The Laura Secord Bicentennial Event and Commemorative Walk will be held Saturday June 22, 2013 marking exactly 200 years since Laura's historic trek. For more information, please contact Caroline McCormick at 905-468-0994 or www.friendsoflaurasecord.com
The Laura Secord Legacy Trail will be a permanent 32 K reminder of Laura Secord's epic journey for all to enjoy. This modern day approximation of the route can be negotiated safely by hikers of average ability. The five stage route can be followed continuously or broken into shorter segments. Multi-media interpretive resources will help interpret the history, landscape and aboriginal trails along the route and will remain as a permanent feature of the trail. For more details see www.friendsoflaurasecord.com
THE STORY OF LAURA SECORD
Laura Ingersoll was born in 1775 in Great Barrington Massachusetts and came to Canada in 1795. She married James Secord in 1797.
On October 13, 1812 during the Battle of Queenston Heights, American soldiers crossed the river from Lewiston into Queenston and scaled the heights. James, a militia sergeant with the artillery fought at the Battle. Laura was at home when she learned that her husband had been wounded in the fighting. She climbed the hill in search of him. She found him with blood flowing from a wounded shoulder and knee. She helped him back home and dressed his wounds.
The NiagaraPeninsula was a no-man's land in the summer of 1813. Neither side had firm control of the area and the war had become a series of brief, frequent skirmishes. The Americans held FortGeorge. The British had four outposts to the west, the nearest of which was in DeCew's stone house on the escarpment south of present day St. Catharines. There, Lieutenant James Fitzgibbon had a special force of fifty men which harrassed the enemy in every possibly way. When Fitzgibbon captured several American riflemen, their captain, Cyrnius Chapin, sought revenge. He persuaded his commanding officer that he could surprise Fitzgibbon's outpost, capture the British office and his men, and destroy the munitions stored in the DeCew house. One June afternoon, Chapin and his officers commandeered the Secord home for a meal. Mrs. Secord served them and overheard the Americans discussing their plan. Afterwards, Laura and James decided Fitzgibbon must be warned. James could not walk any distance because of his wounds, so Laura decided to take the word to Lieutenant Fitzgibbon herself.
Early the next morning, on June 22nd, 1813, Laura quietly set out on her journey. She went first to St. David's to see her half-brother Charles Ingersoll who was ill and would serve as an excuse for her trip if the Americans stopped her. To avoid the main roads, she went through fields and woods. Laura followed the course of 12 Mile Creek, which flowed past DeCew's house. Towards evening when she had gone about 32 km (19 miles), she stumbled into a Native encampment which was an outpost to Fitzgibbon's headquarters. Terrified, she convinced the chief that she had an important message. He brought her to Fitzgibbon and she told the Lieutenant her news. Two days later, on June 24th, the British and First Nations warriors intercepted and engaged the Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams. Trapped in open ground by the enemy, the American commander surrendered his 542 troops to a British force of 300 First Nation warriors and Fitzgibbon's 50 soldiers.
FRIENDS OF LAURA SECORD
The Laura Secord Bicentennial Event and Commemorative Walk
June 22, 2013
A Signature Event of the War of 1812
On the evening of June 21, 1813 Laura Secord overheard American officers, billeted at her home in Queenston, discuss plans to capture a British outpost located at John DeCew’s House, 32 kilometres away, near the area called Beaver Dams. Early the next morning, Laura left her wounded husband and young children and walked through enemy lines and dangerous terrain to warn the British and their aboriginal allies of this impending attack by American forces. After many hours of difficult travel on an exceptionally hot and humid day, she stumbled upon an encampment of native allies who escorted her to DeCew House. The commanding officer, Lt. James Fitzgibbon, positioned his troops and allied aboriginal forces, and secured the surrender of nearly 600 American troops at the decisive Battle of Beaver Dams. Without Laura Secord’s bold contribution, Canada may not have existed as a nation today.
Nearly 200 years ago, a young mother left her home early one morning and walked not only into history but into the collective hearts of many who share the pride for this national heroine that risked her life in the defense of Canada. The Friends of Laura Secord is planning a major event to honour her historic walk of courage and perseverance
The Friends of Laura Secord is a non-profit community group established to preserve, strengthen and perpetuate the legacy of Canadian heroine Laura Secord, a Person of National Significance. The group brings together individuals and groups from all walks of life that share an interest in the Laura Secord story, and fosters collaborative relationships amongst community members, institutions, organizations, service clubs, municipalities, and the public and private sector.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Laura Secord’s walk on Saturday June 22, 2013, the Friends of Laura Secord plan to create and establish an annual event, The Laura Secord Commemorative Walk, to honour the legacy of this Canadian heroine, and to encourage an active and interactive interest in Canada’s origins, history, and the people involved in its defense, with a particular focus on education, women and the aboriginal communities.
Considerable research has already been undertaken to identify the route Laura Secord took during her epic journey. She travelled 32 km from present day Niagara-on-the-Lake (Queenston) to DeCew House in Thorold, where she delivered her famous message. The Friends of Laura Secord has drafted a modern-day approximation of the route that can be negotiated safely by hikers of average abilities. The five-stage route follows everything from ancient forested Indian trails to modern city sidewalks. It can be followed continuously or broken into shorter segments, and participants can hike the entire route or choose a shorter “Laura Secord Experience” route.
Our goal for an enduring 1812 Bicentennial legacy project is to establish, sign, and interpret the trail with a suite of innovative and enduring interpretive educational resources. The multi-media resources will celebrate the Secord legacy, emphasize the important role that women and First Nations peoples played in the founding of our nation, interpret the history, landscape, and aboriginal trails along the route, and remain as permanent interpretive features of the trail and its surroundings in perpetuity.
The Laura Secord Commemorative Trail will combine interpretive education with outdoor physical exercise and recreation, help link existing trails into a unified and accessible regional network for recreation and alternative utilitarian transportation, and serve as a significant tourism destination in its own right.
Though Laura Secord’s epic journey took place in Niagara, it is a story for all Canadians. Specific outreach will be made across Canada with our “Walk into history with us, Canada!” initiative with options to complete the Laura Secord Walk in stages catered to one’s own capability throughout the year, encouraging a healthful recreational challenge for everyone, regardless of age or ability. We plan to develop a range of program guides, online interpretive resources, and community tool kits to allow everyone to experience Laura’s legacy in classrooms, schoolyards, community halls and neighbourhood streets nationwide.
Our comprehensive website, webcasts, and social media resources will allow those who are unable to actively engage in the event to experience it virtually, but we are also working to ensure that those with physical limitations can join in physically as well. Although anyone could design their own self-adapted Laura Secord walk anywhere in Canada, on the actual Laura Secord Commemorative Trail, we plan to have several options including self-guided road trips to Laura Secord sites along the way; handicapped parking; trail improvements for the hardy who want to wheel chair portions of the trail; and wheel chair accessible family areas.
With additional events planned at the Laura Secord Homestead, the DeCew House site area in Thorold, and with the many trail options available, the Laura Secord Bicentennial event will be a community-minded educational, cultural, recreational opportunity to honour Canada’s most famous heroine on the 200th anniversary of her historic walk.
“Walk into history with us on June 22, 2013!”