Rebuilding our history

Fort McMurray rebounds from destruction, decade after decade

By Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

floodandfire_FRONTBANNERSurrounded by the Boreal forest and the rivers that run through it, the Wood Buffalo region’s natural beauty has been long admired by the people who live within it. And although its communities continue to be threatened by disasters, the people have stayed to rebuild. They’ve stayed to live, work and raise their children. They have remained resilient.

In this week’s special section – History through flood & fire, Fort McMurray Heritage Society’s (FMHS) Archivist Susan Walker references the region’s past, and its people, in her feature story: When disasters strike.
The feature’s timeline highlights a series of the region’s major disasters, which date back to over one hundred years ago.

It shares how residents like Henry John Moberly lived through Fort McMurray uncertainties by helping people in their most trying times. After being dispatched by the Hudson’s Bay Company to open a trading post, Moberly was the one responsible for naming Fort McMurray, after William McMurray in 1870.

His heroic story is captured by his actions during the spring flood of 1875. He swam for his life. After surviving the flood, he didn’t give up on the town’s people. Instead, he gathered men to take a 20-day journey to Lac La Biche to buy every available oxen, after Fort McMurray’s livestock was flooded.

He was one man, among thousands of other fearless men and women who have overcome the historic river jams and wildfires.

Whether manmade or natural, the land and its owners have recovered from destruction throughout the decades. The recent 2016 events will triumph the catalogue of Fort McMurray’s historic disasters and will be analyzed and applauded for many years to come.

As the stories of bravery and courage continue to unfold in the days, weeks, months and years in the future; the Beast has brought out many Moberlys of today.

– Connect Weekly –