Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Laura Ingersoll was born to a Loyalist family in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in 1775. In 1795 the family moved to the Canadas, and in 1797 she married a fellow Loyalist, James Secord. They resided in Queenston in Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), James was a member of the Canadian militia and was wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1812. In May of 1813 the American army invaded again and the Secord home was forced to billet three American officers. On June 21, Laura overheard them discussing plans for a surprise attack on Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon at Beaver Dams, which would have allowed the Americans to control the Niagara Peninsula.
She walked 32 kilometres, including a six-hour climb over the Niagara Escarpment, before she met a group of Mohawks allied with the British, who led her the rest of the way to Fitzgibbon's camp. A small British force was then ready for the American attack, and almost all of the American soldiers were taken prisoner in the ensuing battle.
The story has become something of a legend in Canada. An older version said that Laura brought a cow with her as an excuse to leave her home; another version, more likely to be true, is that she told the American officers she was going to visit her brother. It is also said that she walked barefoot at least part of the way.
In 1860, when she was 85, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), heard of her story while travelling in Canada. He visited her and gave her a gift of £100. It was the only recognition that she received in her lifetime.
She died in 1868 at age 93.
Today her house is a museum, and there is a monument to her in a Niagara Falls churchyard.
Her father, Thomas Ingersoll, founded the town of Ingersoll, Ontario.
Laura Secord Chocolates is a Canadian chocolate manufacturing company and retailer named in honour of the heroine. They have retail outlets selling premade boxes, individual chocolates, and ice cream. They have recently contracted Ganong to produce their inventory.
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