Jake Englehart

This article was written by Chip Martin

A certain amount of mystery surrounds Jacob Lewis Englehart, an American whose never-say-lose attitude and substantial resources lay behind the stunning success of the London Tecumseh Base Ball Club in the 1870s. Under his leadership, the Tecumsehs finally bested the archrival Guelph Maple Leafs after years of frustration to become Canada’s baseball champions, and one of the foremost clubs in North America, arguably the country’s first major-league champions.

Defeat did not rest lightly on the mind of Englehart. He particularly disliked losing to Guelph, whose George Sleeman was a successful brewer, promoter of his town, and fiercely competitive driving force behind the Maple Leafs, Canada’s championship team from 1869 to 1875. The rivalry that developed between London and Guelph was something to behold. London was a city of about 18,000, while Guelph was a town less than half that size. But games played between the two cities attracted as many as 10,000 spectators, many of whom joined their teams on excursion trains for what was then a four-hour journey between the communities. This was at a time when visits by either club to Toronto or Detroit resulted in lopsided wins against those far bigger cities.

London and Guelph sometimes defeated touring professional clubs from Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis. Southwestern Ontario was the hotbed for baseball in Canada throughout the 1870s, with games having been played in the region since at least the late 1830s. Major professional teams knew this, and regularly scheduled games in Guelph and London during road trips through neighboring New York and Michigan, knowing they would draw good crowds and play competitive teams.

Jake Englehart has an important place in Canadian baseball history, although his baseball exploits are less well known than his pivotal role in Canada’s fledgling petroleum industry and his founding of the oil giant Imperial Oil. He also played a big part in opening Northern Ontario to development in the early 1900s, his success where others had failed resulting in a grateful community named after him. His achievements were many in business, philanthropy, politics, and railroading. When he died in Toronto, his funeral attracted headlines and attendance by many members of Canada’s business and political elite. In the end, his important contribution to Canadian baseball was overshadowed by his many other accomplishments.

Englehart was born on November 2, 1847, in Cleveland, Ohio, one of three children of Joel and Hannah Englehart. Joel was a clothier, with the firm Deckand and Englehart. When Jake was about 13, his father relocated the family to New York City, where he pursued business opportunities. In time, the young Englehart became a salesman for clothiers Sonneborn, Dryfoos and Company, and eventually a partner of company principals Solomon Sonneborn, Abraham M. Dryfoos, and Leopold Beringer. The company switched from the manufacture of clothing to the “rectifying” of whiskey, a term used for the bottling of distilled spirits. By the time of the Civil War, America had developed a strong thirst for alcohol, and Englehart and his partners quickly changed their focus to profit from that trend.

Most whiskey rectifiers purchased spirits from a variety of distillers, then filtered and blended the spirits to produce their own distinct brands. Some, however, were after quick money by blending small amounts of whiskey with flavoring and neutral grain spirits to produce a watered-down beverage they called “blended whiskey.”1

Consumption of alcohol in the United States had grown at an astonishing rate during the 1800s. By 1860, consumption had increased by 20 percent from 1850 alone, and it remained high during the Civil War. One factor in the increase was the desire for temporary escape from the economic, social, and political woes that plagued the country; another was increasing immigration from foreign lands where drinking was widespread, such as Germany and the British Isles, especially Ireland.2

Whiskey was often used to dull the pain of wounded soldiers during the Civil War and to cleanse their wounds. The conflict also saw the destruction of some distilleries, so that prices began to skyrocket. A black market for whiskey boomed, and more than 1,000 whiskey distillers and rectifiers were operating by 1863. To fund the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln introduced the Revenue Act of 1862, which created an income tax and excise taxes on luxury items, including liquor and tobacco. Alcohol was taxed at 20 cents for each “proof gallon,” which initially generated $3.2 million a year in revenue for Washington. The tax was raised to $2 a gallon, producing $30 million in tax revenue annually.

