Copyright © 1998-2023  Dawn E. Monroe. All rights reserved 

 ISBN: 0-9736246-0-4

While all of the women on these pages are heroines there are some who just stand out that much more!!!

Judie Barbara Alimonti SEE - Scientists   'A reluctant hero'
Abigail Becker

née Jackson. Born March 14, 1830, Frontenac County, Upper Canada (now Ontario).  Died March 21, 1905 . Abigail married Jeremiah Becker in 1947 and the couple would have eight children. The family settled on Long Point Island, Lake Erie. On November 24, 1854, She engineered the rescue the master and six men of the crew of the floundering schooner Conductor. The New York Lifesaving Benevolent Association presented her with a gold medal. Queen Victoria sent a congratulatory letter with 30 pounds currency. The Royal Humane Society sent her a Bronze medal. She also received a purse of the large sum of 350 coins  collected from sailors and merchants of Buffalo New York, U.S.A. The monies were used to purchase farmland but alas Jeremiah was not a good farmer and the family saw hard times. Abigail is also known to have saved a boy who had fallen in a well and helped with additional shipwrecks. A few years after the death of her husband on January 1, 1864 she married a second time in to Henry Rohrer in 1869. In all, counting step children from her first marriage and her own children she would raise 17 children.   Mrs. Rohrer moved to Walsingham Centre, Ontario and settled into a new life. Her heroic rescue was written up in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine by John G. Whittier in 1869 and a biography by R. Calvert, The story of Abigail Becker was published in Toronto in 1899.. In 1958 an Ontario Historic Plaque was erected at Rowan, Ontario at the Abigail Becker Conservation Area.  

Penelope Beikie

Heroine of the War of 1812

née Macdonell. Penelope was the wife of Lieutenant - Colonel John Beikie (1766/7-1839) who served as Sherriff of York during the War of 1812. In April 1813 when the Americans raided the Town of York (now Toronto) many families fled to safety to avoid the coming attack. Penelope remained at home while her husband fought in the army and was taken hostage by the American. She later wrote to her brother explaining that it was terrifying to face the Americans who laid plunder to the town. “it was well for us I did so our Little property was saved by that means, every where they found deserted was completely sacked. We have lost a few things which were carried off before our faces, but as we expected to lose all we think ourselves well off, will you believe I had the temerity to frighten and even to threaten some of the Enemy though they had […] Place, & me , in their powers.” Source: Letter to her brother John. Letter 4 Letters from 1812. (accessed March 2015); Women of Valour, in Canadian History Aug-September 2013

Roberta Beatrice 'Bertha' Boyd 4055d

Born June 16, 1862, New Brunswick. Died January 12, 1944, St. Stephens, New Brunswick. Roberta's Father was the lighthouse keeper at Spruce Point near St. Stephen, New Brunswick and when hew was away his wife and daughter would tend the light. On October 8, 1882 Roberta saved two me whose boat had overturned in the St. Croix River. She was able to row out to the men and bring them safely back to shore. The government of Canada awarded her a gold watch and a new boat with the name Roberta Grace Boyd, Grace Darling of the Saint Croix.' After the death of her father on September 15, 1892, Bertha became the keeper of the light serving until at least 1922 when the last records were published. She married on October 18, 1900 to Herbert LeRoy. Bertha's Lighthouse has been an historic building in New Brunswick. Source: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

Susan Budlovsky

Born November 12, 1918, Prague, Austria-Hungary (Now Czech Republic) Died November 2011, Toronto, Ontario. Susan was a holocaust survivor who is officially credited with saving the lives of many women. She survived the death camps of Terezin and Auschwitz. The women she saved were too ill to go on a death march January 31, 1945 and were left to dig their own graves.  She married Dr Joseph Budlovsky (1915-1999) and the couple had two children. Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail November 2012. (2018)

Sara Corning

Born March 16, 1872, Chegoggin City, Nova Scotia. Died May 5, 1969. Sara trained as a nurse in the United States and joined the American Red cross. In 1921 she was sent to Turkey where she took charge of an orphanage. In 1922 she helped set up a clinic to tend to the sick and wounded but it was closed down by the Ottoman troops. The city was looted and burned. Sara ushered children to the docks amid flames and got the children loaded onto ships headed for Greece and safety. She is credited with saving 5000 children. She established an orphanage in Greece for the children. In 1923 King George of Greece bestowed the Silver Cross of the Saviour on Sara for her work. In 1924 she returned to Turkey working as a teacher. When it was time to retire Sara returned back home to Canada. The Sara Corning Centre for Genocide Education at the St Mary Armenian Church, is named in her honour at the Armenian Community Center of Toronto.  Sources: Sara Corning, 100 Lives. (Accessed May 2015) : The Rescuer of 5000 orphans, Sara Corning. The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Online (accessed May 2015)

