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THE STUDEBAKER BROTHERS BIOGRAPHIES

 

CLEM STUDEBAKER

He was born in Adams County, Pa., on the twelfth day of March, 1831. His father, John Studebaker, was a wagon maker, and built the first Studebaker wagon known to the world. At the age of four years Clement came with the family to Ashland county, Ohio. At the age of twelve he was going to school and devoting all of his spare moments in earning his board. At fourteen he engaged himself to a farmer at two dollars per month and board. Thing at this, he returned to his father's roof and began learning his father's trade, and at the age of twenty, -with a few dollars in his pocket, he came west and stopped at South Bend with only two dollars as his worldly capital. Failing to get employment at once, he engaged in school teaching on Palmer’s Prairie. To keep ahead of his pupils he had to devote much of his night time to study. In his teaching he gave good satisfaction, and made many life-long friends. In February, 1852, he formed a partnership with his elder brother, Henry, under the firm name of H. & C. Studebaker, with a capital of sixty eight dollars. This was the beginning of the great house of Studebaker- Bros. Manufacturing Company, which is at this day the largest of its kind in the world- In 1809, the joint stock company as it now exists was formed, and Clem Studebaker was made its president, which position he now fills.

Mr. Studebaker has filled many positions of trust and responsibility in the county and municipal governments to the general satisfaction of all.

 

JOHN M. STUDEBAKER

John Mohler Studebaker, the third son of John Studebaker, was born in Adams County, Pa, October tenth, 1833 His inheritance consisted in a good constitution, a happy mental nature, and habits of probity, industry and economy, which, combined, form the best capital a young man can possess. At the age of twelve he began business on his own account by taking a contract to clear a swamp for the sum of twenty six dollars, clearing at this ninety cents per day, which in those days was considered large wages. He soon after cleared thirty dollars by working a sugar camp, which earned him the name of the “boy contractor.” In 1651, he came with the family to South Bend, and in the spring of 1852, he engaged himself to a German wagon maker, but which was one year after broken. At this time the California Fever was at its height and John, now in his eighteenth year, resolved to seek his fortune in the gold fields. He traded the first wagon he ever made for passage to the Pacific slope, which wagon was the first Studebaker wagon ever seen in California. At the end of the trip this wagon was the best one in the whole train and readily sold for three hundred dollars in gold. Arriving in Placerville be at once procured employment -with Mr. H. L. Hines, (now an honored member of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company,) and commenced making wheelbarrows at twelve dollars apiece.
In 1868, he returned to South Bend and purchased the interest of his brother Henry, (who retired to a farm near South Bend,) thereby becoming an equal partner with Clem, under the firm name of C. & J. M. Studebaker. His arduous labors in his business affected his health, and threatened him with a serious decline, so much so that he spent fifteen months in Europe with his wife, visiting England, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Ireland. He returned fully recuperated, and in a physical condition to successfully meet all the stern vicissitudes of an active business life- Mr. Studebaker possesses great mental and physical endurance. His moral sentiments are well poised and his religious nature active. He is a consistent member of the Presbyterian church and an active worker for, and a free giver to all works of true charity and benevolence. As a citizen he stands high, taking a lively interest in all public improvements and reforms. In social life he is preeminent; his friends are many, and foes are few or none. Mr. J. M. Studebaker, in point of age, stands second in the firm, and fills the position of vice president of the company.

 

PETER E. STUDEBAKER

The subject of this sketch, Peter Evans Studebaker, was born in Ashland county, Ohio, April first, 1836. He is the fourth of the five sons of John Studebaker, and the only one who was not bred a wagon maker. In boyhood Peter manifested a strong ambition to become a successful business man, and soon developed marked abilities in that direction. At an early age be engaged with a brother-in-law, who was a merchant -with whom he stayed two years, when he started west arriving in South Bend with a five frank piece in his pocket as his sole moneyed capital. The day after his arrival, he engaged as a dry goods clerk, which he retained for three years, with a constant in-crease in his salary. With a. capital of one hundred and fifty dollars, as the savings of his three years salary, he began business on his on account Mounting a peddling wagon, he struck out into the country, in search of his fortune. Although meeting with many difficulties and rebuffs incident to his avocation, he managed to add to his small beginning, the handsome sum of seven hundred dollars. At the age of twenty one he married, discontinued his itinerancy, and in April 1856, opened a retail store at Goshen, Indiana. This he carried on with varied successes until 1860, when he engaged in selling wagons for his brothers, C. & M. In this he was eminently successful
He removed from Goshen to South Bend in 1808, and in the year following, at the age of twenty eight, lie became an equal partner with his brothers, C. & J. M., the new firm organizing under the name of Studebaker Brothers. Leaving immediately for the west, he settled at St. Joseph, Mo., that being the great outfitting point for California, Oregon, Montana, Santa Fe, and the entire west. He soon commanded a large trade in the sale of their wagons for the plains, and the Studebaker wagon was favorably known throughout the whole west to the Pacific coast. He remained in St. Joseph until 1871, when he returned to South Bend, where he is now settled far life.

Peter E. Studebaker possesses rare financial ability, strict integrity, indomitable will and great endurance He is the treasurer of the concern, which position he fills with credit alike to himself and the company.

 

JACOB F. STUDEBAKER

Jacob Franklin Studebaker, the fifth son of the family, and the junior member at the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, was born in Ashland county, Ohio, May twenty sixth, 1844, and is consequently now in his thirty first year.

At the age of eight young Jacob followed with the family train to South Bend, but afterwards returned to Tiffin, Ohio, where he learned the trade of wagon and carriage making with Peter Van Ness. Returning to St. Joseph county, he engaged Three years at farming, before becoming a member of the company.

He is the secretary of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, and has the sole charge of the carriage works, a post for which he is peculiarly fitted. No man in the west, perhaps, has a better knowledge of the warts and needs of the people in his specialty, sad very few persons bare better taste and judgment in all matters relating to the manufacture of fine carriage work

HENRY STUDEBAKER

Henry Studebaker was a farmer, blacksmith, and wagon-maker who lived near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the early 19th century. By 1840 he had moved to Ohio and taught his five sons to make wagons. They all went into that business as they grew westward with the country. Clement and Henry, Jr. became blacksmiths and foundrymen in South Bend, Indiana. They first made metal parts for freight wagons and later expanded into the manufacture of wagons. John made wheelbarrows in California and Peter made wagons in Saint Joseph, Missouri. The first major expansion in their business came from their being in place to meet the needs of the California Gold Rush in 1849.

When the gold rush settled down, John returned to Indiana and bought out Henry's share of the business. They brought in their youngest brother Jacob and incorporated in 1852. Expansion continued to support westward migration, but the next major increase came from supplying wagons for the Union Army in the American Civil War. After the war they reviewed what they had accomplished and set a direction for the company.

They reorganized into the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company in 1868, built around the motto of "Always give more than you promise." By this time the railroad and steamship companies had become the big freight movers in the east. So they set their sights on supplying individuals and farmers the ability to move themselves and their goods. Peter's business became a branch operation.

During the height of westward migration and wagon train pioneering, half of the wagons were Studebakers. They made about a quarter of them, and manufactured the metal fittings to sell to other builders in Missouri for another quarter