This led to rampant moonshining and the creation of the “Whiskey Ring,” a criminal operation that underreported actual production and used bribes and blackmail to influence federal agents and shopkeepers. To combat such tax avoidance, the government reduced the tax to 70 cents a gallon, but the practice continued.3 Evidence suggests that the firm for which Englehart worked also participated in the widespread movement to dodge taxes.

For years, alcohol had also been widely used in illuminating lamps, but that market had gone flat with the growing use of kerosene derived from oil discovered in Pennsylvania and Ontario. Englehart’s partners were intrigued by what they thought presented a new opportunity for them, and assigned the young man to look into it. After all, the process to create whiskey was similar to that used to produce kerosene: simply add heat to a liquid to produce a distillate of much greater value.

Solomon Sonneborn, one of Englehart’s partners, had family members who had put some money into Canada’s oilfield based at Petrolia, Ontario. The city of London, little more than 35 miles to the east of Petrolia, had become the refining center for Petrolia and nearby Oil Springs in Lambton County. It was to London that Englehart was sent.

Meanwhile, the illicit practices of whiskey rectifiers Sonneborn and Company were attracting unwanted attention. The R.G. Dun credit rating agency found that the firm was prospering, but that company principals were “shrewd, sharp and unreliable” and “somewhat notorious in the whiskey trade,” making more money than any similar operation. R.G. Dun went on: “They established themselves in Canada in 1869 and the move was regarded as the establishment of an asylum for the men who had hitherto been employed illicitly here, and for the investment of means which might otherwise [have] been pursued by the U.S. government.”4

Jacob Englehart had arrived in London in 1868 at the age of 20 to see what opportunities existed in the fledgling oil industry centered there. In effect, he became his company’s front man in a cross-border money-laundering scheme. He traveled from New York City, more than 600 miles away, with money Washington would have otherwise taxed, just as R.G. Dun suggested.

Oil had been discovered west of London in 1857, transforming the city into a refining center for the next two decades. When he arrived in London, Englehart was already an agent for Carbon Oil Works, the leading producer, refiner, and marketer for the oil patch. The firm had been organized by J.M. Williams, who had established the first commercially viable oil well at Oil Springs.

Englehart quickly teamed up with Isaac Waterman, another early refiner in London, and it was readily apparent that Englehart had money behind him. Soon afterward he established his own firm, Englehart & Company.5 By 1870, Carbon Oil, Waterman Brothers (Herman and Isaac Waterman), and Englehart & Company accounted among them for fully one-third of the production from Ontario’s oil patch. Englehart shipped kerosene to the Sonneborn firm in New York, making Sonneborn the fourth largest exporter of kerosene from that port.6

In 1872, however, Sonneborn sued Carbon Oil for a claimed outstanding debt of $100,000. Carbon Oil was in deep trouble, its “big still” having been destroyed in an explosion; the firm soon collapsed, and Englehart acquired its assets cheaply at auction. Not long afterward, the Sonneborn company filed for bankruptcy following the widespread economic collapse of 1873. Englehart emerged unscathed, however, and had become a major player in the Canadian oil industry, which was beginning to face new competition from cheaper and sweeter American crude from Pennsylvania.

Englehart, as did several other leaders of Canada’s early petroleum industry, including the Waterman brothers, boarded at the Tecumseh House Hotel during his time in London. The new hotel was named after Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh, who fought alongside British General Sir Isaac Brock against the Americans during the War of 1812. Tecumseh (pronounced tuh-KUM-see) fell in battle along the Thames River about 60 miles west of London in 1813. The hotel featured a large painting of Tecumseh in its lobby. The Tecumseh House had been a popular refuge for some Southern families and for Confederate spies and buyers during the Civil War; London profited handsomely by selling to both sides in the conflict.