Mary Elizabeth Crowley

Born 1858, Streets Ridge, Nova Scotia. Died 1869, Streets Ridge, Nova Scotia. Mary was one member of a family of 10 children. In 1869 a fire broke out in the family home. Mary was asleep upstairs with her sister and her 2 brothers when she was woke up by her mother’s screams. Mary awoke 9 year old Gus and got him to jump out the upstairs window. However when she tried to wake her sister the Catherine the younger girl was scared and fought her sister’s efforts. Finally Margaret managed to pick up her sister and jump to safety. Unfortunately both girls die within a few hours from burns. The doctor who had tried to help the wounded girls took the story of Margaret’s bravery to the Nova Scotia Legislature where a motion was passed unanimously to honor Mary Elizabeth’s bravery. A monument was erected in Pugwash, Nova Scotia where Margaret had been laid to rest. This monument is considered the 1st monument to be dedicated to a female in Canada.

Margaret Davies

Born 1765, New York, U.S.A.  After the American Revolution she and her family moved to Nova Scotia as late loyalists and  settled on Brier Island, Digby Island, Nova Scotia. Margaret would raise a family of seven children. In her senior years she became known as Granny Woman who used home grown herbs to tend to the sick and dying. In 1828 she was a widow living on her land when a neighbour, who was a stranger to the area, laid claim to her land. Margaret was illiterate and had claimed her land by making he mark with and X. The claim had to be defended in court. Margaret walked over 200 kilometers to Halifax to defend her land claim in court. Margaret's maternal language was German and a German speaking judge oversaw her case. After she had won her case she walked home. Cathleen Davis told the local heroine's story in the book , Life of a Loyalist. In 2019 the ferry for Grand Passage in Digby Neck was named "Margaret's Justice in honour of Margaret Davies. Sources: various articles depicting the story of the name of the new ferry.

Marie-Madelaine Jarret de Verchères

Born March 3, 1678, Verchères. Quebec. Died August 8, 1747, Sainte-Anne –de-La Pérade, New France. She and her family lived in a “fort” which had been built as protection against marauding bands of Iroquois. Her mother had “held the fort” successfully fending off attacks in 1690. On October 22, 1692, while her parents were away in Montreal, she was in charge of her home. She was 14 years old when she, with only a handful of helpers, would successfully defend the family fort against attack. She was outside the walls of the fort when the attackers approached causing her to scramble and ran for the fortifications and safety. There was only one soldier at home at the time and Madelaine donned a soldiers hat and made motions of being in charge of a larger group of defenders. She had the cannon fired as a warning not only to the attackers but to other “forts” along the river that there was danger. By the time help arrived from Montreal the attackers had fled. There are various written reports about the successful defence that day. No doubt recalled in the aftermath of the events and in later years the reports may have exaggerated or did they? Her exploits have been written up in several books, plays, and even movies, extolling the young Madelaine as one of Canada's first youth heroines. Even though it was not unusual for girls to be married in their early teens, Madeleine married only on September 1706 to Pierre Thomas Tarieu de La Pérade (1677-1757). The couple would have Five children. It seems that she summoned her courage again in 1722 saving her husband from attack of two Indians. In turn her son, Charles-Francois, who was ten at the time, fended off four native women who came to help out the male attackers. It seems that both Madeleine and her husband were not held in high esteem as landlords. They were involved in numerous law suit concerning land ownership and Madeleine even sailed to France in attempts to have courts solve the disputes. In 1923 the Canadian Government designated Madeleine as a Person of National Historic Significance. Source: André Vachon, “JARRET DE VERCHÈRES, MARIE-MADELEINE,” in D C B  vol. 3( accessed July 27, 2014),

Charlotte de Grassi

Heroine of the Rebellion of 1837

Born 1823. Died 1872. Charlotte's father, Philippe (Fillippe), was a soldier in the British army and in 1831 the family settled in Upper Canada on a farm in what is now Toronto, Ontario. Life was a struggle for the family which lost everything to fire in 1833. In early December 1837 rumblings of rebellion saw the father set out with his daughters, Charlotte and Cornelia to reach Government House. They encountered a group of rebels and Charlotte distracted the men allowing her father to slip past the rebels and make it to his destination. The following days were busy with rebellion d activities Charlotte worked behind enemy lines relaying messages. At one point she was shot and slightly wounded while dodging the rebels. There was a write up about the heroism of Charlotte and her sister in an American newspaper but there is no mention of the girls in Canadian contemporary newspapers. Little is known of this heroine after the Rebellion of 1837 other than she married an American and settled in the United States. De Grassi St. in Toronto is named after the girls’ father and the name is now famous with the TV series about De Grassi schools. Source: 100 more Canadian heroines by Merna Forester (Dundurn Press 1911) : Remembering the Don by Charles Sauriol (Consolidated Amethyst Communications, 1991)

