National Treasure #162: Laura Secord

A chocolate shop? No, no, its namesake: Laura Ingersoll Secord.

What she did

Trek about 30 km through difficult terrain in 1813 to warn the British of an impending American attack.

What she didn’t do

Go barefoot or drag a cow along or encounter American sentries.

What we don’t know

Whether she was first with the news. The British officer she warned later supported her application for a war pension (unsuccessfully) but was unable to say for certain that she got there before Mohawk scouts had already warned him.

Why it doesn’t matter

She did something brave and hard. That’s enough, yeah?

What to do if you want to know more

Watch the Laura Secord Heritage Minute.

Read her biography on the War of 1812 website.



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5 Responses to National Treasure #162: Laura Secord

  1. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – I have visited Laura Secord’s home in the Village of Queenston; the place where she overheard the American plans for an attack on Lt. FitzGibbon and his forces at Beaver Dams. The confusion with respect to the Mohawks may lie in the fact that Secord was led around the American sentries by some friendly Indians she met along the way. Laura Secord’s grave and monument are in the cemetery at Lundy’s Lane, now part of the City of Niagara Falls. That cemetery became the focus of a later battle, the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, the bloodiest battle ever fought on Canadian soil; but that battle occurred long before Laura’s death.

    Strangely enough or maybe not so strange, the Laura Secord home is now owned by the Laura Secord Chocolate Company and the gift shop is almost as large as the original home.
    John W

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – Thanks for the extra context. I didn’t realize that Laura was buried in what is now Niagara Falls. If we go again (to try for photos on a blue-sky day), I’ll look her up. The confusion over exactly who gave the alert about the impending attack reminds me of Gen Hillier’s comment about the first report from the battlefield being wrong – and the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. At least. In the middle of fighting a war, it’s maybe not surprising that Lt Fitzgibbon didn’t have perfect recall!

  2. Ian Hepher says:

    I couldn’t resist adding a little more enrichment in the form of this piece of music by the Ontario band Tanglefoot (now defunct, I believe) about this brave woman.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Ian – Hey, thanks! I would have bet big money against any song using her whole name – Laura Ingersoll Secord – but that just shows what I know.

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