravery in Queenston Heights Park.
I visited her homestead today, and was thrilled to find her monument when I went to see the monument to Isaac Brock, a key figure in the War of 1812 and the Battle of Queenston Heights.
There is also a wonderful chain of chocolate stores named in her honour. The founder of Laura Secord Chocolates wanted her memory to be preserved and the story of her bravery to be told.
It’s a big ask, but I am willing to do my part in perpetuating the memory of this Canadian heroine.
I’m calling it a patriotic duty.