Cornelia de Grassi


Heroine of the Rebellion of 1837

Born 1825. Died 1885. Her father Philippe (Fillippe) was a soldier in the British army and in 1831 the family settled in Upper Canada on a farm in what is now Toronto, Ontario. Life was a struggle for the family which lost everything to fire in 1833. In early December 1837 rumblings of rebellion saw the father set out with his daughters, Charlotte and Cornelia to reach Government House. It was to be an eventful couple of days. During the rebellion Cornelia spied on the rebels and relayed important information as to the size and state of the rebel forces to Sir Frances Bond Head the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. At one point she was stopped by the rebels but managed to escape only by dodging bullets, one of which left a hole in her saddle. There was a write up about the heroism of Cornelia and her sister in an American newspaper but there is no mention of the girls in Canadian contemporary newspapers. Little is known of this heroine after the Rebellion of 1837 other than she married an American and settled in the United States. De Grassi St. in Toronto is named after the girls’ father and the name is now famous with the TV series about De Grassi schools. Source: 100 more Canadian heroines by Merna Forester (Dundurn Press 1911) : Remembering the Don by Charles Sauriol (Consolidated Amethyst Communications, 1991)

Francoise-Marie De La Tour

Heroine of early Acadia

née Jacquelin. Baptized July 18, 1621, Nogent-le-Rotrou, France. Died 1645, Fort La Tour / Fort Ste Marie New Brunswick. December 31, 1639 in Paris she signed a marriage contract with Charles de La Tour. The following year she was married in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. The couple steeled at Fort La Tour at the mouth of the Saint John River. Her husband was in a struggle for power in Acadia with Charles de Menou and she was his chief supporter. Traveling to France she lobbied to have a King's Order for the arrest of Charles on charges of disloyalty. Within two years she was back in France and although forbidden to leave the country escaped to England and chartered a ship to caryy her and supplies to the Saint John River. The ship actually landed in Boston and she sued the captain  using the received funds to hire three ships to run a blockade of the Saint John Harbour by d'Aulnay in 1644. Taking command of the Fort La Tour she would in 18745 defend her home from an offensive and siege from d'Aulnay. but was forced to face reality after battle and ordered her men to surrender. All her men, except one who served as executioner, were hanged while she was forced to watch. She died there three weeks later. Source: D C B (accessed 2023)

Elizabeth Derenzy

Heroine of the War of 1812

née Selby. On February 8, 1813 Elizabeth married Captain William Derenzy who was a active participant in the War of 1812. Early in the War, Elizabeth convinced provincial leaders to establish the Loyal and Patriotic Society of Upper Canada. During the war itself the LPS distributed clothing for local militia but after the war it played an important role by funding medical care of soldiers and funding for relief of soldier’s families. In 1813 Elizabeth was helping her mother to care for her fatally ill father, Prideau Selby, who was Upper Canada’s Receiver and Auditor General. There was a considerable amount of public money at the Selby house when the Americans invaded the Town of York in 1813. A small chest with official documents and some of the gold was smuggled to the home of Donald McLean, Clerk of the Assembly. Shortly thereafter McLean was gunned down and the chest broken open and raided. A second larger chest was hidden by Elizabeth in a wagon that had vegetables on top to camouflage the chest. Elizabeth dressed the Chief Clerk, Billy Rae, in petticoats and a sun bonnet and thus disguised he slipped past the Americans and buried the public treasure in the wood. A couple of weeks later Prideau Selby, Elizabeth’s father, died and she became one of the executors of his estate. After the War she petitioned to have the estate repaid for personal funds taken by the Americans and even ten pounds for the destroyed chest. She also petitioned for losses and damage to their home farm by the American troops who had used fence posts for firewood and also chopped down valuable fruit trees as fire wood. Sources: Women of Valour , in Canadian History August-September 2013; Women of Courage 1812-2012  (accessed March 2015)

