5 Interesting Facts About Laura Secord
OK – so, you probably know the legend.
Just in case you don’t: Laura Secord famously walked 32km (almost 20 miles) through American-occupied Canadian territory to forewarn British troops that an attack was imminent on the settlement of James Fitzgibbon in Thorold during the American Revolution. Having prevented the surprise attack, the defeated American troops retreated to America and never came back.
Her heroism was never fully recognized during her lifetime, which is a bummer.
However, she’s now a celebrated figure in Canadian history – immortalized in chocolate. More about that later.
So, that’s the legend, but what else did she do (as if saving the country wasn’t enough!)?
- Laura Secord was American
Yes – Laura Secord (née Ingersoll) – the pride of Canada – was actually born in Massachusetts – 1775.
She moved to the Niagara region in 1795 to live with her father, after her mom died.
She married James Secord soon after arriving at Queenston, who went off to fight at the Battle of Queenston Heights. He was seriously injured during the clash and came back to convalesce, during which time the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula. The occupation of the region followed, during which time Laura discovered the plans to take more land, prompting her into action to save the day.
- She had seven children
How the heck she had the energy to walk 20 miles is anyone’s guess, but she did have seven children.
I guess it wasn’t particularly unusual in those days to pump them out with such dedication; but even so!
Her children were:
- Laura Anne
Mary married a doctor and moved to Ireland where she had one child. Then had a second child in Jamaica. Mary returned to Queenston with her children after her husband died in 1821.
- She had nothing to do with the chocolates
Most Canadians believe that Laura was the founder of the Laura Secord candy company but – in fact – the company was founded after her death and named in her honour.
Laura died pretty anonymously at the grand old age of 93, in 1868. The chocolate brand was founded in 1913. So, unless she was operating from beyond the grave, the majority of Canadians have been misinformed.
The company was founded by Frank P. O’Connor in Toronto and chose Laura as the figurehead of the hand-made chocolate brand due to her heroic status – an icon of courage, devotion, and loyalty.
I’m not sure what that’s got to do with chocolate but – hey – who’s complaining?
- Fitzgibbon got all the credit
As is so often the case in history, the woman’s role got played down.
Lieutenant Fitzgibbon was lionized for his part in the British victory at Beaver Dams – and Laura’s bravery went unreported.
Laura spent the majority of her life in quite extreme hardship. She ran a private school from her home but failed to earn sufficient funds to give her the lifestyle she truly deserved. She petitioned the government for a commission to support her family, but it was refused! Repeatedly!
So much for saving the day!
Eventually, in 1860, The Prince of Wales accepted her commission request and awarded her £100.
- She died in poverty
She may have died in poverty, but her legacy has never been forgotten. When an eight-foot tall monument of Laura was unveiled in Drummond Hill Cemetery – her final resting place – two-thousand people turned up to commemorate her memory.
She’s now considered one of Canada’s greatest heroines.
Learn more about this incredible lady during our Lock 7 Segway Tour or our 2h Learn and Lunch Walking Tour of Thorold.