Friday, May 1, 2015

Johan Peter Studebaker (1695-1753/4), 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 17, "Prosper"

"Prosper" is the Week 17 theme for +Amy Johnson Crow and's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.  Recently, I discovered that I am indirectly descended, on my mother's side, from the Studebaker family of Studebaker Motor Car Company fame.  In researching "my" Studebakers, I have learned that their story is the classic American Dream tale.  Though the family likely did quite well with their trade in Germany, it grew in America into something greater than I imagine they ever dreamed possible.  For this post, I relay the story of my indirect ancestor, Johan Peter Stutenbecker (1695-1753/4) who immigrated from Germany and started his family on the path to making transportation history and gaining extreme wealth in the process.

In 1695 in Solingen, Germany, Johannes and Catharina (Rau) Stutenbecker welcomed a son named Johan Peter Stutenbecker to their family.  At the age of 30, in either February or March 1725, Johan Peter married Anna Margaretha Aschauer in Evangelisch, Soligen, Germany, where Anna was born and raised.

Johan Peter and Anna Margaretha started their family while still living in Germany.  Their daughter from whom I directly descend, Anna Catharina, was born 26 April 1732 in Soligen.

Circa 1736, Peter, his wife, their children, two of Peter's brothers, and his sister-in-law boarded the London-based ship Harle, with Ralph Harle as Master, and sailed from Rotterdam, Holland, to Philadelphia.  On 01 September 1736, they arrived in Philadelphia, as is recorded here:

At the Courthouse of Philadelphia, September 1st, 1736. One hundred fifty one Foreigners from the Palatinate & other Places, who, with their Families, making in all three hundred eighty eight Persons, were imported here in the Ship Harle, of London, Ralph Harle, Master, from Rotterdam, but last from Cowes, as by Clearance thence, were this day qualified as usual."
(From the Minutes of the Provincial Council, printer in "Colonial Records," Vol. IV, p.58f.)

As noted in Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, LL.D. (Volume 1 of 2, Baltimore Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1980), the Harle ship passenger list included the following members of the Stutenbecker family:

  • Clemens Stuttenbecker 36
  • Peter Stutenbecker 38
  • Henrich, Stutenbecker 29
  • An Cath. Stutenbeckerin* 28
  • An Margreth Stutenbeckerin* 38

*Note: "in" is the feminine surname ending in German and should be dropped to get the correct surname spelling.  The three men listed were brothers.  An Margreth was Peter's wife, as previously mentioned; and An Cath. was Clemens' (a.k.a., Clement's) wife whose maiden name was Melchers.  Once in America, the Stutenbeckers eventually changed their surname spelling to Studebaker.

Peter Studebaker, a highly-trained wagon-maker in Germany, brought his craftsmanship skills with him to his new homeland and began making wagons in America.  This wagon-making trade laid the foundation for what grew into the Studebaker Motor Car Company.

Excerpt about Peter Studebaker, wagon maker, from page 189 of
The Carriage Trade:  Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America
by Thomas A Kinney.1

Peter first settled for a short time after his arrival in America near Germantown, Pennsylvania.  On 07 December 1736, he was issue a warrant that granted him the right to settle on land along Andelauney Creek in Philadelphia County (now Greenwich Township in Berks County); however, he did not fulfill the financial agreement necessary to secure that land.

Excerpt from the website Studebaker "The German Origin" 1570 - 1736 compiled by C. Tharp.2

Then, circa 1738, he moved with his family to where Conogocheaque Creek enters the Potomac River near Williamsport, near what became Hagarstown (now Hagerstown) area.  This was considered part of the backcountry of Prince George's County, Marylandand his skill set was in high demand there by the then powerful Lord Baltimore.  Once settled, he became a prominent Maryland landowner (as documented in the excerpt below), and his land purchases included a parcel named "Baker's Lookout," which became the location of his permanent home built of hand-hewn logs and stone circa 1740.  Prior to building his home, Peter is also documented on 11 May 1739 as a signor of a petition to Governor Orr [sic] and the Houses of the Maryland Assembly in support of a "Court House" being built closer to "back parts of Prince George's County" at Salisbury Plain (an area northeast of present day Williamsport, Maryland).

Except from p. 149 of The Studebaker family in America by Walter Carlock, et al.3
Excerpt from the White-Cass-Folwer families, et al. by Stuart White.4

Moving forward about a decade, Peter sold 100 acres of his of land to John Long II, my maternal 7th great-grandfather who married Peter's daughter, Anna Catherina.  As is noted in the excerpt below, Mr. Long got this land for quite a bargain price.  The book title The big Long family in America, 1736-1979: a host of descendants of John Long, 1728-1791, of plantation Bakers Lookout, Washington County, Maryland, researched and compiled by Harvey Lawrence Long (published in 1981), indicates that the Long family lived at/in Baker's Lookout for some time.  For those who may be interested, that book offers much deeper insight into John and Maria Catharina (Studebaker) Long's family and descendants.)

Excerpt about Peter Studebaker and John Long's land transaction from page 149 of
The Studebaker Family in America by Walter Carlock, et. al.5

Estate settlement papers for the deceased Peter Studebaker are the final records available on him.  The papers are dated 08 June 1754 and reference that the deceased, Peter, was "of Frederick County, Maryland."  It is estimated that he died in February or March 1754, at the age of 58, likely from a disease that had taken several of his family members before him.

Except from p. 149 of The Studebaker family in America by Walter Carlock, et al.6

Peter Stutenbecker/Studebaker played key role in advancing the Industrial Revolution in America.  Additionally, he revolutionized American transportation and, in the process, made "Studebaker" a household name that certainly brings prosperity to mind.


     1Thomas A. Kinney, The Carriage Trade:  Making Horse-Drawn Vehicles in America.  (Baltimore: JHU Press, 2004), 189.
     2C. Tharp.  Studebaker "The German Origin 1570-1736 online,, excerpt downloaded 11 May 2015.
     3Walter Carlock, Alvin Faust, Ethel Irene Miller, Ruth Epler Studebaker, and Emmert Studebaker, The Studebaker family in America.  (Tip City, Ohio: The Studebaker Family National Association, 1976), 149.

     4Stuart White.  White-Cass-Fowler families, et al. online,, excerpt downloaded 11 May 2015.
     5Carlock, Studebaker Family in America, 149.
     6Carlock, Studebaker Family in America, 149.

©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.