Mary Dohey

Born September 22, 1933, St Bride's, Newfoundland. Died June 12, 2017, Mississauga, Ontario.  A trained Registered Nurse, Mary chose to have a career as a stewardess Air Canada. On a flight from Calgary Alberta on November 12, 1971, which started out to be routine, Mary would show that she had the 'right stuff'. A hijacker, with a hood over his head, threatened the passengers and crew with a gun.  This brave stewardess spoke  gently to the armed man and managed to persuade the hijacker to allow the passengers and some of the crew to depart when the aircraft was diverted to Great Falls, Montana, U.S.A.  Even thought the hijacker was allowing her to leave she was concerned for the remaining crew and remained to do what she could to calm the aggressor until the drama was brought safely to an end when a fellow crew member overpowered the gunman.  On February 16, 1976 she was awarded the Cross of Valour, the 1st living person to receive Canada's highest award for bravery. (2020)

Laverna 'Verna' Katie Dollimore

Born January 22, 1922, Toronto, Ontario.  Died October 24, 2011. After graduating from high school in 1938 she worked for various companies in Toronto at secretarial or bookkeeping.  In 1942 she joined the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service posted to H M C S Cornwallis in Halifax. After World War ll she returned to secretarial work in Toronto. In 1956 she passed the public service exam and began working at the Canadian Department of External Affairs and was posted in Egypt, Poland, and other countries. In 1969 she joined the International Commission for Supervision and Control in Laos where she earned the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal.  In 1977 she was working at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran, Iran with Ambassador Kenneth Taylor (1934-2015). She assisted in the ‘Canadian Caper’ which orchestrated the rescue of six American diplomats during the Iranian Revolution. Her heroic service was recognized with the Order of Canada. She retired from External Affairs in 1983.

Joan Bamford Fletcher

Born July 12, 1909, Regina, Saskatchewan. Died April 30, 1979, Langley, British Columbia. Joan went overseas to England, Belgium and France for her education. After returning to Regina she worked with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration. In 1939 with the beginning of the Second World War she trained as a driver with the Canadian Red Cross and studied motor mechanics with the women's voluntary organization called the Saskatchewan Auxiliary Territorial Service.  Leaving for England in 1941 she joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (F A N Y) in Scotland and went on to learn Polish and serve as a driver for the exiled Polish Army. Near the end of the war in 1945 she was in Southeast Asia helping evacuate allied captives. She arrived in Calcutta, India in April 1945 and arrived in Singapore in the beginning of September. By October she was in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to evacuate civilian internment camp at Bangkinang. She helped some 2,00 Dutch civilian captives leave a Japanese prison camp through the Sumatra jungle during monsoon rains to safety through territory of hostile Indonesian rebels. In recognition of her efforts she was made a Member of the British Empire and was presented with a three hundred year old Samurai sword. After suffering from swamp fever she returned to England in July 1946 where the disease spread to her jawbone and part of her left jawbone was replace with plastic. In 1947 she served with the British Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. In May 1950 she left Poland after being told that the secret police where after her. Returning to Canada she rejoined her family now living in Vancouver British Columbia. In 2001 a film documentary, Rescue From Sumatra commemorated her wartime actions. Her Samurai sword is now in the Canadian War Museum. Source: Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan online (accessed 2022); Canadian War Museum.

Angelica Givins

Heroine of the War of 1812

née Andrews. Angelica married Major James Givins (sometimes Givens was used) (ca 1759-1846) on December 29, 1797 and the couple settled on land near Toronto, Upper Canada, that had been granted to James as a loyalist during the American Revolution. The couple would raise a family of nine children. James was an Indian agent who led a force of Aboriginal warriors and British regulars during the War of 1812. In April 27, 1813 the American forces raided the town of York (now Toronto) and Givins used his forces in an attempt to repel the attack. Forced to retreat , James led his battered troops to his home ‘Pine Grove’ where Catherine treated the wounded. Evidently there was so much blood that it stained the wooden floor. The blood stains remained on the floor until the house was demolished in 1891. Givins Street in Toronto is near the original location of the house and is named for the family. Givins Public School sports an Ontario Historic Plaque with the story of James Givins but alas there is no mention of Angelica. She had remained in her home during that 1813 raid while many families fled the oncoming Americans and cared for the wounded from the battle. Sources: Women of Valour , in Canadian History Aug-September 2013; Givens, James  D C B  vol. 7,(accessed March 15, 2015)

Ibolya 'Ibi' Szalai Grossman

Born December 10, 1916.  'Ibi' was a self-described “ordinary woman”. She was also a survivor.  She survived the physical and mental horrors of the Hungarian Holocaust. She survived to escape to the west. She survived the obstacles of being a European immigrant Jew. She survived the change to a new and foreign culture and way of life in immigrating to Canada.  She did all of this after her husband, her mother, father, and her sisters died in the death camps.  She survived to raise her son alone in Canada. She survived to write her story in the hopes that the horrors will not happen again.

