Secord Homestead - Legacy More
To generations of kids, the name Laura
Secord means one thing -
chocolate. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, it means much more. before she had
candy named after her, Secord was a Canadian heroine who played a vital
role in the War of 1812. A case of mistaken identity, along with a long
walk, dealt a crippling blow to American forces.
Born in Massachusetts in 1775, Laura
Ingersoll came to Canada in 1795
with her father and siblings. Running a tavern in the Niagara
Peninsula, she eventually met and married James Secord, a United Empire
Loyalist. They settled in a cozy homestead in Queenston, where they had
The tranquil life was shattered when the War of 1812 erupted. James a
military sergent, left to do battle and never returned. Secord found
him in Queenston Heights, shot and nearly dead. Upon her return,
American soldiers had ransacked her home. Believing she was loyal to
the Americans because of her U.S. heritage, they used Secord's home as
a base to plan their next attack.
The Americans were planning an assault against Lt. James Fitzgibbon at
Beaverdams, a victory that could give them control of the entire
Niagara Peninsula. Secord overheard the plan and decided on a
suicide mission - to walk 32 km (20 miles) through enemy terrain
to warn Fitzgibbon of the impending attack.
The Americans weren't all she had to worry about. There were also
rattlesnakes, wildcats, wolves and hostile natives to avoid. She faced
scorching temperatures and uneven terrain. Sometime during the 18-hour
journey, her shoes fell apart. She completed the trek with blistering,
The message delivered, Fitzgibbon and his forces were able to surprise
the invading Americans, defeating them at Battle of Beaverdams on June
Secord's role in this pivotal victory wasn't properly recognized until
1860 - nearly 50 years after the war - when she received recognition
from the visiting Edward, Prince of Wales.
A 93 year old Secord died in 1868, and was buried in Drummond Hill
Cementery in Niagara Falls. But her legacy was far from over. In
1913, Toronto businessman Frank O'Connor decided to name his new
chocolate company after her. In 1969, Laura Secord Inc. bought the
Secord homestead, restoring it with authentic furnishings from the
early 1800s. On the spot many figured to be the home's original summer
kitchen, the company opened an annex building to sell its chocolates
and ice cream. Several artifacts found during archeological digs are
also on display.
In October 1998, Laura Secord Inc. donated
the Laura Secord Homestead to the Niagara Parks Commission to ensure
preservation and safekeeping for future generations.
Visit Laura Secord Homestead located at 29
Queenston Street, Village of Queenston, Ontario, Canada.