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The first hunter/gatherers at the lake were aboriginal people of the Algonquin nation. They named the lake Kaijick Manitou after their chief, meaning "Cedar Spirit".

The lake was renamed Loon Lake and then Long Lake, by the white surveyors.

Native families such as Bernard, Lavallee and Baptiste were some of the first settlers. Of these, Algonquin Chief Jean Baptiste and his family are believed to be the earliest resident. Hence the village and lake were named Baptiste.

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Read more historical information by clicking on the topic of your choice below:

Early Settlers,    Bancroft Railway,    Dams on the Lake,    Logging Operations,   
Artists on The lake,    Old L'Amable,    Rangers Lodge,    Paddy Cox Story ,    Baptiste Memories



Old L'Amable (provided by Laurie Pon, Edmonton, AB)

The village of L’Amable has its homes, concrete and lumber industries and a gas station/variety store. Old L’Amable had horse racing, cricket fields, a stage service, two churches and all the trimmings of a growing little mill town. Going northwest from the highway on the old L’Amable Road, we can only find four of those original buildings still standing. It’s worth an excursion to see the pine Presbyterian Church (built 1881), the first graveyard in North Hastings, and the remains of pioneer dams and millworks. There’s an interesting story on how L’Amable got its name. Found in a mimeographed pamphlet called “a short sketch of old L’Amable” written in 1972 by Russ Barker. Barker reports the old people found three branches of Indians living in the Bancroft region. The Baptistes were in Herschel Township. The Lavallees closer to Coe Hill, and the L’Amables. These families were very interconnected, and other accounts put the Lavallees on both L’Amable Lake and Baptiste Lake. Certainly Frank Lavallee lived on Baptiste, while others in his family moved further north to Hay Lake and the Whitney area.

J.F. Tait told the following story about how L’Amable got its name: “....the main inlet into L’Amable Lake flows through an area of marshlands before it enters the lake. This creek is supplemented by a number of small tributaries. The combined streams flow into the lake at a point known as “the falls”. Back in these marshlands, an Indian by the name of Lavallee was engaged in breaking the beaver dams, thus sending the beaver down stream and over the falls. His son, L’Amable Lavallee, was placed there to shoot the beaver as they came down. He had a shotgun and was standing ready for action. He was leaning on his gun and ….the toe of his moccasin touched the trigger and discharged the gun with the result that he was killed. The lake was soon named “L’Amable” after this Indian boy. The village too, then and thereafter, has been known as L’Amable.”

Of course, “L’Amable” is French and could be translated as “the loved one”. Such French names as L’Amable and Lavallee were taken by the Algonkian Indians when they lived with the French missionaries. As for the white settlers, they arrived with the construction of the Hastings colonization road. It was built as a grand door opening the riches of inner Ontario, but ended in the words one of it’s “chief builders, as: “one long, long trail of abandoned farms, adversity, blasted hopes, broken hearts and exhausted ambition.” (C.F. Aylesworth, Jr. P.L.S.).

One of those who packed his dreams into the wilderness was William Robinson. In the early 1860’s he built a water mill where a creek draining L’Amable Lake crossed the Old Hastings Road. By one account, Robinson hired another settler, Robert Easton, to teach him the miller’s trade. William Robinson registered his lots 34 to 36 of Hastings Road in 1866, but he may have settled previously. Three years later John F. Robinson joined him next door. The neighbour to the south was John R. Tait who became the crown land agent, Post Master and storekeeper. Below that was Isaac and William Stimears, who patented in 1868.