Decew's Field and Laura's discovery of the Native Encampment

My Trip +



First Nations people played an important role in the War of 1812. Photo: [http://www.eighteentwelve.ca].
 


 


 


 

DeCew's Field is one of the final stages of Laura's long journey from Queenston. Laura Secord met with First Nation's people on DeCew's Field, who escorted her to FitzGibbon's headquarters at DeCew House, so that she could warn him of the planned American invasion.

On her historic walk Laura Secord came upon a Native encampment in a field owned by John Decew. Although she would have been quite frightened she was able to communicate that she had a message for Lieutenant Fitzgibbon. The chief had her escorted to Decew House to relay her message.

John Decew (or De Cou) purchased this field, as well as the area around Decew Falls just before the War of 1812 began. On her historic walk Laura Secord met a group of Natives who were camped in the field who helped her get to Lieutenant Fitzgibbon with the message about an upcoming American attack. These First Nation forces were a band of Iroquois, some specify the Mohawk or Caughnawaga sub-nations, allied with the British. Laura would have been frightened but was able to communicate that she had an important message for the British Lieutenant. In a letter to historian Benson J. Lossing, she wrote that “the scene by midnight to some might have been grand, but to a weak woman certainly terrifying".

At the command of John Norton and Dominique Ducharme the First Nation forces numbering about five hundred along with approximately fifty British soldiers ambushed the invading Americans and then defeated them at the Battle of Beaver Dams on June 24, 1813. Lieutenant Fitzgibbon is often given the credit for the win, with little mention of the Natives however there has been an increasing amount of recognition over the years.

From Toronto:

Get on QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way/ON-403) W. Follow signs for Niagara/East Hamilton/Fort Erie. Take the exit onto ON-406 S toward Thorold/Welland/Port Colborne.

After 11.3 km take the Regional Road 71/Saint David's Road W exit.

Merge onto St David's Rd.

Turn left onto Merrittville Hwy.

Turn right onto Decew Rd.

After 1.7 km turn into the Morningstar Mill parking lot. Walk north past the mill building and house. The path loops around Decew's Field.

From Niagara:

Take QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) towards Toronto.

Take exit 32 for Thorold Stone Road/Regional Road 57 toward Thorold.

Turn left onto Thorold Stone Road.

Drive 5.5 km then continue onto ON-58 N (signs for Thorold/Ontario 406).

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Regional Road 71/Saint David's Road.

Turn left onto St David's Rd/Regional Road 71.

Turn left onto Merrittville Hwy.

Turn right onto Decew Rd.

After 1.7 km turn into the Morningstar Mill parking lot. Walk north past the mill building and house. The path loops around Decew's Field.

Hughes, Alun. Following in Laura's Footsteps. See http://www.niagaragreenbelt.com/pdfs/Following%20in%20Laura's%20Footsteps.pdf

Canadian Genealogy Resources: Laura Secord. See http://www.canadiangenealogy.net/heroines/laura_secord.htm

~2700 Decew Rd, St. Catharines
L2R 6R2 Municipality St. Catharines

Latitude: 43.112482
Longitude: -79.266207