Ann Harvey

Born 1811. Died 1860. Ann Harvey was the daughter of a Newfoundland fisherman who had settled his family near Isle des mortes in 1822. In 1828 the teen girl insisted on accompanying her father and younger brother in a small boat in an attempt to save people from the sinking brig, the Dispatch. With the help of their dog a safety rope was attached to the ship and some 163 people were saved before the ship went down in the storm. The family shared their small provisions with the survivors. King George VII of England presented Ann with an engraved medal, w00 gold sovereigns and a personally written letter. Two years later Ann married Charles Gillam and settled at Port aux Basques where they had a family of six children. In 1838 she again risked her life in a daring rescue of some 25 passengers of the ship the Rankin.

Elizabeth 'Mammy' Hopkins

née Baird. Born 1741, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U,S.A. Died after 1817, New Brunswick. At 13 Elizabeth married John Jasper, a Royal Marine. She helped during the American Revolution by serving, including manning the guns on the Stanley. She was wounded during battle. In a second incident, even thought she was wounded in the arm she helped her husband, who was sentenced to death, and 22 others to escape imprisonment. After John died she married Samuel Woodward, a loyalist soldier. At the end of the Revolution she and Samuel were shipwrecked when they first attempted to flee to New Brunswick. They eventually arrived safely but she was once again widowed and she married a third time to Jeremiah Hopkins. In all she would have 22 children with a set of triplets and a set of twin boys. In 1814 the family relocated to Quebec City to be closer to John and several of her sons who were fighting in the War of 1812. After she lost three of her sons in the war, On April 16, 18i6 she requested and received a war pension of 100 pounds a year. In 1817 she was back in  New Brunswick  settling on military grant Lands. Source: Women of Valour , in Canadian History Aug-September 2013 ;Elizabeth ‘Mammy’ Hopkins. Marching into History  (accessed March 2015)

Francoise-Marie de La Tour

née Jacquelin. Born 1602, France. In 1640 she sailed to Port Royal now Annapolis, New Brunswick to marry Charles de Lat Tour. The couple would settle at Fort La Tour near modern day St John, New Brunswick. She sailed to France to successfully speak on behalf of her husband when he was charged with disloyalty and returned to her Canadian home laden with supplies. Two years later she was less successful in defending her husband in France and was forbidden to leave France. Escaping to England she made arrangements to sail with supplies back to Canada. When the sips captain took her to Boston instead she sued him and used the compensation funds to carry supplies to Fort La Tour in 1644. In 1645, with her husband away for supplies she fought to defend her family and home against superior odds. With an outer wall invaded she was forced to surrender. She was hen forced, with a hang mans noose around her neck to watch as the remainder of her defense force were hanged. She herself died three weeks later. She is recognized in history as the 1st European woman to have lived, to have made and home and raised a family in New Brunswick.  Source: D C B.

Anna Ruth Lang

Born New Brunswick. On September 9, 1980, a fuel tanker truck hit Anna’s car with a force that took both the truck and the car hurling into the river below the bridge where the accident had happened. Anna struggled out of the car and swam to shore and stripped off her heavy wet clothing and dove into the icy waters and swam back to her submerged car. The oil tanker had exploded and burst into flames on the water. Anna found her four year old son and another woman and dragged them back to shore. Her son was fine after a short time in hospital. Anna herself had been badly burned in the rescue and was also taken to hospital. For her daring rescue Anna Ruth Lang was awarded the Canadian Cross of Valour the highest ranking medal for Canadian Bravery. (The medal was established in 1972)  Source: The Beginners Guide to Canadian Honours by Christopher McCreery

Marion Lay

Born 1823. Died 1872. Her father Philippe (Fillippe) was a soldier in the British army and in 1831 the family settled in Upper Canada on a farm in what is now Toronto, Ontario. Life was a struggle for the family which lost everything to fire in 1833. In early December 1837 rumblings of rebellion saw the father set out with his daughters, Charlotte and Cornelia to reach Government House. They encountered a group of rebels and Charlotte distracted the men allowing her father to slip past the rebels and make it to his destination. The following days were busy with rebellion d activities Charlotte worked behind enemy lines relaying messages. At one point she was shot and slightly wounded while dodging the rebels. There was a write up about the heroism of Charlotte and her sister in an American newspaper but there is no mention of the girls in Canadian contemporary newspapers. Little is known of this heroine after the Rebellion of 1837 other than she married an American and settled in the United States. De Grassi St. in Toronto is named after the girls’ father and the name is now famous with the TV series about De Grassi schools. Source: 100 more Canadian heroines by Merna Forester (Dundurn Press 1911) : Remembering the Don by Charles Sauriol (Consolidated Amethyst Communications, 1991)

