Kepler Creek flows into the mighty Peace River a few kilometers from Manning. The Creek is named after Henry Kepler. And according to historian Merrily Aubrey, Kepler was born in 1898. So he was barely fifteen when he came to the Peace Country.
He was a German merchant seaman who jumped ship at New York in 1913, and this he did to avoid compulsory military service in his homeland. Actually, maybe he was smart because the war broke out the next year.
He made his way to Alberta, and walked over the Edson Trail to the Peace River Country. There he established a trap line on the trap line that now bears his name.
Despite the hardships, Kepler reveled in his new life and he grew into manhood in the Peace country. When he wasn't trapping, he would haul passengers and freight from Peace River to Fort Vermillion. But, in midlife, Kepler was ready for a change.
By the late 1930s, the brush and forest fires depressed fur prices and the influx of settlers in the Peace River Country caused Kepler to leave the area.
I guess he was seeking more adventure, because, in the spring of 1940, he built a scow on which he departed with a load of lumber for Yellowknife, and there he pursued the blacksmith and machine shop trades he had learned as a boy.
Henry Kepler died in 1959 at the age of 61. But his name lives on in the Kepler Creek where he trapped for most of his life.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.