Ens, Gerhard (1864-1952)

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Gerhard Ens (1864-1952)

Gerhard Ens, immigration agent, politician: born 9 January 1864 (28 December 1863 O.S.) in Neuendorf, Chortitza Colony, South Russia. He was the eldest child of Kornelius G. Ens (1841-1924) and Barbara (Giesbrecht) Ens (1840-1885). Gerhard married Anna Dyck (30 August 1864, Neuendorf, Chortitza Colony, South Russia – 14 September 1934, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada) on 16 October 1883 in Neuendorf. Gerhard and Anna had 15 children, of which 10 reached adulthood: Katharina, Cornelius, Maria, Anna, Louise, Gerhard, Isaak, Pauline, Ella, and Wanda. After Anna’s death, Gerhard married Maria (Epp) Penner (4 September 1877, Novo Podolsk, Judenplan, South Russia – 20 January 1974, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada) on 24 October 1936 in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Maria was the daughter of Dietrich Epp (1849-1930) and Maria (Unger) Epp (1849-1903) and had been previously married to Franz Janzen and Johann Penner; she had four children from her first marriage and one from the second. Gerhard died 2 January 1952 in Rosthern, Saskatchewan.

Gerhard emigrated from Russia to Canada along with his wife and five children in 1891. Ens is usually considered the founder of the town of Rosthern, Saskatchewan in 1892. In 1905-1913 he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. For many years he also was an immigration agent of the Canadian government. As such he made a number of trips to Mennonite settlements in the United States and successfully enlisted settlers for the Canadian West from Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas. He also went to Russia to promote Mennonite immigration to Canada.

Though he joined the Church of the New Jerusalem (Swedenborgian), thus breaking with Mennonitism congregationally, traditionally he remained a part of the Mennonite community. As a descendant of the Russian Mennonites he was deeply concerned with the fate of these Mennonites after World War I, when revolution and famine struck. Before the large immigration of Mennonites from Russia to Canada took place during the early 1920s, there was an Order-in-Council in Ottawa that forbid all Mennonite immigration to Canada. This order was passed because of the nonresistant stance taken by the Mennonites of Canada during World War I. Through his influence in political circles in Ottawa and his friendly relations with such leaders as W. L. Mackenzie King, Gerhard Ens was instrumental in helping to remove these seemingly insurmountable obstacles.


GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 4.19 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2005.

Kornelius Gerhard Ens and Anna Dyck web site. (cached version from Google: 8 March 2005), viewed 25 December 2005; http://www.streetnix.com/tree/WC01/WC01_014.HTM Link not active 7 November 2006

Author(s) John G. Rempel
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published January 2006

Cite This Article

MLA style

Rempel, John G. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Ens, Gerhard (1864-1952)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. January 2006. Web. 21 Apr 2024. https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ens,_Gerhard_(1864-1952)&oldid=112897.

APA style

Rempel, John G. and Richard D. Thiessen. (January 2006). Ens, Gerhard (1864-1952). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 21 April 2024, from https://gameo.org/index.php?title=Ens,_Gerhard_(1864-1952)&oldid=112897.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 225. All rights reserved.

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