A secret engagement and a star-crossed love?

This is Brockamour Manor in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and it’s the inspiration behind my latest work-in-progress. At first glance, it seems like your average Ontario historical home. In reality, I think there may have been a lot going on underneath this elegant surface.

It first belonged to famed Mohawk chieftain Joseph Brant and it sits across from Butler’s Barracks, another historic site. There is an interesting legend associated with it, and that legend was the one that inspired me.
It was owned by Captain John Powell during the War of 1812. It has been said that General Isaac Brock was in love with Sophia Shaw, the sister-in-law of Captain Powell, and that they were secretly engaged.  Historians have scoffed at the idea of this secret engagement because there is unfortunately no evidence to support it. However, Sophia was definitely living with the family at the time, and it’s safe to assume she and General Brock would have run in the same social circles. It’s not hard to imagine she might have been fascinated by the general. Brock was apparently handsome, and had a magnetic personality. He is also on record as having enjoyed the company of ladies. As for Sophia, we don’t know much about her, but we know she was single and eligible.
A romantic story arose about this alleged star-crossed couple. Some say that before the Battle of Queenston Heights in October of 1812, Brock rode furiously to Sophia’s home, in order to say a possible good-bye. According to those who believe this legend, she even offered him a final cup of coffee. It would have been the last time she saw him alive, for General Brock fell in battle at Queenston Heights, cementing his reputation as one of the heroes of Upper Canada. His death rallied the people as nothing had before, and many credit him for having a huge part in shaping our sense of nationhood.
Apparently, Sophia Shaw never married, staying true to her lost love, and lived out her life in the same home. As a result, the house is now called Brockamour Manor, in honour of the general’s love, and it operates as a B&B.
Even though we may never know the truth about the secret engagement, it certainly got me thinking. In my WIP, there is another star-crossed love, and another final meeting of lovers outside this historic B&B…although I’ve added in a ghost story for good measure.
Please stay tuned for more on this story!

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