J.B. Dobie and “Ye Olden Tyme”

14 April 2019

Note: Dobie and Co. General Store is the blue building in the Thessalon 1890's pic on the main blog page. The light overhanging out over the the front of the building was Thessalon's first street light - an old carbon arc light which preceded electrical distrubution. The Dobie store was located where Main Street Pharmacy is now situated on Main and Algoma.

While living year round at Komta Cottage on Basswood Lake in the 1920’s my Great Grandfather J.B. Dobie wrote letters to the Editor of the Algoma Advocate recalling events and the history of pioneer days in Algoma. He titled those recollections as “Ye Olden Tyme”. You will see in the excerpt below from his obituary printed in 1939 how both J.B. and these submissions were viewed back in the day.

Mr. J.B. Dobie, whose death was recorded in last week’s Advocate, was a man possessed of a unique personality. Resourceful and versatile, beyond the average, he was quickly ready to adopt himself to almost any vicissitude of life. These qualities adequately equipped him for a role of leadership among the pioneers in this part of Algoma during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Perhaps, in the largest sense, no one person did more to shape the destiny of Thessalon and area than did Mr. Dobie.

As an active and shrewd business man Mr. Dobie was a hard worker. But he always found time to assist in any good cause and be friendly and kind to all.

In later years his splendid memory stood him good service. Many long letters from his prolific pen appeared in the Advocate under the title “Ye Olden Tyme”. These letters contain reliable historic data and information in detail which entitle them to a permanent place in Algoma literature. And no doubt, if they were collected in a suitable volume would be appreciated and in much demand, as they make many references to persons and events worthy of record in a reliable and interesting series of letters.

To pass on this history we are transcribing these letters from old clippings which my Uncle John McEachern preserved years ago and copied from their original form. We will be following up tomorrow with the first edition posted on the Basswood Lake Outfitters blog – we’re certain that both J.B. and Uncle Johnny would approve and we hope that you enjoy reading them!


J.B. Dobie as a Young Businessman_copy