Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918
JOHN HEBRANK. During a residence in and a familiarity with the West for a long period of years Mr. Hebrank has many and varied experiences, but it was through the resources of Kansas that he found the medium for the achieving of his maximum success, and he is now one of the prominent and influential figures in the development of the oil industry in this state, with residence and business headquarters at Independence, Montgomery County.
Mr. Hebrank was born in the Kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany, on the 19th of September, 1848, and in that same section of the great German Empire his parents were born and reared. His father, Charles Hebrank, was born in the year 1818, and the mother, whose maiden name was Catherine Sigenor, was born in 1832, the closing years of her life having been passed at Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she died in 1899, her husband there continuing his residence until he too passed to the life eternal, in 1902, at the venerable age of eighty-five years. Charles Hebrank and his family came to America in 1842, when their son John, subject of this review, was somewhat less than six years of age, and he engaged in farming near Wellsburg, Brooke County, West Virginia, where he remained until 1869, when he removed to Parkersburg, that state, and established a brewery, to the management of which he gave his attention for many years. He became a stanch supporter of the cause of the democratic party and both he and his wife were lifelong and earnest communicants of the Catholic Church, in the faith of which they reared their four children, namely: Lewis, who was engaged in the brewery business at Parkersburg, West Virginia, at the time of his death; Helena, who became the wife of August Schafer and who likewise died at Parkersburg; John, of this sketch, who is the only survivor of the immediate family; and George, who was a jeweler by trade and vocation and who continued his residence at Parkersburg until his death.
John Hebrank continued to attend the public schools of Parkersburg until he was about eighteen years of age and thereafter he was employed in his father's brewery until 1869, when, about the time of attaining to his legal majority, he indulged his youthful spirit of adventure by making his way to California, where for a short period he was employed in a brewery, his next move being to go to Nevada, where he found similar employment in the important mining town of Virginia City. After there remaining three years he again made his way eastward and in 1872 he became a resident of Independence, Kansas, where he purchased a brewery, to the operation of which he gave his attention until 1880, when he engaged in the raising of live stock, principally cattle, in the Cherokee country. With this line of enterprise he was successfully concerned for a period of four years, and he then became one of the pioneer operators in the oil fields of southeastern Kansas. He continued his activities during the years that have been marked by such wonderful progress in this industry in Kansas and he is today one of the influential oil-producers of Montgomery County, where he has seventeen excellent producing wells. His association with this line of enterprise has brought to him decided success and he is one of the substantial capitalists of the county in which he is an honored pioneer citizen. He owns valuable real-estate in Independence, including his own attractive residence, at 214 North Second Street. Among his holdings are twelve other improved residential properties, two business blocks, a farm of 240 acres in Montgomery County, and another, of 160 acres, in Labette County. He is a stockholder in the First National Bank of Independence and also in the Independence State Bank. He was engaged in the ice business at Independence for seventeen successive years, and then he sold to the Cole Trumans Ice Company. Mr. Hebrank has shown himslf[sic] to be a loyal and liberal citizen and has done much to advance the material and civic prosperity of his home city. His political support is given to the democratic party, and he is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World, his religious faith being that of the Catholic Church.
In 1873, at Independence, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hebrank to Miss Merron Dewey, daughter of the late Dr. Thomas Dewey, a representative pioneer and able physician and surgeon of this part of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Hebrank have five children: Charles is engaged in the automobile business at Oakland, California; Dale, who still resides at Independence, is associated with the Prairie Oil & Gas Company; Sadie E. remains at the parental home; Elizabeth is the wife of Charles Bowen, a miller at Independence; and Daisy remains with her parents.
Transcribed from volume 4, pages 1904-1905 of A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; originally transcribed 1998, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.
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