Operators of the hotel were among the directors of the Tecumseh Base Ball Club, which held its meetings there. At some point, Englehart became a follower of the club, then a director and eventually president, tapping into his personal or corporate funds to help attract to London some of the best baseball talent from south of the border. Englehart may have been surprised at the popularity of the game, which had been played in London since at least 1855, as revealed by an entry in the first city directory.7

The following year, 1856, the May 1 edition of the London Free Press carried an advertisement saying that the London Base Ball Club would be holding its annual meeting the next day to elect officers and transact business. Afterward the newspaper reported that officers had been elected and that the club “intends to challenge any other Base Ball Club in the Province as soon as it gets into regular playing order.”8

Mention of an annual meeting and the apparent cockiness of the club suggest it was not new to the game. Later in 1856, the New York Clipper carried a report about a game London played in the village of Delaware, just west of the city, on September 12. London prevailed 34-33 in the two-inning game played under the rules of the day.9

Southwestern Ontario was developing into a hotbed of baseball activity at this time. The Hamilton Young Canadians (later renamed the Maple Leafs) had been playing since 1854, and not long afterward a team was fielded in Woodstock.10

By 1861, the Woodstock Young Canadians were a formidable nine, that year defeating Hamilton twice, and by 1864 becoming Canadian champions. They were awarded the Silver Ball trophy, for which funds had been raised in Woodstock. Hamilton, Woodstock, and Ingersoll traveled to Detroit to compete in an international tournament, and met with success. Hamilton finished second, and Ingersoll took top honors in a junior division, but Woodstock struggled because of an injury to its pitcher.11

By 1868 it was becoming apparent that perennial Canadian champion Woodstock was slipping, and rivals old and new were anxious to topple the team from its perch. The town of Guelph had become baseball crazy and was determined to wrest the Silver Ball from Woodstock. The Guelph mayor declared a civic holiday in July so Guelphites could take the train to Woodstock to watch the Maple Leafs challenge the reigning champions.

About 500 fans and a brass band journeyed west for the game, but were disappointed when Woodstock prevailed, 36-28. It wasn’t until 1869 at the Provincial Exhibition in London that Guelph took top honors and $150 in gold, downing Woodstock, Ingersoll, and London in a three-day tournament.12

It was a feather in the cap for the rapidly industrializing town of 5,900. Within a few years, brewer George Sleeman, who had operated and played on a ball team fielded by his Silver Creek Brewery, took control of the Maple Leafs and was determined to retain bragging rights as Canada’s top team, even if he had to dig into his deep pockets to hire Americans to stay on top. Guelph reigned as Canadian champions until dethroned by London in 1876.13

Under Sleeman, the club traveled widely in the United States as it gradually drifted into professionalism, much to the chagrin of its traditional competition in Southern Ontario. Proceeds from surplus funds at the end of the season had been distributed to Guelph players as early as 1870.14 At the time, sport was considered a gentlemanly and amateur pastime, so Guelph became the subject of criticism in other cities. By 1875 nearly the entire Maple Leaf roster was American and professional, which prompted the London Free Press to deride Sleeman’s men (to whom the hometown London Tecumsehs continued to lose) as “The Guelph Foreign Legion.”15

Englehart and Sleeman took their rivalry to a new level when the Tecumsehs and Maple Leafs became charter members of the International Association in 1877. The loop was established by baseball cities who felt excluded by the National League, which had been organized the previous season and tightly restricted its membership.

Recognizing the Canadian entries in its name, the International Association easily attracted some of the best baseball talent of the day. Englehart had begun signing up topflight American players a few years earlier in a bid to wrest the claim of baseball supremacy in Canada from Guelph. Originally, London mocked Sleeman’s fielding of a “foreign legion.” But unable to dislodge Guelph as Canadian champions, London directors took a page from Sleeman’s book and found the money (mainly in the deep pockets of Englehart) to lure north some of the best and brightest stars of the day. Among them were early curveball pitcher Fred Goldsmith, catcher Phil Powers, outfielder Joe Hornung, and others at the start of their careers. Team manager Harry Gorman traveled to Goldsmith’s home in New Haven, Connecticut, to persuade the promising young hurler to play for London. Gorman was armed with gold bars provided by Englehart as an inducement.

