Henry John Moberly

Henry John Moberly

Birth
Penetanguishene, Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada
Death 9 Jul 1931 (aged 96)
Duck Lake, Prince Albert Census Division, Saskatchewan, Canada
Burial Duck Lake, Prince Albert Census Division, Saskatchewan, Canada
Memorial ID 147231880 · View Source
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The following biography was part of this memorial when it came to me. Some of the information differs from an obituary published in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, July 10, 1931, page 3, as well as the inscription on the headstone in All Saints Anglican Cemetery, at Duck Lake. Perhaps the mists of time will clear sometime soon.

Moberly Family History
Aseniwuche Winewak
Nation

Henry John Moberly was born in Penetanguishene, Ontario on August 8, 1835. His father was Post Captain John Moberly. Henry John was educated at the Barrie Grammar School and at Upper Canada College. When he was eighteen years old, his father got him a job with Lloyds of London. He was posted to St. Petersburg in Russia for two years before returning to Canada. When he returned to Canada, he went to Fort La Cloche on Lake Huron. From there he went to Fort William, where he joined up with Governor Simpson of the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) for a trip to Norway House for a meeting of the Northern Department. At the age of nineteen, he was sent to Rocky Mountain House on the Saskatchewan River. He arrived on October 28, 1854. In 1856, he took supplies to Dunvegan, including leather for New Caledonia via the Peace River. In 1858, he took a pack train to Jasper House, thus "opening" the Jasper Trail from Edmonton to Jasper. The group started at Lac Ste. Anne and consisted of Henry John, Andre Cardinal, six Iroquois and forty horses. Henry John Moberly said that he was the first non-aboriginal to accomplish this task. He ran Jasper House for the HBC for four years from 1858 to 1861.

When Henry John arrived at Jasper, the old post was pretty much run down, so he decided to construct a new post. A visitor to Moberly’s post commented that it consisted of several buildings in the “Swiss style with overhanging roofs and trellised porticos”. During his sojourn in the Jasper Valley, Henry married Suzanne Karakonti/Cardinal.

Henry John and Suzanne had two children; Ewan (pronounced Ay-von) and John. Although Henry and Suzanne were officially married at Lac Ste. Anne in 1861, Henry John left her for another position, and she evidently returned to Jasper to live.

Suzanne raised her sons in the Athabasca Valley. She died in 1905 and was buried on her son Ewan’s farm near the present town of Jasper.

Henry John enjoyed hunting, so he spent lots of time hunting in the mountains with his Iroquois friends. They sometimes made hunting trips as far north as Grande Cache. On one trip, he recorded that four hunters, four meat haulers, a horsekeeper, a cook, an interpreter and their families made a trip into the north country and took seventy moose as well as a number of caribou, bighorn and goats. In the winter, when food was sometimes scarce, the local people resorted to eating lynx. Apparently Henry John had a dog that was trained to tree a lynx, so that it could be killed. Part way through one winter, the people of the Jasper Valley had killed eighty-three lynx. Henry John reported that he would stuff the lynx with minced sheep and roast it whole.

Over the years, Henry John had a number of interesting visitors to his Jasper post including James Hector of the Palliser Expedition. Hector was searching for a wagon road through the mountains. After leaving Jasper, Hector named a mountain for Henry John, but the Moberly name did not stick.

In 1870 Henry John Moberly established a Hudson's Bay post where Fort McMurray is now and married Francois La Fleur fathering a son, George Allen Moberly, and at least five other children.

In 1894, he retired from the HBC and was offered a land grant in Banff, but his new wife did not care for the mountains. As a result, he took a grant at MacDowall, Saskatchewan where he homesteaded. Later, the family moved to Duck Lake where Henry spent his last years. He wrote a book about his adventures in Jasper entitled When Fur Was King. He died in 1932 and is buried in the Anglican cemetery in Duck Lake. Henry John’s son, George from his Saskatchewan family, continued on with the family tradition, as he too was employed by the HBC for many years.

More info at Mountain Metis


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  • Maintained by: Nory
  • Originally Created by: III
  • Added: 31 May 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 147231880
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Henry John Moberly (2 Aug 1834–9 Jul 1931), Find a Grave Memorial no. 147231880, citing All Saints Anglican Cemetery, Duck Lake, Prince Albert Census Division, Saskatchewan, Canada ; Maintained by Nory (contributor 49545599) .