Henry John Moberly

Henry John Moberly set out for Jasper from Edmonton in the fall of 1858. He was guided by Andre Cardinal and six young Iroquois who handled forty head of horses. Moberly developed an excellent relationship with the Iroquois who lived in the Smoky River and Kakaw River Valleys. He spent much of his time hunting as far afield as the present-day town of Grande Cache. This band of Iroquois had their own horses, which were mountain-raised and sure-footed. Moberly liked to participate in the Iroquois hunts.

Henry John married Suzanne Kwarakwante who was the daughter of Louis Kwarakwante, an Iroquois and freeman from the fur trade. The couple had two sons by the names of Ewan and John. Ewan was baptized on August 28, 1860, and John on December 30, 1861. 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 Moberly lived a long and fulfilling life. As an old man, he published a book called, “When Fur was King,” in which he detailed some of his travels during the early years of the fur trade. Henry John Moberly died in 1932 in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan at the age of ninety-seven.

Henry Moberly’s Métis offspring John, Ewan, and grandsons Adolphus and William (Bill) were four of the seven families that were affected by the creation of the “Jasper Forest Park.” An Order in Council was passed in September 1907 by the Canadian Federal Government to create this national park. This secretly passed legislation had long lasting implications for the seven Métis families because the Canadian Government did not want to have privately-owned land within the national park boundaries.

Ewan and John and their son’s went on to become some of the most prominent businessmen on Alberta’s eastern slopes. They ran trapping operations and guided for the outfitting industry. They carried on the traditions of their ancestors, bringing them into the 20th century.

Henry John Moberly’s descendants continue to live in the Hinton, Edson and Grande Cache areas. Some of his progeny include the Moberly’s and Groats. Many of his descendants continue trapping, guiding, outfitting, hunting and traditional use of the land in Willmore Wilderness Park and surrounding areas.