It worked; Goldsmith signed on for $100 a month.16 At the time, the average workingman earned about $300 a year and had to work long hours for 12 months to do so. London finally took the championship of Canada in 1876, after which Englehart and the Tecumseh club directors were eager for a new challenge in a new league that was determined to challenge the supremacy of the one-year-old National League.

Management first determined that the Association venture justified a new ballpark. The Tecumsehs had been playing on grounds long occupied by the British Army at Victoria Park, but had to relocate late each summer to make way for the annual Provincial Exhibition. Temporary stands erected had proved to be flimsy, and had collapsed at least once.

A piece of low-lying land was found across the Thames River from downtown, land where corn had been grown by First Nations people and where games, including baseball, had been played for years. The site was acquired by club supporter and downtown china merchant W.J Reid, and soon soil from road scrapings was used to help raise the elevation of the ground.

In short order, a 600-seat grandstand was erected for spectators and boxes created for directors, including Englehart. The first game was played on May 3, 1877, when the Tecumsehs defeated the city’s top amateur team, the Atlantics, 5-1. About $3,000 was spent to create the fine new ballpark, the Canadian Illustrated News reported a few months later.17 The first game attracted 1,000 fans and began the ballpark’s run as the world’s oldest baseball grounds, still serving London baseball and its fans to this day as Labatt Memorial Park.18

By 1877 there were 54 professional baseball clubs in operation in North America. The National League was coming off an inaugural season that had failed to meet expectations. Two of its eight teams, the cash-strapped Mutuals of New York and the Athletics of Philadelphia, were expelled for failing to complete their schedules. Only Chicago turned a profit during the year; it was estimated that the remaining teams lost a total of $17,300.19

The future of the sport as a business venture seemed shaky. The National League fielded only six teams for 1877: the Chicago White Stockings, Boston, Louisville Grays, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings, and the Hartfords of Brooklyn. The league was not interested in adding teams as it struggled to make the game a viable proposition.

This led to complaints that it was an exclusive club consisting of Old Boys. For those complaining that the door was shut to them, the International Association was an attractive alternative. It appealed to smaller industrial cities during a time of rampant civic boosterism when anything seemed possible, and many of the baseball men were community leaders, including mayors and future mayors.

Of the more than 20 cities that affiliated with the International Association for the 1877 season, seven clubs agreed to pay an additional fee of $15 to vie for its inaugural pennant. Aside from London and Guelph, the other contending teams were the Pittsburgh Alleghenys; the Columbus Buckeyes; Lynn (Massachusetts) Live Oaks; Rochester, New York; and Manchester, New Hampshire. Sixteen other clubs joined the IA but opted against competing for the pennant.20

London’s first game against an International Association opponent came on May 5, 1877, when the Hartford Dark Blues appeared at Tecumseh Park. Fred Goldsmith puzzled the visitors with his curves for the first few innings until Hartford began to hit him freely. He was pulled after five innings, replaced by Foghorn Bradley, who had won 9 games and lost 10 during the previous season with Boston in the National League.

Hartford disappointed the Opening Day crowd by winning the game 6-2. The following day, the visitors won again, 8-4, capitalizing on 13 Tecumseh fielding errors. Next in town were the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, who featured hard-throwing right-hander Pud Galvin, a future Hall of Famer. London committed three of the game’s four errors, losing the official IA pennant-contesting game by a score of 2-0. On May 11 and 13 Rochester appeared at Tecumseh Park. Goldsmith’s favored catcher, Phil Powers, saw his first game action after his return from a broken finger, and things immediately improved. London managed its first win, 7-2, and the following day, before 2,000 fans, won again, 9-8, powered by a ninth-inning hit and aggressive baserunning by shortstop Ed Somerville.

