What Arrow Lakes community is named after a man jailed for embezzlement?
The answer, likely to surprise many, is Fauquier.
Frederick George Fauquier’s incarceration was a severe aberration in an otherwise distinguished career that included many government appointments. Indeed, he emerged from prison virtually unscathed: no one seemed to think any less of him for it.
Born in Woodstock, Ont. to an Anglican bishop, Fauquier came to West Kootenay in 1893 and was appointed mining recorder, police officer, and notary public at Nakusp.
His diligent service was recognized in 1900 when he was transferred to Revelstoke and named stipendiary magistrate, justice of the peace, government agent, assistant lands and works commissioner, assessor and collector, vital events registrar, and gold commissioner.
Something, however, went wrong.
In August 1901, a government auditor was dispatched to Revelstoke to look into irregularities in the gold commissioner’s office.
Fauquier was arrested at home and charged with misappropriating $100 in public funds while mining recorder at Nakusp. He was released on $2,500 bail.
“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 Fauquier “had many warm friends” who would have repaid the money had they known it was missing before the auditor arrived.
“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,” the newspaper said.
When Fauquier next appeared before a judge, he was further charged with stealing $2,097 in land sale money between Oct. 15, 1900 and Aug. 21, 1901 at Revelstoke as well as $811 in taxes collected from the Imperial Bank on June 22, 1901. The earlier Nakusp charge was dropped.
The auditor produced a list of land transactions for which no receipts existed, ranging from $3 to $213.
The auditor also presented a statement showing Fauquier received $819 in taxes, while the books recorded only $8.
Fauquier was committed for trial, and released again on $12,000 bail. Several more prominent businessmen stepped forward to post sureties.
A few weeks later, however, Fauquier pled guilty. The motivation for the crimes was never explained. His lawyer only said he took the money “to pay claims that other men would have ignored.”
And while there was no justification for the offence, “it had always been Mr. Fauquier’s intention to replace these monies,” the Kootenay Mail wrote.
“Mr. Fauquier had a wife dependent on him and also a family, and was without other means than this property. He was prepared, if he got his liberty at no distant date, to repay every cent he had taken.”
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 he stole — but around 1904, he returned to his ranch, later known as Fauquier’s Landing, or just Fauquier, and began growing fruit.
Overall, despite his transgressions, Fauquier’s kept his reputation intact.
In 1911, he was spoken of as a potential candidate for provincial office, and upon his death in 1917 at age 65, 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.”
Fauquier was buried in Nakusp.
Although his crimes were whispered of in his namesake community, they are not recorded in any history book.