Thursday, 12 February 2015

Laura Secord-A life in Ordinary Times

Laura Secord; Life in Ordinary times

There was a Sherman legend circulating that hinted that our family was descended from Laura Secord. In 2012,when Niagara was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, I decided to investigate this conjecture. As it turns out, there doesn't seem to be any biological relationship to the Secord family.
But, when I was investigating. I discovered that my daughter and Laura shared a birthday September 13. My daughter was born on the same day 199 years later. So, a new picture of Laura started to emerge. The Laura Secord of the ctv blurbs shows a young woman running through the swamps. As it turns out Laura was not really that young and possibly not that attractive. She was 37 years old on June 21 1813, when she made an historic walk from Queenston to Decew to warn the British soldiers of an American attack.
The previous autumn, Laura had gone to Queenston Heights, where General Brock had fallen in a fierce battle. She searched the battlefield to find her husband, James, who had been seriously wounded. She trundled him home with the help of a neighbour and nursed him all winter long.
At this time Laura and James had 5 children. the oldest, Mary  was 14 and the youngest, Appolinia was  three years old. She would have left these five children at home under their fathers care for at least two days. She followed a trail on a very hot humid day for 32 kilometers.
She, no doubt was a hero.
But I also wanted a picture of her life at the time. What did she do for the rest of that summer?  What happened when she got home? She probably, like all of the settlers in the area, spent the summer preparing for winter. There would have been a vegetable garden, possibly chickens in the yard-maybe a cow!! Legend has it that she took a cow with her on her sojourn-I don't think so. Anyone who has seen cows knows that a cow would have made her travels slower and harder. The cow pictures did not appear until much later when a cartoonist drew a picture of Laura pulling a cow through the wood. Someone trying to make light of her pleas for compensation from an ungrateful government.
I celebrate not only a courageous mission by a loyal citizen, but also the life of a woman of the times.
On the private or back of the quilt, I recorded Laura's history. Her birth date, death marriage to James  and shared the story of her walk. I also included a recipe (or receipt as it would have been known then) for crumpets. I named many of the native flowers that would have grown in her garden.

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