Pouce Coupé River

Feature Type:River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Pronounced: poos coo-PAY
Relative Location: Flows NE across BC-Alberta boundary, E of Dawson Creek, thence into Peace River, Peace River Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 55°53'14''N, 120°00'00''W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 93P/16
Related Maps: 93P/16
93P/9

Origin Notes and History:

"Pouce-Coupé River (not Echafaud)" adopted in the 18th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1924. Form of name changed to Pouce Coupé River (without the hyphen) 7 July 1949 on 93P/NE.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Labelled "D'Echafaud River" on G.M. Dawson's 1879 map for Geological Survey of Canada map "BC: Northern & Peace River Country" 1879-80 sheet # 2. Similarly identified in the 1909 BC Gazetteer. Labelled Pouce Coupé River on BC map 19, 1912, and on BC map 26, 1912, and on BC map 1H, 1917.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"...a chief, who, owing to an accident caused by his own gun, was called Pouce-coupé, or Thumb-cut-off, by whites and reds alike." (quoted from the Stuart Lake journal, Monday 12 November 1827.)

Source: Morice, A.G; The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia; London; 1906.

"Named after a Sikanni Indian trapper, born at McLeod's Lake, who had a cabin at the mouth of Cut Thumb creek. Severely cut his thumb while butchering a moose [near or at the creek], and got a nickname in English & French which was then applied to the creek. One of few of his tribe to cross the mountains, he hunted beaver along the river named after him, Pouce Coupé, which is French for "cut thumb". The town was named for the river." (Campbell, W.N; "Monsieur Pouce Coupe" published in Cariboo and Northwest Digest, July 1949, p.6-7.)

Source: included with note

"...the correct explanation is that it came from the name of an Indian called Pooscapee. This Beaver Indian name would be near enough phonetically to the French phrase pouce-coupe meaning 'cut thumb'and that is the name by which the French voyageurs called this Indian. In the Beaver language this word Pooscapee had quite a long and involved meaning. It meant 'the place where the beavers had a dam and went away and left it, and that is where the chief had his lodge'." (MacGregor, James G; The Land of Twelve Foot Davis; Applied Arts Products Ltd; Edmonton; 1952, p.160) Esme Tuck, author of "A Brief History of Pouce Coupe..." published by Pouce Coupe Women's Institute, 1954, accepts MacGregor's explanation.

Source: included with note

The first known record of Pouce Coupe is in Simon Fraser's journal, 17 August 1806, "P. Coupe, with a few others, arrived [at Fort Dunvegan]. They have made a poor hunt." A century later, the Provincial Minerologist referred to his camp "...on the Pouce Coupe Prairie...on the edge of Dawson Creek where it flows into a larger stream known locally as Bear River, called D'Echafaud Creek by [geologist] G.M.Dawson, but more recently named Pouce Coupe River by the Geographic Board of Canada." (Provincial Minerologist, BC Mines Report, 1906, p.126) See also Cut Thumb Creek and Pouce Coupe (village).

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office