George W. Pens. The oil fields of Kansas have attracted to them men of experience who have made this industry the study and the business of their lives. It is through the expert work and knowledge of these men that the industry had been developed to its present proportions. No mere tyros could have brought about the present great production; it needed the activities of experienced, trained oil producers to develop and regulate this great industry, which is proving to be one of the state’s greatest assets. Perhaps Indiana had contributed as many of these men as any other state, and from the Hoosier commonwealth had come George W. Pens, who is known as one of the leading oil contractors of Chanute.
Mr. Pens was born in the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, February 22, 1873, a son of E. C. Pens. His father was born in Germany in 1828, and as a young man came to the United States, locating at Fort Wayne. There he secured employment as a machinist in the railroad shops, where he worked for five years, and in 1878 came to Kansas as a pioneer farmer, locating in the vicinity of Humboldt. He continued to be engaged as an agriculturist during the remainder of his life, and passed away at the city named in 1901. Mr. Pens saw nine years of service in the United States Navy. He was a democrat in his political views, and belonged to the Lutheran Church. He married a Miss Baker, and they became the parents of four children, namely: William, who is deceased; Henry, who is engaged in farming in the vicinity of Humboldt; Elizabeth, who resided in Montana; and Fred, who is a railroad employe at Huntington, Indiana. Mr. Pens was married the second time to Marie Habbit, who was born in 1842, in Germany, and who survives her husband, being a resident of Missoula, Montana. Eight children, three of whom are deceased, were born to this union: Louis, who is connected with the Armour Packing Company, at Kansas City, Missouri; George W.; Emma, who is the wife of Adam Ziegler, the proprietor of a foundry at Fort Wayne, Indiana; Caroline, who is the wife of Frank Ferguson, a farmer of Coffeyville, Kansas; and Matilda, the wife of Bernard Feil, who occupies an official position at Missoula, Montana.
George W. Pens received a public school education, but the greater part of his schooling had come through experience and coming into contact with his fellowmen. He was but eight years old when he began to work on his father’s farm, and resided on the home place until he was twenty-three years of age, when he began to farm for himself. After one year thus spent he became interested in the oil business, in the Mid-Continent fields, and in 1899 came to Chanute as a contractor. He was one of the pioneers in the business here, and had drilled no less than 1,003 wells as a contractor. Mr. Pens is acknowledged to be one of the best informed men in the business in this section, and, from the time of his arrival, his contracts have shown a steady increase, both as to numbers and to size. He had evidenced his faith in the present value and future development of the section by investment in land and property, and at this time owned his own residence at 201 North Evergreen Avenue, a dwelling at No. 207 on the same thoroughfare, another house at 109 North Central Avenue, and a valuable property, devoted to farming and oil development, in Neosho County. He maintains an independent stand in politics, and takes only a good citizen’s interest in public matters.
Mr. Pens was married in 1897, at Iola, Kansas, to Miss Eva Anderson, daughter of J. O. and Matilda Anderson, the latter deceased, and the former a resident of Chanute and a farmer by vocation. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Pens: Edna, a graduate of the graded schools; Walter, a sophomore at the Chanute High School; Leota, Maxine and Pauline, who are attending the graded schools; and Kenneth and Marjorie. One child, Mildred, died aged seven months.