Many are well aware of the heroic acts of Laura Secord but she was not the only heroic women during the War of 1812. Mary Henry braved a fierce battlefield during the Battle of Fort George in order to help wounded soldiers.
Mary Madden was born in
married Dominic Henry, a Royal Artillery gunner, in 1790. The couple was sent
to Niagara and by 1803 the now retired Henry was placed in charge of the
lighthouse in Ireland
(modern-day Niagara-on-the-Lake). On May 27, 1813, the Americans launched a
huge assault on Newark and the
surrounding area. American guns pummelled Fort
reducing the fort’s defences considerably. British, Canadian and Native forces
met the American amphibious landing but were quickly forced to retreat toward Fort George . Burlington Heights
During the fierce fighting, Mary Henry risked her life as she scoured the battlefield bringing coffee and food to the troops, as well as treating the wounded. One contemporary remarked: “walking calmly through the shower of iron hail came Mary Madden Henry with hot coffee and food, seemingly as unconcerned as if she were in her own small garden.”
Mary’s heroism did not end with the Battle of Fort George. On December 10, 1813, the Americans abandoned
but not before burning homes in .
The lighthouse and keepers house were spared because the lighthouse was an aid
to both British and American shipping. Mary provided the new refugees with warm
drinks, food and she even opened up her home to those who were now homeless. Newark
After the war, Mary Henry was recognized by the Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada as “a heroine not to be frightened” for her actions and was rewarded with 25 pounds.
Starting Saturday, May 25,
will be commemorating the Battle of Fort George with battle re-enactments and a
“Bombardment of Fort George” on Saturday night featuring artillery,
pyrotechnics and fireworks. Don’t miss the 200th anniversary of this historic
event. Click here for more information. Fort George