George Thomas Abell was born in Wakeeney, Kansas in 1900. He graduated from Colorado A & M
(now Colorado State University) with degrees in civil and mechanical engineering. After
graduation, Abell went to work for Midwest Exploration Company, a Denver based
organization. When the company failed to find oil in the Rockies, they expanded their
search to West Texas in 1923. In the fall of 1923, the company sent Abell and D.E.
Lounsberry to map structures along the Cimarron River in Oklahoma. Following this
assignment, the two men returned to Texas, mapping in Garza and Mitchell counties.
Midwest Exploration Company, now convinced that West Texas held potential, authorized
Lounsberry and Abell to open a district office in Abilene which later moved to San Angelo.
From this office Abell, along with Tom Allen mapped large areas around Big Lake and
Abell moved to Midland in 1927 where he entered the petroleum business as an
independent oil operator. During the 1930’s Abell participated in the discoveries and
development of the Abell, Gomez, Pecos Valley, South Ward, Shipley and other Permian
Basin fields, earning him the reputation of a successful wildcatter and producer.
In 1939, Abell married Gladys Hanger of Fort Worth, the daughter of a pioneer Tarrant
During his professional career, Abell was active in the Independent Petroleum Association
of America, Texas Independent producers and Royalty Owners Association, Mid-Continent
Oil and Gas Association and the Permian Basin Petroleum Association. He was also a
charter member of the Permian Basin Petroleum Pioneers Association.
In addition to his professional endeavors, Abell was also active in many civic, community,
and cultural activities. He was a member of the Board of Education of the Midland
Independent School Board. He chaired the first capital funds drive for Midland Memorial
Hospital. Abell devoted much of his time to the Boy Scouts of America serving in various
capacities in the Buffalo Trail Council. He led the capital fund campaign which secured the
6,000 acre camp in the Davis Mountains.
While serving as a director of the Midland Chamber of Commerce, Abell originated the idea
of a museum dedicated to the cultural history of the area and the petroleum industry. He
spent much of his time and effort collecting antique oil field equipment for the Permian
Basin Petroleum Museum. He also commissioned many of the Museum’s oil paintings
depicting the history of the area. Abell served as the Museum’s first president of the
Museum’s Board of Trustees.
Source: The Petroleum Museum, Midland, Texas [http://www.petroleummuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Abell.pdf]