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There is no more renowned heroine of the War of 1812 than the redoubtable Laura Secord.
According to legend, she overheard American troops — who were occupying her home in Queenston, between the present day Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls — discussing a planned attack on the British outpost at Beaver Dams. Secord headed out into the bush to warn British commander Lieut. James FitzGibbon and took a cow with her to justify her journey through American-held territory in case she was stopped and questioned.
After walking 32 kilometres, Secord reached Beaver Dams and alerted the British. Her warning led to an ambush of the American forces, who ultimately surrendered.
The truth is only slightly less colourful. “For one thing, she didn’t have a cow with her,” says Peggy Dymond Leavey, author of Laura Secord: Heroine of the War of 1812. “For another, no one really knows how she found out…
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