On the May 24 holiday, a crowd estimated at from 6,000 to 8,000 saw an exciting game in which London came back from a 7-3 deficit with four runs in the ninth inning to tie the contest, although visiting Boston of the National League eventually prevailed 8-7 in 10 innings. In Guelph the same day, the Maple Leafs celebrated the Queen’s birthday by downing the Syracuse Stars 5-4 before a crowd of 2,000.

The Tecumsehs made London fans and director Jake Englehart happy after a rough start when Goldsmith settled down and worked effectively with catcher Powers. Goldsmith managed to lead London to more successes than failures. For a good part of the season, the Tecumsehs occupied second place in the new loop, behind Galvin and the Alleghenys. The traditional rivalry with Guelph suffered; only 1,500 fans turned out in London for a June 21 game against the Maple Leafs that London won, 5-2.

Things grew worse. By early July, rumors were circulating that the Maple Leafs were disbanding, and in August some of their professionals were indeed released as the team struggled to stay afloat. George Sleeman assured the International Association that his team would complete the season.

The fight for the loop’s inaugural pennant came down to games played at the beginning of October in London between the Tecumsehs and the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, who had not lost to London all season. On October 2, a Tuesday afternoon, Pittsburgh’s Galvin faced off against Goldsmith in a battle of two of the best pitchers of the day. A crowd of between 1,600 and 2,000 witnessed the championship game, attendance less than expected because of the weekday contest that was arranged on short notice. Goldsmith and his curves were effective, and behind him the Tecumsehs played errorless ball until the ninth inning, when several miscues allowed two Allegheny runs. But London prevailed, 5-2, for its first victory over Galvin and his mates, and consequent bragging rights as pennant winners.21

Guelph threw in the professional towel after the 1877 campaign, opting to play closer to home against Canadian opponents and American teams that passed through the area. After taking the IA pennant, London was invited to join the National League and seriously considered so doing, but after considering the potential costs of travel and other matters, directors declined.22

London hoped instead to continue its success in the International Association. In December it was revealed that the club had signed Ross Barnes, the heavy-hitting former member of the Chicago White Stockings. He had missed several games with Chicago due to injury, had clashed with manager Albert Goodwill Spalding about his pay, and was looking for a new opportunity. Englehart and his fellow directors promptly announced that Barnes would captain the 1878 Tecumsehs.23

The amount paid to induce Barnes to sign with London is not known, but doubtless it was significant, and showed that the club was willing to continue spending money for top talent.

For its 1878 season, the International Association featured a new team in Buffalo, led by former Allegheny star pitcher Pud Galvin. London was considered among the top teams at the beginning of the season, but its early schedule was an unfortunate one, as the Tecumsehs played on the road for four of the season’s first five weeks, making it difficult to build and maintain a fan base locally.

The consequent lack of home gate receipts also clobbered club finances. By July, crowds became light, amid grumbling about team performance and rumors of a fixed game or two. At a time when betting on games was heavy, any loss of trust in the home team hurt the gate. For his part, Englehart left the team after the disappointing 1878 season, citing the pressures of tending to his refining business.

Before he left, he and the directors released the high-priced American talent and finished the season with amateurs, ending London’s connection to the IA. Buffalo, riding the arm of Galvin, took the second pennant of the International Association. Without any Canadian teams for 1879, the league renamed itself the National Base-Ball Association and struggled on, expiring after the 1880 season.

London and Guelph reverted to amateur status, in 1880 joining a newly formed Canadian Association under President George Sleeman. Sleeman continued in baseball for several more years, as London and Guelph focused on competition with other Canadian cities, including Toronto, which was relatively late to topflight competition.

With the time spent on his growing business and his subsequent move to Petrolia, Jake Englehart had little more to do with baseball in London. He soon became one of the founders of Imperial Oil, and was preoccupied with fending off competition from American refiners. He was the company’s vice president and its largest shareholder. By 1893, Imperial had offices across Canada and was the country’s leading refiner.

