James Barnes Dobie and his wife Mary purchased a piece of land on the southeast shore of Basswood Lake near the mouth of Harris Creek in 1880. This started a 140 year history of Dobie descendants living on this beautiful lake shore.
J.B. owned and operated Dobie and Co. General Store and was a pioneer outfitter in Thessalon for many years supplying the community with food, yard goods, furniture, feed and household supplies. He and his family of eight children spent as much time as possible at the Basswood Lake property which they named Komta Cottage.
Those were pioneer days in the area before rail and with limited road access however a small settlement named Day Mills sprung up on what is now the Highway 17 crossing of Harris Creek at Dayton Road. The settlement depended on the power created by harnessing the cascading waters of the steep creek to drive a sawmill for lumber production, a grist mill for milling the grain from the surrounding farms and driving tools utilized by a pioneer furniture shop.
In 1923 after retiring from his store, J.B. was delighted to take the opportunity to reside year round at Basswood Lake year with his daughter Tina, her husband John McEachern and their children. John McEachern was primarily a prospector however he was also the first settler to take up farm land in Gould Township north of the Mississauga River in the early 1900’s just west of what is now Tunnel Lake at Highway 129. He was also a capable carpenter and craftsman framing his dwellings and making beautiful lamps and household necessities.
My mother Margaret was one of the McEachern children growing up in the 1920’s on Basswood Lake at Komta Cottage. Margaret, like her mother and grandfather before her, instilled in all of her children a love and passion for Basswood Lake’s natural surroundings, clear deep water and rich local folklore.
It’s a pleasure then to carry on this long family legacy and to start-up a mercantile business in this historic area - supplying hand-made rustic wood furniture and outfitting cottage and country home-owners with collectibles and other quality household goods.
Basswood Lake Outfitters