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Much has been written about Laura Secord, a wife and mother who famously walked 20 miles in 1813 to warn British forces in Upper Canada of an impending American attack. Although she wasn’t well lauded in her own lifetime for those efforts, history has not forgotten this patriotic woman since her death in 1868.


SOURCE: Wikipedia

This is part V of six stories highlighting the lives of Mabel Cartwright’s family.

Mabel’s great grand uncle was James Secord who was born 7 Jul 1773 in Somers, Westchester, New York to parents Lt Jacques Secord (1732-1784) and Madeline Badeau (1739-1796).

The Secord family originated in France, where the name was spelled D’Secor or Sicar. Five Secord brothers, who were Protestant Huguenots, fled from persecution in France and founded New Rochelle, New York in 1688. At the time of the American Revolution, Loyalist members of the family anglicized their surname to Secord.

SOURCE: Wikipedia

I find it quite interesting that doing a Google search for James Secord+War of 1812 turns up 412,000 results, most of which pertain to his wife. What I have been able to find for James mainly consists of who his family members were and the fact that he served in the 1st Lincoln militia, was wounded early in the war and invalided out of the army.

Laura was born 13 Sep 1775 in Massachusetts, one of four daughters of Thomas Ingersoll (1749-1812) and Elizabeth Dewey (1758-1789). Her father fought on the rebel side during the American War of Independence but obtained a settlement grant and moved to Upper Canada in 1795. He married twice more following the death of his first wife and had eight more children with wife #3, Sarah Whiting (1762-1832).

Most accounts indicate that James Secord married Laura Ingersoll in 1797. Marriage records from that time period no longer exist, having been destroyed by fire.

At the time of Laura’s heroic walk in 1813, Laura and James Secord had four children:
* Mary Lawrence b abt 1797; m Dr William Trumble 18 Apr 1816; died in Ireland
* Charlotte b abt 1803, d 14 Oct 1880 Guelph, Ontario
* Harriet Hopkins b 10 Feb 1803, d 20 Jan 1892 in Guelph; m David William Smith
* Charles Badeau b 20 Oct 1809, d 7 Nov 1872; m Margaret Robbins

Three more children were born after 1813:
* Laura Ann b abt 20 Oct 1815, d 1852 Guelph, ON; m first John Poore, second Dr William Clarke
* Appollonia b abt 1816, d 20 Dec 1828 Queenston, ON
* Hannah Cartwright b 31 Jul 1820, d 21 Nov 1877 Guelph, ON; m first Howley Williams, second Edward Carthew

In 1820, Lieutenant James FitzGibbon wrote a testimonial to Laura’s actions during the War of 1812.

James Fitzgibbon account of Laura walk

In June 1813, James FitzGibbon (1780-1863) was a lieutenant of the 49th (the Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot in command of the British outpost at Beaver Dams. He received Laura Secord’s warning of an impending American surprise attack, and his instructions led to their ambush and surrender. FitzGibbon had a remarkable military career, which reached its high point when he was largely responsible for preventing Mackenzie’s rebels from taking Toronto in 1837. This testimonial was reproduced in ‘From Brock to Currie’ (Toronto, 1935).

SOURCE: Canadian Military History Gateway, Government of Canada

Laura Secord has been memorialized in history books, film, postage stamps and in many plaques.

Laura Secord plaque at Great Barrington Mass

SOURCE: Canadian War Of 1812 Heroine Is Honoured In Her Massachusetts Birthplace


Laura Secord Monument at the Drummond Hill Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada circa 1920

SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons

Laura Secord died 17 Oct 1868 and is buried at the Drummond Hill Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Next up:

The final story from Mabel Cartwright’s family history — he Van Straubenzee Family (including Colonel Bowen Van Straubenzee 1829-1898, General Sir Charles Thomas Van Straubenzee 1812-1892 and Casimir Van Straubenzee, Captain in the Dutch Guards)

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