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Memorable Manitobans: Kenyon “Dad” Copperthwaite (c1840-1949)

Pioneer, trapper.

Known as the Hermit of Chesterfield Inlet, he was at one time Manitoba’s oldest resident and, according to his obituary, a “most colorful pioneer.” He came to Canada from England in 1853 at the age of 13 and initially settled on a farm at Peterborough, Ontario. Traveling on the first Canadian Pacific Railway train, he helped build the line through North Bay and came to Winnipeg in 1881. While working on the railway, he developed an interest in trapping small fur animals and started trapping in the Hudson Bay country and James Bay area shortly after his arrival in Winnipeg. Over his lifetime, he tried his hand at a number of northern pursuits including mining, building log cabins, and prospecting. He also took up guiding and reputedly accompanied groups on hunting trips in his 108th year. His wife never saw as many years as he did and their two sons were both killed in the Second World War.

Sources:

“109-year-old ‘hermit’ dies; came here on first train,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 February 1949. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical scrapbook B10, page 81]

“Selkirk hospital has oldest patient,” Winnipeg Free Press, 23 April 1942, page 2.

This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.

Page revised: 17 July 2010

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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