FYI June 22, 2017

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On this day:

1813 – War of 1812: After learning of American plans for a surprise attack on Beaver Dams in Ontario, Laura Secord sets out on a 30 kilometer journey on foot to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon.
Laura Secord (née Ingersoll; 13 September 1775 – 17 October 1868) was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for having walked 20 miles (32 km) out of American-occupied territory in 1813 to warn British forces of an impending American attack. Her contribution to the war was little known during her lifetime, but since her death she has been frequently honoured in Canada. Though Secord had no relation to it, most Canadians associate her with the Laura Secord Chocolates company, named after her on the centennial of her walk.

Laura Secord’s father, Thomas Ingersoll, lived in Massachusetts and fought on the side of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783). In 1795 he moved his family to the Niagara region of Upper Canada after he had applied for and received a land grant. Shortly after, Laura married Loyalist James Secord, who was later seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights early in the War of 1812. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula, including Queenston. During the occupation, Secord acquired information about a planned American attack, and stole away on the morning of 22 June to inform Lieutenant James FitzGibbon in the territory still controlled by the British. The information helped the British and their Mohawk warrior allies repel the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams. Her effort was forgotten until 1860, when Edward, Prince of Wales awarded the impoverished widow £100 for her service on his visit to Canada.

The story of Laura Secord has taken on mythological overtones in Canada. Her tale has been the subject of books, plays, and poetry, often with many embellishments. Since her death, Canada has bestowed honours on her, including schools named after her, monuments, a museum, a memorial stamp and coin, and a statue at the Valiants Memorial in the Canadian capital.

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1839 – Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot are assassinated for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had resulted in the Trail of Tears.
The Treaty of New Echota (7 Stat. 488) was a treaty signed on December 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia by officials of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction, the Treaty Party.[1]

The treaty established terms under which the entire Cherokee Nation ceded its territory in the southeast and agreed to move west to the Indian Territory. Although the treaty was not approved by the Cherokee National Council nor signed by Principal Chief John Ross, it was amended and ratified by the U.S. Senate in March 1836, and became the legal basis for the forcible removal known as the Trail of Tears.

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Born on this day:

1427 – Lucrezia Tornabuoni, Italian writer and wife of Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici (d. 1482)
Lucrezia Tornabuoni (22 June 1427[1] – 25 March 1482[2]) was a writer and influential political adviser.[3] Connected by birth to two of the most powerful families in 15th-century Italy,[3] she later married Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici, connecting herself to another of the most powerful families in Italy and extending her own power and influence.[3] She had significant political influence during the rule of her husband and then of her son, Lorenzo. She worked to support the needs of the poor and religion in the region, supporting several institutions. She was a patron of the arts, and also wrote poems and plays herself.

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Political importance

Since she, in contrast to her husband, was of a noble line, she helped creating bridges between her husband’s family and the nobility.[19] Her advice was sought by many and she received both high and low-born people.[19] Her father-in-law admired her skills in deciding issues.[20] In 1450 she and her husband visited Rome for an audience with Pope Nicholas V, who gave them permission to build an altar in their family chapel.[21]

When Piero took over the government in 1464, his health kept him confined to bed.[22] This transformed their bedroom into something resembling a noble court.[23] His confinement meant that as Lucrezia was more free to move about, that she was often asked by others to bear their requests to him.[24] This included appeals to end the exile or imprisonment of petitioners, and to stop attacks by soldiers.[25] She was also called on to mediate disputes among others in the area, once ending a feud between two families that had gone on for twenty years.[26] In spring 1467, she again visited Rome and the Pope, while also looking for a wife for Lorenzo.[27][28] For a woman to travel without her husband and meet with the Pope and other influential officials like this was unusual, and commented upon by contemporaries.[28] In October 1467, as part of a rivalry between Piero and Luca Pitti, there was an assassination attempt against Lucrezia and her son Giuliano.[29]

Lucrezia’s husband, Piero, died in 1469.[30] After his death, she gained additional political influence as an advisor to her son.[30] Lorenzo freely admitted at her death that she had been one of his most important advisors.[30] She also gained more freedom to conduct business and own property.[31] She bought houses, shops, and farms in and around Pisa and Florence.[31] She would lease the shops out to different businesses, and thereby extended her patronage network.[32] In 1477, she took a lease on a public bath facility near Volterra, which she renovated into a profitable venture.[13][33] Her investments in communities around Florence helped spread the family influence and support network.[33]

She became well known for supporting religious convents, and working with them to help widows and orphans.[34] Often this assistance was provided by helping a family member to get a good position in the church or government.[35] She would also use her own income to provide dowries for women from poor families so that they could marry.[36]

Lucrezia died on 25 March 1482 after suffering an illness.[2] By the time of her death, she had many grandchildren.[9]

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