Mr. Fauquier’s Funk Place!
Submitted by Richard Eichenauer
Why did the local people want to rename in 1967 the settlement of Fauquier into something else, like „Birchpoint“, or „Aqua View“ or „Oakville“, etc.? There were two reasons: One was that many felt, they had a hard time with the pronunciation of the name Fauquier. It sounded too close to a four-letter word, which workmen and loggers used all the time, but couldn’t be said in the company of ladies. The other reason was that some of the old-timers felt that Mr.Fauquier, who had given the little settlement its name, had been a „crook“ about 80 years earlier.
Besides various stories I heard from the then still living old timers about embezzlement of government moneys by Mr.Fauquier, I also heard the story of how he tried to „ailinate“ a prime section of „Crown land“ with a stroke of his pen from some first settlers that had gone to the trouble of staking that piece of land according to the laws of the land. The piece of land in question lies about 1 km south of the present day ferry landing on the Fauquier side.
In those long gone by days, you could get a 1/4-section (160 acres) by “staking a homestead“, build an abode for yourself and family, clear enough land for a garden and some fruit trees and living on this land, improving it over a period of about 5 years, pay almost next to nothing for the land, and then get the „title in fee simple for a free hold“.
The „Staking“ for a homestead in those days, I was told, had to be done on the 1st of January in a given year. You would have had to explore the parcels of land that had been „written out“ in the previous year, and see what it was like: location, soil type, water availability, access by trail, road or water, if there was a lake near by.
The first of January in this country and in those years meant between 2 and 6 feet of snow on the ground, and the temperature to go with it. Needless to say, there were no roads then and you had to hike into the place you desired to claim by staking it. And staking meant that you had to go to the approximate corners of the 160 acres and pound a marked stake into the frozen ground – as early as you could do so, so as to be the first on site to do just that, especially if you were going after a prime location in a valley where there was not much flat land anyway, and possibly with access to a lake, on which sternwheelers held a reliable connection to the rest of the world. And for such a prime location you better went early, real early, namely New Year’s midnight – at the best in partial moonlight stomping through all that snow around 160 acres.
160 acres in this case was roughly a square with a side length of 800m. To stake the 4 corners, you had to stomp a minimum of 3.2 km, plus the way there from wherever you had your covered wagon or camp – through rough virgin forest – in deep snow, in the dark!
In 1890 or there about, the Funk brothers had all done the appropriate steps and hikes at New Year’s midnight. When they came to Nakusp a day or two later to register their homestead land claim, the government registrar, who was Mr. Fauquier then, informed them that that piece of land had already been claimed. The brothers asked by whom. Mr.Fauquier refused to tell them. The brothers told Mr. Fauquier that they had not met anybody at New Year’s midnight and that they claimed that land.
You can imagine the rage the brothers felt when it turned out later that Mr.Fauquier had claimed the 1/4-section lakefront land for himself by just writing in his name in the papers without going through the necessary steps and hardship of staking it. The Funk brothers finally were granted title to the land in question, to Lot 7604 and not Mr.Fauquier. He somehow ended up on a parcel that is now the Fauquier golf course, which previously had been „Fauquier’s Landing“ during the times, when sternwheelers were still plying the Arrow Lakes and Fauquier’s place became a stop for the boats.