Fifty-sixth in a series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Fauquier, on Lower Arrow Lake, is named for Frederick George Fauquier (1852-1917), mining recorder, police officer, notary public, justice of the peace, government agent, stipendiary magistrate, gold commissioner — and embezzler.
Born in Woodstock Ont., Fauquier came to Nakusp in 1893 where he received the first of his many appointments. His diligent service was recognized when he was transferred to Revelstoke and conferred with more government duties.
However, in 1901, an auditor was dispatched to look into irregularities in the gold commissioner’s office and Fauquier was arrested and charged with misappropriating public funds.
“The greatest regret is expressed in town at this unfortunate affair as Mr. Fauquier is not only personally popular but has proved himself both at Nakusp and here a most acceptable and capable official,” the Revelstoke Herald wrote.
The Kootenay Mail added: “It is evident that Mr. Fauquier had been making an effort to straighten matters up as he has been offering for sale his ranch in the lower country.”
A few weeks later, Fauquier pled guilty. The motivation for this crimes was never explained, but according to the Mail, “it had always been Mr. Fauquier’s intention to replace these monies. Mr. Fauquier had a wife dependent on him and also a family, and was without other means than this property.”
The judge sentenced him to two years in the provincial penitentiary. It’s not clear how much time he served — nor if he ever repaid the money — but by 1905, he was back at his ranch, later known as Fauquier’s Landing, or just Fauquier.
Despite his transgressions, Fauquier kept his good name. His obituary was adulatory. “Always of a bright and cheerful nature Mr. Fauquier was universally liked and highly respected by all who came in contact with him,” the Nelson Daily News wrote. “He was the most extensive fruit grower on the lake, his orchards being considered among the models of British Columbia.”
The community that grew up around Fauquier’s ranch got a post office in 1913. But its pronunciation has always been a source of debate. Is it foke-yer, foke-yay, or falk-yer?
The Discover Arrow Lakes & Area guide published in 2003 suggested: “If you can’t get your mouth around the name just remember ‘Folks are folkier in Fauquier.’”
In People In the Way, his book about the displacement of Arrow Lakes residents due to the High Arrow dam, James W. Wilson wrote: “The name Fauquier … seems to have produced four-letter associations in many minds. Hence the move towards a more comfortable name.”
Wilson quoted a 1967 letter from BC Hydro: “The competition to select a new name for the community is to close early in July, then a petition for change of name will be circulated.”
However, he added: “To the best of my knowledge nothing ever came of this move.”
The settlement that replaced the town submerged by the dam’s construction was originally called New Fauquier, but the New was soon dropped.
Previous installments in this series