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History of the Duchesne River in Utah
Taken from the Utah Place Names (Links Added)
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*Duchesne River (Duchesne, Uintah) originates at the southwestern section of the Uinta Mountains at the footof Mount Agassiz. The river drains south southeast through Duchesne into the Green River. Prior to 1875 the present Duchesne River was known as the Uinta River. As one of the more historic and prominent rivers of Utah, there has been much confusion in past writings as to the river's name history and relative relationships with the mouths of the nearby White and Uinta rivers. The river was supposedly named in the 1830s after the early French trapper in the area, Du Chasne. Others suggest that the name was derived from an early Indian chief. Name sources relating to Indian chiefs often crop up whether based on fact or fiction. Another version suggests that Father DeSmet may have influenced the name in honor of Rose Du Chesne, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart in America. Another record claims the river was named for Fort Duquesne, built by the French in 1754 where Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is located. Another reference records an Ute Indian word "doo-shane," which means "dark canyon." Parts of the river, especially in the Uinta Mountain areas, drain through dark canyons. Still another source suggests the river was named for Andre Duchesne, the French geographer and historian. There is also a chance that the actual name source will never be found. Unless there is a reference the author has not briefed, this would be an intriguing research project for an enthusiastic toponymist.

John W. Van Cott

*The Duchesne River flows through the following counties: Duchesne, Uintah.
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