Laura Secord

Topics: Laura Secord, War of 1812, Niagara Peninsula Pages: 5 (1781 words) Published: January 16, 2013
A heroine is a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her bravery and noble qualities; Laura Secord easily qualifies and exceeds this definition[i]. Her initiative, quick wit, intelligence and physical fortitude have been inspiring people since her story became widely known. Laura Secord is a genuine icon of Canadian history because 200 years later we are still hearing her story and the effects her actions had on the war of 1812. Laura Ingersoll Secord deserves a place of honour in Canadian history because of her exceptional courage, bravery and heroic act which made a significant impact on the outcome of the battle at Beaver Dams. After reviewing the Criteria outlined in the General Guidelines and Specific Guidelines: for evaluating subjects of potential national historic significance, it only makes sense that Laura Secord receives a commemoration by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and be nationally recognized. She clearly meets the outlined criteria which includes; being involved in an action that had a nationally significant impact on Canadian history, being more than 25 years since her death and being a figure of significance prior to the province entering confederation. Laura Ingersoll was born September 13th 1775 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Laura was seldom free of trouble never really knowing the meaning of a carefree childhood. At age eight her birth mother, Elizabeth Dewey, passed away leaving her to look after her three younger sisters. This was difficult considering her father, Thomas Ingersoll, was an American Officer and constantly had to leave for duty. Her father married twice more and had several children for which Laura was expected to help care for[ii]. In 1795 her father did not wish to live under the United States and government took steps to move his family to Upper Canada on the Kingston Peninsula. He also wanted to take advantage of a greater opportunity to obtain land. Two years after moving to Upper Canada, Laura married a merchant named James Secord becoming Laura Ingersoll Secord, the two of them moved to Queenstone where they started their family[iii]. Laura’s upbringing shows that she was already a strong, competent woman by the time she married. She had learned to take care of others and do whatever was necessary of her in order to fulfill her obligations. In October of 1812 war had come to Queenstone where Mrs. Secord was living. In 1813 short battles were taking place along the Niagara peninsula since the Americans had declared war on the British Empire in 1812. In the summer of 1813, American troops had taken over parts of the peninsula and during this period, they billeted their troops in the homes of Canadians[iv]. It soon became evident that all measures must be taken in order to prevent the Americans from taking over this area of the British Empire. In 1813 Laura Ingersoll Secord, a 38 year old woman with five children[v], had her home taken over by a group of American officers and was expected serve them dinner. While cleaning up after a dinner she overheard the American officers planning a surprise attack on their British opponents at Beavers Dam, which was under the command of Lieutenant Fitzgibbon. Instead of ignoring what she had heard she talked to her husband and they decided that she would travel the nineteen miles in the scorching sun across treacherous lands to warn Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon, the British military leader in St. Davids. On June 22, 1813 Laura left her home in Queenstone and began the difficult journey. While fearful of running into unfriendly Indians or American soldiers, Mrs. Secord willingly put herself in harm’s way in order to warn Fitzgibbon of the impending surprise attack. Walking through uneven forest and trying to stay out of sight new fears arose including those of wild animals and rattlesnakes. After walking all day she came upon a group of Iroquois, a group of first nation people, and...
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