Charlie and Davie Bennett were among Petrolia’s more colourful characters and were familiar figures in town during the early part of the 20th Century.
The brothers were bachelors who, for many years, lived in the town’s east end.
Both were renowned hunters and were particularly fond of animals of all descriptions.
In the buildings surrounding their Derby Street home, they were known to keep a small menagerie, which at various times included a black bear, skunks, snakes, coons, weasels and a few domestic pets such as dogs, cats and goats.
They were born in Harrisburg, Ontario, two of 11 children born to Jesse and Matilda Bennett, United Empire Loyalists who had moved to Canada during the American Revolution.
The family came to Petrolia in 1873 where Charlie and Davie remained the rest of their lives.
According to his obituary, Charlie spent many years working in the oil fields, mainly in the employ of Alfred Fletcher, a local oil producer.
In his later life he worked in the warehouse of VanTuyl and Fairbank.
In his younger days, Charlie was a noted strong man and was known to pick up, put on his back, and carry a 32-foot rail such was used to lay tracks in those days.
It was said that nothing pleased him more than a day’s hunting and it was not uncommon to his him headed for the woods with a gun over his shoulder and a ferret in his pocket.
Charlie died at C.E.E.Hospital Feb. 13, 1920 at age 76.
His brother Davie was an equally intriguing individual, having been a veteran of both the U.S. and Canadian armies.
During the Spanish-American war he enlisted with the American army and served in both Cuba and the Philippines.
In the First World War he enlisted with the 149th Lambton Battalion and later transferred to the camp staff at CampBorden before being discharged.
died at CEEHospital Feb. 19, 1948 at age 85.
Funeral services were held from Richmond’s Funeral Home where his casket was draped with the American flag in respect to his service to the U.S. army, while at the same time, the Union Jack above the town hall was flown at half mast in recognition of his service to the Canadian Army.
The adjoining picture of Charlie Bennett, with rifle and ferret in hand, for many years hung on the wall of Dale’s Drug Store, a popular and long-established business on Petrolia's main street.