Catherine Lundy

Heroine of the War of 1812

Little seems to be known about Catherine. As a young woman she married Thomas Lundy and the couple settled in the area of Lundy’s Lane, Upper Canada. During the War of 1812 when British Soldiers and local militia marched by her home she provided drinking water to the troops who had marched over 14 miles to combat the Americans.  The Battle of Lundy’s Lane was one of the fiercest battles of the War. There were in total from both sides some 6000 men in battle. On July 25, 1814. Each side of the battle suffered over 500 wounded. Catherine opened her home to the wounded and tended to their care. Her contribution was considered so important that a senior British officer paid her a visit and presented her with his sword. She could have fled the area but instead stood fast and aided the wounded. The Battlefield was declared  a National Historic Site in 1937. Source: Parks Canada (accessed March 2015)

Mary Isabella Macleod

née Drever.  Born October 11, 1852, Red River, Manitoba  Died April 15 1933 Calgary, Alberta.  During the famous Red River Rebellion (1869-70) a 17-year-old Mary successfully avoided detection by the Métis and delivered an important dispatch to Colonel Garnet Joseph Woolsey of the militia which had been sent to quell the rebellion. .  She married James Farquharson Macleod (1836-1894) July 28, 1876 and settled in Fort MacLeod in the North-West. The couple had five children. Mary frequently accompanied her husband on his tours of duty. James would become Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police, a judge and a member of the North-West Assembly making Mary a very busy wife and partner in the community. (2019)

Margaret McEwan

née Arnold. Born 1812, Died April 25, 1883, Sandwich (Now Windsor) Ontario  The Granddaughter of Benedict Arnold she married John McEwan (1812-1993) and the couple first settled in Sarnia while John established himself in the Lumber business. The relocated in 1848 to Sandwich (Now part of Windsor, Ontario) where John became clerk of the Court and where he served as sheriff of Essex County from 1856 to 1883. The couple were parents to seven children. In July 1854 a box car arrived in Windsor crowded with sick Norwegian immigrants. The unlucky immigrants had  been delayed and left without water or food for two days in Tilbury township and they had drank from a swampy river. Cholera set in and some 57 men women and children died in Windsor. There was no hospital so John McEwan set up a makeshift facility and his wife came to help. Two children were left as orphans that July 1854 and Margaret took them into her home and raised them until they could care for themselves. In 1855 the railway presented Margaret with an engraved gold watch for kind and Christian benevolence “. Her portrait is on a mural in ‘olde Sandwich” depicting early history of the area. Source: “The Yellow Brick Question” by Elaine Weeks. Times Magazine. Online (accessed November 2012)

Malabeam / Malobiannah 4058

Indigenous Heroine

Believed to have lived during the 1300's in the Upper St. John River Valley in modern New Brunswick. A member of the Maliseet peoples of the upper St. John River, Malobiannah and her husband were captured by a Mohawk war party and her husband was murdered. She was allowed to live provided she took the war party to the Maliseet village. Taking to the river in their canoes Malobiannah convinced that the roar of a water falls they heard was from another river which flowed into the St. John. She jumped from the canoes of her captors and made it to shore as the enemy canoes were destroyed and the warriors drowned in the rushing water of the falls. Malobiannah returned to her peoples and told of the death of the Mohawk war party. Today Malabeam Centre is an information centre located along the edge of the falls in Grand Falls., New Brunswick. The centre contains information bout the history of the falls and served as an interpretation centre for the legend of Malobiannah.

Elizabeth Mitchell

Heroine of the War of 1812

née Bertrand. Born ca 1761. Died 1827. Elizabeth was a comely Métis who married British Army surgeon David Mitchell in 1776. The couple would have a family of 12 children. The family settled on Mackinac Island. In 1811 David re-joined the British Army to serve in various locations during the War of 1812. It was Elizabeth who encouraged the Odawa (Ottawa) Nations people to fight on behalf of the British. After the war her service was recognized by the British with an award of fifty pounds for two years. In 1814 to show their respect the Ojibwa gave Elizabeth the deed to Round Island the traditional burial ground of their people.  After the war the land of their farm was ceded to the United States by the Treaty of Ghent in 1815. She remained at their home while David, who preferred to live under British rule built a new house on Drummond Island. The Americans did not appreciate Elizabeth associating with the Odawa peoples now that the area was American territory. She was considered a spy. She fled to join her husband returning some two years later only when tempers cooled down. She continued running the family businesses with her sons. Her home was once again a major centre of life on the island as it had been prior to the. War. The family home is now part of a Park.   Source: Women of Courage 1812-2012. (accessed March 2015.)

