Born in Ayrshire, Scotland on April 4, 1785, Robert Doak arrived on the Miramichi with his wife and two young children in 1815. Originally on their way to settle in Kentucky, a storm on the Atlantic caused the ship to dock in the Miramichi Harbour. Being a business man in Scotland, Robert Doak saw the vast amount of lumber in the area and saw an opportunity. It was then that the family decided that the Miramichi would be the right spot to settle and begin their new life. In the early 1820s he and his older brother James moved up river to a community named Betts Settlement in which their father, Robert Doak Senior, had recently settled. There they bought the large property where the house now sits. Once arriving he established a water-powered carding mill and grist mill. A sawmill and an oat mill were later added. Besides these very successful businesses, the family also ran a prominent textile business which consisted of weaving and spinning along with a working farm that consisted of sheep, cows, oxen, horses, chickens and much more.
Over the next 30 years in addition to his farming and business pursuits, Robert Doak held numerous public offices including town clerk, clerk of the market, justice of the peace and many other various positions. It was this success in the realm of public affairs that led to him being widely known as “Squire” Doak and it is after him that the community of Betts Settlement changed its name to Doakton in 1854, which later became known as Doaktown.
The house was lived in by Squire Doak’s Family until 1979 when his great granddaughter, Margaret passed away and left the property to the government. In 1984 the property was recognized as a provincial heritage site and opened to the public. The property contains the house with its original contents, a milk house, a local school house dating back to 1822, a brand-new interpretation center and the Woolly Croft textile center.
What We Offer
Explore the property with a guided tour through the house, the old school house and the Woolly Croft. Start your tour at the new interpretation center where you will hear the rich history of Doaktown and see pictures from the area such as what main street looked like in the early 1900’s, the old train station and the Aberdeen Hotel. The house features all original pieces used by the Doak family. This includes a chair made by Squire Doak himself and a grandfather clock that belonged to Squire Doak’s wife which traveled from Scotland with them in 1815. Also tour the school house and visit the Woolly Croft to learn about the extensive textile business run here on the farm. To learn more about what classes and activities are planned at the Woolly Croft please click here.
Along with photos and displays, our interpretation center also features a gift shop. Here you can find homemade crafts made with love from locals in the community. You can also find a variety of local cookbooks to help you cook that perfect Miramichi dinner. A variety of hand woven products and jams and jellies made right here at the Doak Historic Site are also available!
The Doak Historic Site sits on 67 acres of beautiful fields and forest nestled beside the Miramichi River. Throughout the property there are maintained and marked hiking trails that take you around the fields and through the forest. View wildlife such as deer, squirrels and the vast amount of birds that call this place home. Although the trails are easy to walk please wear appropriate footwear. We also have a shaded picnic area where you can sit down and enjoy your lunch.