In Petrolia, Englehart married Charlotte Eleanor Thompson, the daughter of a farmer from western Middlesex County. He was then 44 and a millionaire; she was 28. Englehart converted from Judaism to the Church of England and he and Charlotte, nicknamed “Minnie,” became benefactors of Christ Church in Petrolia. For his bride he built a fine new red-brick mansion, which they called Glenview, and added a nine-hole golf course beside it.

In Petrolia he became active in Conservative politics, and was a director of financial institutions there and in London. In 1908 Minnie died while pregnant at age 45. Glenview was given to the town of Petrolia for a much-needed hospital, and Englehart oversaw its conversion as he planned to move to Toronto, where his business interests had been pulling him for some time.

Upon his own death, Englehart left money for the addition of two wings and equipment for a maternity ward and for X-ray equipment. It was later estimated that he put $200,000 into the hospital and its grounds, aside from the house itself, which was valued at $50,000.24 The Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital remains in Petrolia to this day, part of the Sarnia-based Bluewater Health Network.

In Toronto, Englehart remained active in Conservative politics. In 1905 the Conservative Party, led by James Whitney, swept into power. Englehart had helped elect friend and fellow Imperial Oil director W.J. Hanna to the Ontario legislature, and when Whitney was looking for someone to push a railway line into Northern Ontario, which the previous Liberal government had failed to do, Hanna recommended Englehart for the job.

Whitney was anxious to exploit the north’s riches in timber and newfound discoveries of silver and gold. Englehart was named chairman of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway Commission in 1906, and turned to his talents to opening up the north. His ability to get the job done saw a small railway community north of North Bay adopt his surname. This came after he had the railway help evacuate hundreds of people from the 1911 forest fire in Porcupine. He organized relief efforts and used his own funds to help refugees who fled with little more than the clothes on their backs. At the railway station in the small community which still bears his name, the railway chairman posted this sign: “No one need pass here hungry, J.L. Englehart.”25

When Jake Englehart died on April 6, 1921, at the age of 73, he had accomplished much as a leader of a ball team, a major refining company, an Anglican church, and a railway. He had many friends and admirers. His funeral in Toronto drew a large number of business and political leaders in Ontario, his adopted home. Many words of praise were heaped upon him for his philanthropy, business acumen, and political deeds. Virtually nothing was mentioned about his propelling the London Tecumsehs to the top of the baseball world of the 1870s, even in the newspapers back in London.

Upon his death, Englehart’s estate was valued at $3.5 million. It was distributed widely to his nieces and nephews, and to Charlotte’s family. Additional funds were allocated for the Petrolia hospital and to hospitals in Toronto. He set aside another $7,500 for Christ Church in Petrolia, to which he and Minnie had earlier donated a fine set of bells.26 Their support of the church is memorialized on a brass plaque inside the entrance to the sanctuary.

He was buried alongside wife Minnie in a fine marble vault at Hillside Cemetery just west of Petrolia. George Sleeman died in 1926 after becoming mayor of Guelph and incorporating the Guelph Street Railway, a venture far less successful than his Maple Leafs.

Englehart and Sleeman put London and Guelph on the baseball map at a time when the professional game was still struggling to survive in many places. Their determination to win and beat the other city led to one of the great rivalries in Canadian sport, decades before those between Toronto and Montreal in hockey, or Edmonton and Calgary in hockey and football.

Englehart, an American shrouded by some mystery in his early days in business, became a significant contributor, not just to baseball, but to Ontario and Canada. His contributions were many – and invariably successful. Perhaps some day his important role in early baseball in Canada will be acknowledged by his induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, where he would join his old rival George Sleeman.



1 Gary Regan and Mardee Haidin Regan, The Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskeys (London, England: Mixellany Books, 2009), 40-41.

2 Clay Risen, “How America Learned to Love Whiskey,” The Atlantic, December 6, 2013, accessed July 14, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/12/how-america-learned-to-love-whiskey/282110.

3 “The Whiskey Ring: The First Time Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party Lost Credibility,” History Daily, accessed July 15, 2021, https://historydaily.org/whiskey-ring-facts-stories-trivia.

