THE COREY ROOM
By Dave Hext
As published in the Independent
Charlotte sat in the study contemplating her life here in Petrolia, it had been very eventful. The story all started by moving here from Adelaide Township, to live with
her older sister Isabella and brother-in-law, George Moncrief.
George was the Reeve of the Village of Petrolia, and an accomplished Lawyer by profession. Certainly on his way to the top. The Moncrief’s were always wining and dining the elite of
Petrolia’s Social Circles, and that is how Charlotte met her husband Jacob Englehart.
He was a man with great power, as well as great wealth. Jacob was sixteen years her senior, but that didn’t matter. He was suave and debonair; a perfect
gentleman. He wore very expensive imported high collared shirts, a Van Dyke beard with a thinly trimmed mustache, and wore a pince-nez (very stylish glasses in the early 1900’s). Jacob was not only the town fashion palette, but he wanted Charlotte to
dress like royalty also.
When Jake proposed, he not only gave her a beautiful ring, but the keys to a stately manor, Glenview. How grand it was to move into Glenview. She had visions for the many acres of rolling hills that lay below the mansion. Charlotte
was going to beautify those unsightly oil derricks, and certainly do something with that awful smell. She loved living with her sister, but the smell that came with living right on the edge of the main oil fields of Petrolia was a little much.
long before she had acres of sweet smelling flowers that timely bloomed and gave off a sweet smell all spring and summer long. She had a carpenter employed to build a grand greenhouse right on the back of the house. It was a great place to spend all those
hours and days when Jacob was abroad making deals, and other business alliances. Oh those business trips! Jacob would come home and it would take him a week to unwind on their private golf course. Charlotte enjoyed golf very much, but Jacob used it to take
all his frustrations out beating that ball senseless. It was getting embarrassing sending the coachman to the emporium to place a mail order for more clubs. Charlotte believed they kept a good supply of clubs under the counter, just for her husband’s
“I have many fond memories of rehearsing our skits that we later performed on stage at the Playhouse. I remember one play in particular that my brother-in-law George played a clown, till this day we still laugh about how suiting it was for
a politician like George to play a clown. Jake even said he didn’t even have to rehearse for the part, Charlotte recalled.
Jacob and Charlotte were married Dec.29 1891 and were a very happy couple. Their whole world evolved around Jacob’s
oil business which produced millions of dollars in revenue, but Charlotte was also a success in her own life. She was very active in the community and being a very Christian woman, donated a lot of her time to Christ Church Anglican.
In late 1907 Charlotte
developed a bad cough that at first she blamed on the oil smell that was always in the air. As time went on she found herself very fatigued and losing her appetite. She had to be taken to a clinic, because Jacob wanted only the best of care for his bride.
The best clinics were a considerable distance, so Charlotte had to leave Glenview to get the care she needed. Charlotte faced night sweats, fatigue, painful breathing and a hacking cough. She was eventually diagnosed with Tuberculosis (a very contagious disease
that required her to be quarantined). It was at this time that she realized that her town desperately needed a hospital.
Charlotte became very thin and frail, and on Dec .31 1909, she passed away. In her will she bequeathed her beautiful red brick mansion
to the Town of Petrolia, including properties, golf course and beautiful terraced gardens as well as monies to sustain the properties. The stipulation to the town was, her husband could live there for the rest of his life, and see that a maternity ward and
x-ray centre be built. Jacob, knowing this was Charlotte’s house, thought that the town should have it early and moved north to work.
Over the years, the study housed the waiting room, and later offices, and through wear and tear over the
years it needed care and attention. The Corey family stepped to the forefront and raised the money needed for its repair. Harrison Corey was a long time Hospital Board Chairman, and after his passing, his wife Helen Corey made sure the room was cared for.
Hence the room became known as the Corey Room.
Come on out and experience the early oil days of Petrolia, where you can sit in the study as Charlotte had in 1907 waiting for her ride to get medical attention, (which those were her last days at Glenview).
The Study is just as it had been when Jacob closed up the beautiful stained glass doors for the final time.
Relive history and come out to Petrolia on June 21 and 22 and get a feel of the opulence and richness of this fine home. You can find us at doorsopenlambtoncounty.ca
or like us on Facebook.