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The Studebaker Brothers - Henry, Clem, John M., Peter E. and Jacob F.

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The Studebaker family first arrived in America at the port of Philadelphia on September 1, 1736, on the ship Harle, from Rotterdam, Holland. They included Peter Studebecker age 38, Clement Studebecker age 36, Henry Studebecker age 28, Anna Margetha Studebecker age 38 and Anna Catherine Studebecker age 28. The last part of the name "becker" was afterwards changed to "baker" or Studebaker.

John Studebaker, father of the five Studebaker brothers was the son of Peter Studebaker.

John Studebaker Blacksmith Shop
John Studebaker - First Blacksmith Shop

The Studebaker family quickly embarked on what was to become a family way of life - Blacksmithing and Wagon making. The first Studebaker blacksmith shop was on the family farm in Ashland County, Ohio where John Studebaker father of Henry Studebaker, Clem Studebaker, John M. Studebaker, Peter E. Studebaker and Jacob F. Studebaker brought his family from Pennsylvania in 1835. The brothers Jacob and Peter were born on this farm.

Henry and Clem Studebaker Blacksmith Shop
Henry and Clem Studebaker Blacksmith Shop

Henry Studebaker
Clement Studebaker
Clement Studebaker
John Studebaker
John M. Studebaker

In 1852 Henry and Clem Studebaker opened a blacksmith and wagon shop in South Bend, Indiana under the firm name H. & C. Studebaker. John M. Studebaker joined his brothers but at the age 19 got gold fever and traveled out west. In the mean time the little firm of H. & C. Studebaker was having a hard time financing its business, was confronted with judgments, and about to go under. Money was scarce and seldom obtained for sales. So in 1858 John M. Studebaker returned to South Bend with $8,000 and bought out Henry Studebaker. Henry wanted to become a farmer.

This new money rehabilitated the firm of H. & C. Studebaker and assured its future prosperity. At that time, in 1858, the total assets of the firm were valued at $10,000. By 1860 they were building wagons for the U.S. Army and the same year the two Studebaker Brothers built their first Buggy. In 1864 Peter Studebaker joined his brothers and became an important factor in its management. In 1867 the factory buildings covered four acres of ground, 140 mechanics were employed and the pay roll amounted to over $1,500 per week.

1868 Studebaker Brothers Factory
1868 Studebaker Brothers Carriage and Wagon Factory

On January 1, 1868, the assets of H. & C. Studebaker amounted to $223,269.00, and sales were about $350,000 annually. Thus had the business grown to such extent that it was determined to form a corporation. The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company was organized March 26, 1868 under the statutes of Indiana. Clem Studebaker was elected President, John M. Studebaker, Treasurer, and Peter E. Studebaker, Secretary.

Peter Studebaker
Peter E. Studebaker
Jacob F. Studebaker
Jacob F. Studebaker

In 1870 Jacob F. Studebaker joined the company as a salesman, and about this time Peter E. Studebaker was sent to St. Joseph, Mo., where he established a branch house to handle the trade of the pioneers, who were crossing the country in wagons in great numbers. Later, branches were established in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Kansas City, Portland, Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York, Denver and other many large cities.

1874 Studebaker Brothers Factory
1874 Studebaker Brothers Factory

Jacob F. Studebaker died in 1887 and Peter E. Studebaker died in 1897 at the age of 61. Clem Studebaker died in 1901 at the age of seventy. He was President of The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company for thirty three years. John M. Studebaker was in charge of the manufacturing department for forty five years, during which time he personally supervised the building of nearly all vehicles that left the factory. He built into these products sturdy and honest character. Upon the death of Clem Studebaker, John M. Studebaker succeeded to the presidency, but continued to devote himself to the manufacturing department. John was the last of the five brothers and he died at the age of 83 in South Bend March 16, 1917.

In 1891 Frederick S. Fish, of Newark, N. J., who had married a daughter of John M. Studebaker, associated himself with the three brothers in the conduct of the business. In 1897, on the death of Peter Studebaker, he became chairman of the executive committee of the company, and thereafter was a dominating influence in the conduct of its affairs. Owing to his foresight, initiative and effort, the company became interested in the horseless vehicle, and thereafter expanded into the automobile business, and ultimately merged The Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company into The Studebaker Corporation.

The first Electric Studebaker was built in 1902 and the first gas powered Studebaker was built in 1904.

1877 Studebaker Wagon Advertisement

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