4 R.G. Dun Collection, New York City, Volume 348, 900, quoted in Hugh M. Grant, “The ‘Mysterious’ Jacob L. Englehart and the Early Ontario Petroleum Industry,” Ontario History LXXXV, No. 1 (March 1993), 68.

5 Monetary Times 5, August 14, 1871, 85; Monetary Times 5, May 3, 1872, 864; Monetary Times 6, October 18, 1872, 308; R.G. Dun Collection Canada, Volume 25, 246, as quoted in Grant, “The ‘Mysterious’ Jacob L. Englehart and the Early Ontario Petroleum Industry,” 69.

6 Hugh Grant and Henry Thille, “Tariffs, Strategy and Structure: Competition and Collusion in the Ontario Petroleum Industry, 1870-1880,” The Journal of Economic History 61, No. 2 (June 2001), 391.

7 George Railton, Railton’s Directory for the City of London, C.W., 1856-1857 (London, Canada West: George Railton, Notary Public, 1856), 25.

8 “London Base Ball Club,” advertisement, London Free Press, May 1, 1856; “London Ball Club,” London Free Press, May 5, 1856.

9 “Ball Play,” New York Clipper, September 27, 1856, 516. This game was played according to the rules of what is now referred to as the Canadian game. Teams were to consist of 11 men (although only nine were used in this game), and all of them were to be retired before the other team had its turn at bat. This helps explain why the game cited consisted of only two innings.

10 William Humber, Diamonds of the North: A Concise History of Baseball in Canada (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1995), 23-24.

11 “The B.B. Match at Detroit,” London Free Press, August 23, 1867; Humber, 28.

12 David L. Bernard, “The Guelph Maple Leafs: A Cultural Indicator of Southern Ontario,” Ontario History, 84, No. 3 (September 1992), 214.

13 For details on Sleeman’s involvement with the Guelph team, see Martin Lacoste’s essay “George Sleeman and the Guelph Maple Leafs” in Our Game, Too: The Development of Canadian Baseball (SABR, 2022).

14 Alan Metcalfe, Canada Learns to Play: The Emergence of Organized Sport, 1807-1914 (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1987), 90, quoted in Bernard, 214.

15 “The Ball Field,” London Free Press, August 4, 1875.

16 Les Bronson, “History of Baseball in London,” a paper delivered by the newspaperman and historian to the London and Middlesex Historical Society, February 17, 1972, 19.

17 Canadian Illustrated News, July 14, 1877, quoted in Pat Morden, Putting Down Roots (St. Catharines, Ontario: Stonehouse Publications, 1988), 47.

18 For a complete history of Tecumseh/Labatt Park, see Robert K. Barney and Riley Nowokowski’s essay in Our Game, Too: The Development of Canadian Baseball.

19 David Nemec, The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball (New York: Donald I. Fine Books, 1997), 98.

20 Brian Martin, The Tecumsehs of the International Association: Canada’s First Major League Baseball Champions (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2015), 118.

21 For a complete account of this game, and its significance, see Andrew North’s essay “The 1877 International Association Championship Game” in Our Game, Too: The Development of Canadian Baseball.

22 Martin, 149-152.

23 New York Mercury, quoted in “The Ball Field,” London Advertiser, December 17, 1877.

24 “Petrolia Mourns the Death of Great Benefactor,” Petrolia Advertiser-Topic, April 7, 1921.

25 Ian Sclanders, “The Amazing Jake Englehart,” Imperial Oil Review, September 8, 1955.

26 Notarial Copy of Letters Probate of Will of Jacob Lewis Englehart, late of the Town of Petrolia, deceased. Located in Lambton Room of Lambton County Public Library, Wyoming, Ontario.

Full Name

Jacob Englehart


November 2, 1847 at Cleveland, Ohio (USA)


April 6, 1921 at Toronto, Ontario (Canada)

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