2013 Speaker’s Book Award — Shortlisted
Laura Secord is now famous for her singular feat of bravery during the War of 1812, but did she warn the British and help defeat the American invaders as her legend says?
After dragging her injured husband off the battlefield during the War of 1812, Laura Secord (1775-1868) was forced to house American soldiers for financial support while she nursed him back to health. It was during this time that she overheard the American plan to ambush British troops at Beaver Dams.
Through an outstanding act of perseverance and courage in 1813, Laura walked an astonishing 30 kilometers from her home to a British outpost to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon. Despite facing rough terrain, the ever-present danger of being caught by American troops, and rather delicate encounters with Native forces, Laura reached FitzGibbon just in time for the British to prepare and execute an ambush on American military nearby, forcing the U.S. general to surrender.
Laura lived a very long time, dying at the age of 93. In her lifetime the government never formally recognized her singular feat of bravery, and much controversy still envelopes her legacy.