My post takes place 75 miles (120km) south-west of Toronto near Niagara Falls during the War of 1812.
The Secord Homestead in Queenston was reconstructed in 1971 by Laura Secord Inc. Open for tours during the summer months, the Homestead features authentic furnishings of the 1812 period. The company's signature chocolates and ice cream are available in an annex building, which was built on the spot thought to be the location of the original summer kitchen.
These playing cards located in the parlor of the James and Laura Secord home had moral lessons’ on the bottom because folks in the late 1700s and early 1800s considered card playing immoral.
Laura Ingersoll Secord, born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts (September 13, 1775 to October 17, 1868) was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. Suffering the aftermath of the American Revolution, her father, Thomas Ingersoll, moved the family to Canada in 1795, and in 1797 she married the Loyalist James Secord, son of an officer of Butler's Rangers (the Ingersolls themselves were not Loyalists). James and Laura resided in Queenston in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), while her family went on to settle present day Ingersoll, Ontario. On October 13, 1812, James Secord was injured at the Battle of Queenston Heights, part of the emerging War of 1812.
In June of 1813 the American army invaded again and the Secord home was forced to billet American officers. Laura became aware of plans for a surprise attack on troops led by British Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon at Beaver Dams, which would have furthered American control in the Niagara Peninsula. While her husband was still suffering the effects of his injury, Laura set out to warn Lieutenant Fitzgibbon herself. She walked approximately 30 km from present day Queenston through St. David's, Homer, St. Catharines and Short Hills at the Niagara Escarpment before arriving at the camp of allied Native warriors who led her the rest of the way to Fitzgibbon's headquarters at the Decew home. A small British force and a larger contingent of Mohawk warriors were then readied for the American attack with the result that almost all of the American soldiers were taken prisoner in the ensuing Battle of Beaver Dams.
Over the years, Laura Secord and James Fitzgibbon petitioned the government in request of some kind of acknowledgment but to no avail. Finally, in 1860, when Laura was 85, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), heard of her story while travelling in Canada. While stopped in Chippawa near Niagara Falls, he was made aware of Laura's heroics and her plight as an aging widow and later sent an award of £100. It was the only recognition that she received in her lifetime.
Laura Ingersoll Secord died in 1868 at age 93 at the Village of Chippawa (today part of Niagara Falls, Ontario).
Laura and her husband attended Holy Trinity Church in Chippawa where their grave markers are presently located, as well as a few relics of the family. Laura and James are buried in Drummond Hill Cemetery in Niagara Falls, Ontario at a monument (with a bust of Laura on top) close to that marking the Battle of Lundy's Lane.
In 2003, Laura Secord was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, for her heroic actions during the War of 1812.
Laura Secord is a Canadian chocolatier and ice cream company which was founded in 1913 by Frank P. O'Connor. It was named after the Canadian War of 1812 heroine Laura Secord. As of 2006, it has 148 retail outlets across the country. The Laura Secord chocolates are manufactured in Canada by Ganong Bros. Retail outlets selling individual and premade boxes of chocolates, and ice cream, are located throughout Canada.
A story of Laura Secord is not complete without a visit to Niagara Falls.
The name “Niagara” is said to originate from an Iroquois word "Onguiaahra" meaning "Thunder of Waters". The region's original inhabitants were the Ongiara, an Iroquois tribe named the Neutrals by French settlers, who found them helpful in mediating disputes with other tribes.
The name is derived from its curving, horseshoe-shaped crest that is 671 meters (2,200 ft) in width. At the center of the Horseshoe Falls the water is about 3 meters (10 ft) deep. It passes over the crest at a speed of about 32 km/h (20 mph). The falls is 53 meters (173 ft) high, has an average crest elevation of 152 meters (500 ft) and faces northwards. The depth of the river at the base of the falls is actually higher than the falls itself, estimated at 56 metres (184 ft).
There are the daredevils who tempted their fate by going over the falls in various manufactured barrels, but the best story is known as “Miracle at Niagara” from Wikipedia:
“Roger Woodward, a seven-year-old American boy, was swept over the Horseshoe Falls protected only by a life vest on July 9, 1960, as two tourists pulled his 17-year-old sister Deanne from the river only 20 feet (6 m) from the lip of the Horseshoe Falls at Goat Island. Minutes later, Roger was plucked from the roiling plunge pool beneath the Horseshoe Falls after grabbing a life ring thrown to him by the crew of the Maid of the Mist boat. His survival, which no one thought possible, made news throughout the world.”
My Town Monday is the brainchild of Travis Erwin at www.traviserwin.blogspot.com where he links other posts from around the globe.
Research: Wikipedia, Niagara Parks
Photo Credits:  Laura Secord House: Ken Lund CC=sa-flickr; Parlor and playing cards: cameraphone; monument in Queenston: bill_canada CC=nc-flickr; Ottawa Memorial statue: wikipedia; chocolates: LexnGer CC=nc-flickr.
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