Laura Secord, Canadian Heroine of the War of 1812

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Laura Secord (Ingersoll)

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Great Barrington, Berkshire, Massachusetts, United States
Death: Died in Chippewa, Lennox-Addington, Ontario, Canada
Place of Burial: Drummond Hill Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Thomas Ingersoll and Elizabeth Lydia Ingersol
Wife of Sergeant James Secord, 1st Lincoln Militia
Mother of Mary Lawrence Secord; Charlotte Secord; Harriet Hopkins Secord; Charles Badeau Secord; Laura Ann Secord and 2 others
Half sister of Appolonia Ingersoll; Elizabeth Franks Ingersoll; Myra Ingersoll and Abigail Woodworth Ingersoll

Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Laura Secord (Ingersoll)

Laura Ingersoll Secord

  • Born Laura Ingersoll

  • 13 September 1775

  • Great Barrington, Province of Massachusetts Bay

  • Died 17 October 1868(1868-10-17) (aged 93)

  • Village of Chippawa, Ontario, Canada

  • Nationality Canadian

  • Known for War of 1812 heroine

  • Spouse(s) James Secord (m. 1797–1841)

  • Children Mary (1799)

  • Charlotte (1801)

  • Harriet (1803)

  • Charles Badeau (1809)

  • Appolonia (1810)

  • Laura Ann (1815)

  • Hannah (1817)


  • Parents Thomas Ingersoll

  • Elizabeth Ingersoll (née Dewey)

Laura Ingersoll Secord was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for warning British forces of an impending American attack that led to the British victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams.

Her father, Thomas Ingersoll, who had fought on the side of the American revolutionaries during the War, had moved his family to the Niagara region of Upper Canada in 1795 after he had applied for and received a land grant. Shortly after, Laura married United Empire Loyalist James Secord, with whom she had seven children. The family lived in Queenston.

Becoming a Heroine

After the outbreak of the War of 1812, Secord's husband was seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara peninsula, including Queenston. Secord acquired information about a planned American attack, and stole away on the morning of June 23 to inform Lieutenant James FitzGibbon at DeCew House in the British-controlled territory.

In her own words, Secord

...left early in the morning, walked nineteen miles in the month of June, over a rough and difficult part of the country ... I cannot express the awful feeling it gave me; but I did not lose my presence of mind. I was determined to persevere. ... I returned home next day, exhausted and fatigued. I am now advanced in years, and when I look back I wonder how I could have gone through so much fatigue, with the fortitude to accomplish it.

The information helped the British and their Mohawk warrior allies win the Battle of Beaver Dams, keeping the invading Americans at bay. Her contribution to the war was forgotten until 1860, when future king Albert Edward, Prince of Wales awarded her with £100 for her service.

Legacy

The legend of Laura Secord has become of part of Canadian mythology, and many embellished versions of the tale have appeared over the years. She is the namesake of several schools and the Laura Secord chocolate company. She has been repeatedly honoured in her homeland, with several monuments, a museum, and a statue at the Valiants Memorial in the Canadian capital. She has been the subject of books, poetry and plays. A commemorative stamp was issued of her by Canada Post in 1992.

According to Lieutenant James FitzGibbon, the officer in charge at Beaver Dams:

Laura Secord typified pioneer women in her courage, endurance, and resolution in the face of adversity. [She was] of slender frame and delicate appearance, but underneath was a strong and persistent will.

Resources

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Laura Secord, Canadian Heroine of the War of 1812's Timeline

1775
September 13, 1775
Great Barrington, Berkshire, Massachusetts, United States
1790
1790
Age 14
Great Barrington, MA, USA
1797
1797
Age 21
Niagara Falls, Canada
1799
1799
Age 23
Great Barrington, MA, USA
1806
1806
Age 30
Great Barrington, MA, USA
1809
October 20, 1809
Age 34
Queenston, Ontario
1811
1811
Age 35
1815
October 20, 1815
Age 40
Queenstown, Canada
1820
July 31, 1820
Age 44
Queenston, Canada
1857
November 26, 1857
Age 82
Chippawa Twp, Ont.