Friday, November 25, 2011

Dowsett Island

     If you have been following along with me, you know two things. My grandfather just turned 90 and our family hunts and fishes. While at Grandpa's birthday shindig, I saw a  real estate listing my cousin Susan had found for "Dowsett Island". This is a little family history stub with the details.

     The island is located in Horseshoe Bay off of the Big Rideau Lake. It's a hunting/fishing camp that boasts a main building with two sleeping cabins, docks and a boat launch from the mainland. The only way on or off is by boat. Now that I knew of its existence, Susan and I went on an adventure to find it.

The view from the point, well one of the points
This shot is across the mouth of the bay

The stairs leading down to the boat launch

And more

And then just a few more

The view from the launch
This looks out from Horseshoe Bay into the Big Rideau
Dowsett Island is off to the left
Directly ahead at the other side of the lake is Portland

From the water looking up at all those stairs

     Hunting and fishing camps were big business on the Rideau for several decades. Tourists from all over Canada and the US would come to visit the area. Here is what I know of its history once again supplied by Susan.(and in her words mostly)

     I have traced back to find Jack Dowsett, born in 1882, living and working in New York state as a blacksmith owning a shop in Rutland, Jefferson Co. in 1905 (age~23). By 1910, he had become an American citizen, was married and had a 3 yr old daughter and was still living in Rutland. By 1920 (age ~ 38) they were living in Utica, Oneida Co. and had 4 children. Jack's occupation had changed to 'salesman'. I concluded that it may have been in the late 1920's to early 1940's when the "camp" saw it's boom . I took some clues from history but most from pictures and dates.

     Jack and Grace returned to the island ~1957 to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Elva Dowsett Lorimer, husband Joseph, owned the island by then and had owned it for a while. (concluded from pictures again). Jack died in 1963. He would have been ~80.

     I spoke with my older sister Lynda about our adventure and she confirmed my suspicion that the place we were where the current owner's access the water could not be the original land's end. She said she remembers it being level with the water, like a little beach. This is what is in the background of the hunting pictures. You could not see the island from the launching point. You rowed out and to the left which is what we found to be true.

     Susan also had these pictures of my grandfather Evon as a young man hunting with his uncles and cousins. In the background you can get glimpses of the camp and sleeping cabins.

My grandfather, Evon Craig and Jack Dowsett(?)
Going by canoe out to the island

Jack or Bert Dowsett, Evon and Sonny (Samuel) Dowsett

Evon Craig and Bert Dowsett

Evon, Sonny Dowsett(?), Bert Dowsett and Bert Lorimer

Evon, Bert Lorimer, Sonny Dowsett

Front: Evon, Joe and Bert Lorimer
Back: Sonny and Bert Dowsett(?)

     The pictures may seem a little gruesome to some, but hunting and fishing have always been a big part of our family traditions. Venison, moose, elk, duck, goose and any number of lake fish have graced out tables and still do. No sport hunters in my family, looking for trophies. To me, these are pictures of a young Evon enjoying time with his uncles, doing something he loved to do and still does. He was out deer hunting this season with my uncles and cousins, at 90.

     Across the water on the point, I still don't know exactly where, another Dowsett uncle had a cottage. That is where my Grandfather and Grandmother spent a week for their honeymoon.

     For the low low price of 325k you can own an island and a little piece of my family history. Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Just another one of those moments I find myself saying: IF only money were no object!

    Wouldn't it be great to have this back in your family. How many Gingerbread houses do you think you'd have to sell to be able to buy it? LOL

  2. If only... It was cool to find it and see but it definitely isn't like Barb's place on Otter lake.
    BTW Great grandma Craig, Eva Belle Dowsett Craig had a place down Barb's road in the 70's. apparently we, Mom Dad and I, stayed there for a week once when I was about three.

  3. Hi,
    I came across your blog when researching the history of Dowsett Island as we have purchased this piece of property from the current owners. We are originally from Northwestern Ontario and have had a family 'camp' for 50 years there. Knowing that 'places' are held dear for the memories of loved ones and good times, I wanted to let you know that we will be thoughtful and caring stewards for this little piece of paradise and we welcome a visit if you are ever in the area.
    Laurel Skinner

  4. I came across your blog when researching the family name "Dowsett". Jack Dowsett was my grandmother's brother. I don't remember him at all, but know that we visited that Island to see my Aunt Elva Lorimer when I was small. I have find memories. Who is the Samuel Dowsett in your photos? I am not sure of the time frame or age of the people. Sue Davis or see my blog


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".