Clement Studebaker

Clement Studebaker (March 12, 1831 – November 27, 1901) was an American wagon and carriage manufacturer. With his brother Henry, he co-founded the H & C Studebaker Company, precursor of the Studebaker Corporation, which built Pennsylvania-German Conestoga wagons[1] and carriages during his lifetime, and automobiles after his death, in South Bend, Indiana.

Clement Studebaker
Clement Studebaker.jpg
Born(1831-03-12)March 12, 1831
DiedNovember 27, 1901(1901-11-27) (aged 70)
Spouse(s)Charity Bratt
Anna Harper Milburn
ChildrenClement Studebaker Jr.
Signature of Clement Studebaker.png


Clement Studebaker was born in East Berlin, Adams County, Pennsylvania and was of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage.[2] By the age of 14 he had learned to work as a blacksmith in his father's shop. He later worked as a teacher. In 1852, Clement and his elder brother Henry Studebaker opened the H & C Studebaker blacksmith shop at the corner of Michigan and Jefferson Streets in what is now the heart of downtown South Bend, Indiana.[3]

Clement Studebaker married Charity Bratt on October 12, 1852 in St. Joseph County, Indiana. The couple had two children, Clems and Eddie, who both died in infancy.[4] Charity died on March 17, 1863 in South Bend. Clement married Anna Harper Milburn in September 1864, in South Bend. This marriage produced three children: George Milburn Studebaker (1865-1939), Anne Studebaker Carlisle (1868-1931) and Clement Studebaker Jr. (1871-1932). George and Clement Jr. founded the South Bend Watch Company. Clement Sr. died of natural causes in his South Bend, Indiana home at the age of 70.[5]

In 1858, Henry's interest in the business was bought out by a younger brother John Mohler Studebaker.[6]: p.26  At that time, the brothers were filling wagon orders for the U.S. Army, which they continued throughout the Civil War.[3] As a Dunkard, Henry was a committed pacifist and may have objected to having a part in making war materials. An official Studebaker company history simply says "Henry was tired of the business. He wanted to farm. The risks of expanding were not for him".[6]: p.26  Clement and three other brothers went on to develop the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company into the largest wagon manufacturer in the world and the only manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles to successfully switch to automobiles.

He died in South Bend on November 27, 1901.[7][8]


Several months after Clement Studebaker's death in 1901, St. Paul's Memorial United Methodist Church was completed in South Bend. Studebaker had contributed the funds to build the church in memory of his father-in-law, George Milburn. The completed church was dedicated in 1903.

In 1911, Studebaker acquired the Everitt-Metzker-Flanders Company of Detroit, later forming the Studebaker Corporation.[6]: p.70  The late Clement's son, Clement Studebaker Jr., had served on the E-M-F Company's board[3] and at some time had a position on Studebaker's board.[9]

By 1916 Clement Studebaker Jr. had also become president and chairman of the utility, North American Light and Power Company. He served in other executive positions as well, including as the president and chairman of the Illinois Power and Light Company (and of its subsidiary, the Illinois Traction Company), as well as treasurer of the Chicago and South Bend Railroad.[3]

In 1889, Clement Studebaker completed construction of a 26,000-square-foot (2,400 m2) mansion in South Bend and named it Tippecanoe Place (probably in honor of the Family settlement near Tipp City, Ohio). The mansion has been carefully restored and converted to a restaurant.


  1. ^ German Americans, Studebaker,
  2. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. XI. James T. White & Company. 1909. p. 109. Retrieved January 6, 2021 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b c d North American Light and Power Company 1916 - signed by Clement Studebaker,
  4. ^ According to Conways of Ireland Archived October 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine genealogy. Daughter Clems appears to have been born and died many months before the marriage.
  5. ^ Studebaker, Clement Archived March 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine at Pennsylvania Center for the Book (Pennsylvania State University)
  6. ^ a b c Longstreet, Stephen. A Century on Wheels: The Story of Studebaker. New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. 121. 1st edn., 1952.
  7. ^ "Clement Studebaker Buried. Funeral from His Home at South Bend". The New York Times. December 1, 1901. Retrieved September 8, 2012. The funeral of Clement Studebaker was held this afternoon. Before the services, thousands of citizens viewed the body, which lay in state at the Studebaker ...
  8. ^ "Studebaker is Dead". Indianapolis Journal. South Bend, Indiana. November 28, 1901. p. 3. Retrieved January 6, 2021 – via
  9. ^ in A R Erskine's official history of Studebaker

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