S is for Secord


Laura Secord (née Ingersoll; 13 September 1775 – 17 October 1868) was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812.  Born in Massachusetts and the daughter of a Revolutionary War patriot, Laura Secord might be an unlikely Canadian icon. But on the evening of June 21, 1813, the 37-year-old wife of a Canadian Loyalist soldier and mother of five learned of secret American plans to ambush a nearby British outpost. But her husband James Secord was bedridden after being seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights. However, Laura hiked across 20 miles (32 km) out of American-occupied territory, through swamps and forests to warn the British, being helped by a group of First Nations men she encountered along the way. She reached Lieutenant James FitzGibbon in the territory that the British still controlled. The information helped the British and their Mohawk warrior allies repel the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams.

Meeting between Laura Secord and Lieutenant FitzGibbon, June 1813 (painting by Lorne Kidd Smith, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-011053)

Meeting between Laura Secord and Lieutenant FitzGibbon, June 1813 (painting by Lorne Kidd Smith, courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-011053)

The official reports of the victory made no mention of Laura Secord. Laura never revealed how she came to know of the American plan, and while she did take a message to FitzGibbon, it is uncertain if she arrived ahead of Aboriginal scouts who also brought the news. FitzGibbon’s report on the battle noted: “At [John] De Cou’s this morning, about seven o’clock, I received information that . . . the Enemy . . . was advancing towards me . . . .” However, FitzGibbon did provide written testimony in support of the Secords’ later petition to the government for a pension, in 1820 and 1827.

Her action was forgotten until 1860, when the future king Edward VII awarded the impoverished widow £100 for her service. Since her death she has been frequently honoured in Canada, taking on mythological overtones. Her tale has been the subject of books, plays, and poetry, often with many embellishments. Since her death, Canada has bestowed honours on her, including schools named after her, monuments, commemorative chocolates, a museum, a memorial stamp and coin, and a statue at the Valiants Memorial in Ottawa.

Further Information:





Details on my 2015 A to Z theme and a linked list of posts can be found on my A to Z Challenge page, which also has a linked list of my 2014 posts.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, we blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The War of 1812’, a military conflict, lasting for two-and-a-half years, fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies. The Memoirs of a British naval officer from the war is central to my novel “Seeking A Knife” – part of the Snowdon Shadows series.

Further reading on The War of 1812: