Forgotten Heroes: Laura Secord

Forgotten Heroes is a series of posts about extraordinary men and women who are (probably) not remembered by the average person.  Previous heroes include Alvin Ratz KaufmanFred and Cela Sloman and Ghandl and Skaay

If you know of a forgotten hero who should be included in this series let me know about him or her in the comment section or via my contact form.

Time: June 21, 1813

Place: Niagara Peninsula

If you’ve heard of Laura Secord it’s probably in this context.

The real Laura Ingersoll Secord was born in 1775. At 22 she married James Secord, a United Empire Loyalist. Soon after the Battle of Queenstown Heights James was wounded by a musket ball. The War of 1812 was raging on.

Remember, this happened well over a hundred years before the invention of penicillin. Wounds like this were serious. A systemic infection could kill even the healthiest person very quickly.

James had been recovering from his injury for about eight months when Laura learned that Lieutenant James FitzGibbon was planning a surprise attack at Beaver Dams. If the Americans carried out this attack successfully they would have gained even more control of the Niagara Peninsula.

Laura started walking. We believe she travelled about 20 miles (30 kilometres) through swamps and woodlands to warn British forces of an impending American attack. She was alone and the terrain was rough. If you’ve ever hiked off-trail you know how much more difficult is to climb over and around rocks, fallen trees and other obstacles. Walking one mile in this environment is like walking three or four on a flat, dry pavement.

Because of her warning the British were able to attack the enemy at Beaver Dam and capture almost all of the American soldiers despite the fact that the British had about 400 less men.

How did Laura find out about the attack?

We don’t know.

She told FitzGibbon that that an American soldier has told her husband about the attack but as an elderly woman she told her granddaughter that she learned of the plan by listening to the conversations of American soldiers she had been forced to feed and allow to sleep under her roof.

It’s possible that both of these stories were fabrications and that she was warned about the attack by a friend or acquaintance living in the U.S. who would have been hanged for treason had his or her identity been revealed.

Logo by Tara Logue.

This brings us back to the chocolatier.

In 1913  Laura Secord Chocolates was founded. The name was chosen to honor the original Laura Secord.

One of their most well-known sweets is dark chocolate moulded into a pendant with Laura Secord’s face carved into the white chocolate in the middle of it.

Unfortunately my dairy allergy prevents me from ever trying one. Readers who live outside of Canada should definitely add visiting one of these shops to their list of stuff to do on vacation here, though! 🙂

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