Mary / Maria Elizabeth Alexowina Muir

Heroine of War of 1812.

née Born September 8, 1785, Montreal, Quebec. Died May 9, 1862, St Hughes Co. Bagot, Quebec.  On August 6, 1801 16 year old Maria married a British Army Officer Major Adam Charles Muir (1770 or 1776-1829) who had been posted to Canada in 1799. The couple would have 6 sons and 4 daughters. In the fall of 1813 the war of 1812 raged and the Americans attacked Amherstburg in Upper Canada where the Muir family were posted. Maria and the children along with other women and children were sent off to safety in Moraviatown but they soon found themselves in the middle of the Battle of the Thames. A determined Maria put her children in a wagon and escaped capture by simply heading to York (Now Toronto). The trip must have been a nightmare since their destination was 240 kilometers away. They travelled through sparsely settled areas avoiding marauding groups of Aboriginals looking to scavenge what they could and often taking scalps to show their prisoner count. Maria managed to get her family safely to York. Source: Women of Valour , in Canadian History Aug-September 2013; D C B

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon is from New Brunswick. On December 6, 1979, Sharon’s four year old son was playing in a row boat with a young friend. The boat became cast adrift by a high wind. 150 feet from shore the children panicked and jumped in the chilling waters of the Saint John River.  An older brother screamed for his mothers. Shannon immediately dove into the cold waters and swam out to the children. She was able to save you young son but unfortunately the other child drowned. Shannon O’Brian was awarded the Canadian Star of Courage for her selfless bravery. Source: The Beginners Guide to Canadian Honours by Christopher McCreery

Eliza Ann Elizabeth Howard Parker

She and her husband were staunch supports of the Underground Railroad that secretly spirited runaway slaves from the United States to safety in Canada. More than once she had risked her life transporting escaping slaves. Besieged by slave catchers in Christiana, Pennsylvania she fought along side the men. She was arrested and along with fire other women stood trial for treason when the Christiana Riots were considered as an act of war against the United States. The results of the trial brought about changes in Pennsylvania's laws which prevented the slave catchers from taking runaways in this state and the lives of the rioters were saved. In 1852 she and her husband, William, arrived in Raleigh Township in Canada where they settled and raised their family. Today students of Black History make their way to her graveside to give homage to this valiant heroine of the Christiana Riots.

Mona Louise Parsons

Born February 17, 1901, Middleton, Nova Scotia. Died 1976, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She pursued life on stage after attending Acadia University. She taught at Conway Central College, Arkansas, U.S.A.  moving and then moving to New York City in 1929 she worked as a Ziegfeld chorus girl. She then studied nursing at the Jersey School of Medicine graduating in 1935.  On September 1, 1937 she married a rich Dutch businessman, Willem Leonhardt. During WW ll their home in The Netherlands was used as a refuge by escaping allied airmen. On September 29, 1941 she arrested, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death by firing squad.  a sentence which was later commuted to life with hard labour. On March 24, 1945 as allied forces bombed the prison camp, Mona escaped. She spoke fluent German a help in making her way back to The Netherlands. Reunited after the liberation, Mona nursed her husband Willem, returning to Canada only after his death in 1956. Mona was presented with citations from General Eisenhower and Air Chief Marshal Tedder of the Royal Air Force for helping allied airmen evade enemy capture. Back in Nora Scotia she married Harry Foster in 1959. In 2005 Historica Canada produced a Heritage Minute for TV detailing her arrest and her escape.

Abigail Becker Rohrer

née Jackson. Born Mach 14, 1830. Died 1905. At eight Abigail married a widower who was a trapper by profession and lived at Long Point Island, Lake Erie. In November 1854 she became a heroine when she was instrumental in saving the lives of the master and the six crew members of the schooner, Conductor, which was wrecked off of Long Point Island.  The story of her heroism was reported in the Atlantic Monthly in 1869 and in 1899 a book entitled The Story of Abigail Becker was published.  Since the turn of the 20th century her story seems to have been forgotten by most. 

