BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Leechtown
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
:
Locality - A named place or area, with or without a scattered population
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Relative Location: At junction of Leech and Sooke Rivers, Malahat Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 48°29'45''N, 123°42'45''W at the approximate population centre of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD83
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 92B/5
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Origin Notes and History:

Leechtown (Post Office & Station) adopted 2 March 1950; since changed to Leechtown (locality).
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
An abandoned mining town at the mouth of the Leech River, in turn named after Peter John Leech, lieutenant and astronomer of Robert Brown's Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition, 1864. Gold was discovered in Leech river by the expedition, and during the latter part of 1864 and in 1865, it is said upwards of $100,000 worth of gold was taken out of the stream..... [see Leech River for additional information about the namesake.]
Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)
"A discovery which I have to communicate is the finding of gold on one of the forks of the Sooke River about 10 miles from the sea... the whole value of the diggings cannot be easily over-estimated. The gold will speak for itself...." (Lieut. Peter Leech's journal, 14 July 1864) thus setting off Vancouver Island's only gold rush. Soon hundreds of men were working "Leech's River" and crowding the "Leechtown" mining camp that had mushroomed almost overnight. By spring of 1865 almost $100,000 had been recovered, but by the fall the gold and the miners were gone. The area was reworked during the Depression, and several small claims continue to be worked today - almost 150 years after the initial strike. [see also: Ghost Towns of British Columbia, by Bruce Ramsey, Mitchell Press, Vancouver, 1963, for photo and description of activity at "Kennedy Flat" and citation of Colonist newspaper articles from 1865; and Ghost Towns & Mining Camps of British Columbia vol.1, by T.W. Paterson, Stagecoach Publishing, Langley,1979, for photos and description of the town, stories of buried loot, outlaws, etc; see also "Leechtown" in Victoria Times, 28 August 1963; and "Lost Tunnel of Leechtown" in Victoria Colonist, 21 September 1969/Islander Section p.10.]
Source: BC place name cards, files, correspondence and/or research by BC Chief Geographer/Geographical Names Office.