Choquette River

Feature Type:River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Flows W into lower Stikine River, just above Iskut River, Cassiar Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 56°49'26"N, 131°46'00"W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 104B/13

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 1935 on Geological Survey sheet 311A, Stikine River Area; the well-established name, used by navigators of the Stikine River and by prospectors. Also Choquette Glacier. Re-approved 20 January 1955 on 104B.

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

Choquette Bar, located in the Stikine near the mouth of this river, was named by the Geographic Board of Canada in 1898, after Alexander "Buck" Choquette, who discovered gold and established a claim there in 1861, thus igniting the short-lived Stikine gold rush. He had left Quèbec as a young man and participated in the California and Fraser River gold rushes before arriving at the Stikine. He was the Hudson's Bay Company agent at their Shakesville trading post in 1866; when Alaska was ceded to the United States, Choquette moved the post to the junction of the Stikine and Anuk Rivers. His original claim was immediately south of the mouth of this river, a site that became known as Buck's Bar or Choquette's Bar. Buck's Bar is identified in 1875 Mines Report (excerpted in 1912 BC Mines Report, p.69). The notation "Choquette's house & store (commonly called Buck's)" is included on Joseph Hunter's June 1877 plan of Stickeen River [sic], reprinted in International Boundary Commission Report, p. 247. "Choquette's or Buck's Bar" is labelled on G.M. Dawson's map Yukon District & Adjacent British Columbia, sheet 1, 1898. "Choquette Bar (not Choquette's Bar)" was adopted in the 1st Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 1898. One of the only known photographs of Choquette is held by the Yukon Archives, and while it is known that he died c1899 in the Yukon, a death certificate has never come to light. Descendents still live at Wrangell according to 1993 correspondence from great grandson (file I.1.54).

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

Choquette Bar and Choquettes (locality, long since abandoned) are no longer shown on maps, but would be positioned near 56º48' 131º46' as inferred from early maps. Buck Bar and Buck Riffle, downstream from Telegraph Creek, were also named after him; Mount Johnny, southeast of here, is named after his son, a trapper & miner on the Iskut who died at Sitka in the 1930's.

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

"Buck Choquette (as he was commonly known) had left Quebec as a young man, worked his way across the United States, participated in the California gold rush, and then the rush to the Fraser in 1852. He went north in 1859 or 1860 to Fort Simpson and from there he prospected the lower Nass and several other rivers [between the Nass and Stikine]. He appeared in Victoria in the spring of 1861... As much an adventurer and explorer as a gold seeker, the peripatetic Buck Choquette, in May 1861, chartered a Thlinget canoe and its canoemen to take him to Wrangell Island. The island theoretically was under the control of the Russians since the Hudson's Bay Company had abandoned its fort here. In reality the island and its environs were under the control of [Tlingit] Chief Shakes and his tribe - the same people who had prevented Robert Campbell and the Hudson's Bay Company from attaining a foothold in the Stikine country [1839]. Buck must had have great charm besides veracity for he not only persuaded Shakes to provide a canoe and river canoemen for this intended trip up the Stikine, but he also persuaded Shakes to permit his daughter, Georgiana, to become his wife..." (experpt from manuscript "An Overview of the History of the Stikine/Cassiar Region, vol. 1" by Georgiana Ball, 1983).

Source: included with note