Zena Sheardown

née Khan. Born Guyana.  Zena was the wife of Canadian World War ll, Korean War Veteran, and Canadian diplomat John Vernon Sheardown (1924-2012). The couple had met in London, England and were married in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A in 1975. They had two children. Posted to Iran the couple were right in the thick of the 1979-80 Iran Hostage crisis where 52 American diplomats and civilians were taken hostage in Tehran for 444 days. The couple hid four of six Americans that had managed to evade capture, Robert Anders and Cora Ambum-Lijek and Mark Lijek, in their home.  Later Lee Schantz, who was no longer safe with the Swedish ambassador, joined the group at the Sheardown home. Zena said it would have been selfish not to help as they had room and the Americans needed help. It was shear courage to take in these people and each knock on their front door was terrifying. In January 1980, after 79 days, the Americans escaped using Canadian passports. Later that year John was inducted into the Order of Canada and Zina, who was not yet a Canadian citizen received the 1st honourary recognition with the Order of Canada. By 1986 when Zina could celebrate being a Canadian citizen her and honourary status was revoked and she became a full fledged Member in the Order of Canada. In 1981 the couple were portrayed in the made for TV movie Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper. They were not included in the 2012 glossy Hollywood movie, Argo. The movie's star and director, Ben Affleck is said to have apologized to the couple for not including them in the movie storyline. (2020)

Kay Snelgrove

Born 1921, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan . Died April 25, 2001. Growing up she brushed shoulders with lives from history. Her father's friend, William Lyon Mackenzie was 'Uncle Mac'. Growing up in Montreal, she called her friend Elliott but his full name was Pierre Elliott Trudeau. When the family moved to New Brunswick, the children played base ball with the children of K. S. Irving. As a student at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. she attended dance class with the great grandson of Davey Crocket. It was while she was at Emerson, taking trips home to visit family in New Brunswick that she knew William Stevenson, who would later be uncovered as one of Canada's most successful spies. She helped deliver covert messages from the British war Office that made their way to President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the U.S.A. She had the help of Boston cabbies who accepted the code 'take me to my dorm'. She never knew the information she carried. She had taken an oath of secrecy and she did not even tell her family! And she would keep quiet until Stevenson's best selling book, A man called INTREPID was published in 1976. Later, after Pearl Harbour brought the Americans into the war, her work as a code runner was so vital she was protected by the RCMP. Decades later she would take therapy to overcome the recurring nightmares of the job. After World War ll she settled down to be Mrs. Mom and working as a receptionist at the Brampton Daily Times. When she retired in 1986 she was head of Classified Advertisements. According to her children, she never considered herself a heroine, but rather she did her 'duty'. She never did write her memoirs, she had been trained to keep secrets after all. Sources: Family Member

Fern Sunde

née Blodgett. Born 1918, Regina, Saskatchewan. Died 1991, Norway. Her family settled in Cobourg, Ontario and as a youngster she loved watching the steamships on Lake Ontario Fern dreamed of being a sailor. With the onset of World War ll she saw a chance to serve by becoming a wireless operator using spark gap radios to transmit Morse code messages. Moving to Toronto she worked during the day as a stenographer and took night courses to become a wireless operator graduating in June 1941. The Canadian Navy did not take women to serve so Fern joined the Merchant Marine serving on a Norwegian Merchant Navy ship the Mosdale sailing out of Montreal with Captain Gerner Sunde. Their role was to transport provisions across the Atlantic. Fern would make 78 of the 98 crossings made by the ship She and the captain were married a year after she boarded the ship . In 1942 the Norwegian Kin presented the husband and wife duo with the Norwegian War Medal. Fern was the 1st woman to even receive this honour. Fern left the ship shortly after the war ended and settled in Norway In 1988 the city of Farsund gave Fern a medal for the distinction she brought the city. Source: Merna Forster in  100 More Canadian Heroines.

Maria Wait        

née  Smith. Born 1820? Upper Canada (now Ontario). Died 1848. Maria married Benjamin (sometimes referred to a Bernard in sources) in October 1936. Benjamin worked at several occupations but was not necessarily successful as any of his jobs. The couple had a daughter, Augusta, born in the summer of 1838. Unfortunately, Benjamin had participated in the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion and in Augusta of 1838 he was sentenced to hang. Maria travelled over 900 kilometers and attempted to meet with Governor General, Lord Durham. When she was stalled by office staff she simply said she would sit in the office until she did see him. Durham gave in and provided her a letter to stop the execution. The Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada refused to take quick action and Marie threatened to go back to Durham. The final execution was stopped with only one half hour to spare!! Benjamin was sent to Tasmania, Van Diemen’s Land for life. Marie did not give up hope and travelled to England where working as a companion to a old lady she  applied to see and plead with various British officials and even with Queen Victoria. Returning home unsuccessful she continued to lobby in Canada for her husbands return. Benjamin escaped from prison in 1841 and two years later the family was reunited in New York State across the boarder from Canada. Marie died a short time later giving birth to twins. Source D C B Online edition.  Under Benjamin Wait.  (accessed June 2006)

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