Madeleine Jarret de Vercheres 3 Mar 1678 – 8 Aug 1747
When Madeleine was but 14 years old her ingenuity is credited with saving Fort Vercheres in New France (now Montreal) from an attack and raid by the Iroquois Indians.
October 1692 Madeleine’s parents left her in charge of her siblings while they left the fort on business and to get supplies for the winter.
One morning some settlers, along with eight soldiers left the fort to tend to fields and gardens. Madeleine was working in her families garden, which was quite close to the fort, when suddenly the Iroquois descended on the settlers. The men tried to make a run for it but were caught off guard and the Indians caught them and carried them off. Madeleine was close enough that she made it to the fort shouting “aux armes, aux armes” (to arms to arms), she made it to the bastion and fired a rifle, then encouraging the people to make as much noise as possible so that the Iroquois would think there were too many soldiers still defending the fort. Then Madeleine fired the cannon to warn other forts of the attack and to call for reinforcements. When a canoe was spotted with another family the soldiers refused to go to their aid, so Madeleine ran to the dock and quickly led the family to safety pretending they were reinforcements.
Late in the evening the settlers cattle returned to the fort, she knew the Indians might be hidden amongst the cattle. She and her brother ascertained that no Indians were among them and proceeded to bring the cattle into the fort. Reinforcements did arrive, caught the Iroquois and returned the settlers, at about the same time her parents returned to the news of Madeleine’s bravery.
You can read more fully about Madeleine at Wikipedia.com.