Richard Dobie was born in Scotland, in 1730, probably in or near Edinburgh and apparently of humble parents. In 1764 he settled in Montreal and the same year wintered in the Temiscaming area.
This first venture brought him large returns, perhaps ample enough to allow him to embark on his own as a merchant. He became very rich in two years. In 1766 he was among the signatories to a memorial from the Montreal merchants to the Governor regarding the Upper Country trade.
By 1785 Richard Dobie was considered the principal merchant and the richest inhabitant of Montreal. In 1772 he became a member of St. Peter's Masonic Lodge, serving several times as Master. He was among the original subscribers for the sum of ten guineas to the building fund for the Scotch Presbyterian Church in St. Gabriel Street (the church was erected in 1792).
Dobie, the richest man of Montreal after the Conquest, died on March 1805, in Montreal, aged of seventy-four years. Twenty seven Dobie's letters to Aeneas Cameron witness to the history of the fur trade in Quebec, particularly in the Temiscaming Region, and represent valuable archival resources.