Bio: Sturdevant, Clarence L. (1949)
Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon
Surnames: Sturdevant, Youmans, Mac Arthur,
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville,
Clark Co., WI.) October 14, 2009
Sturdevant, Clarence L. (1949)
From the news of October 1899, of the Good Old
Clarence L. Sturdevant has been back in the Old
Home Town this week, after concluding a distinguished career in the
Corps of army engineers. This is his first visit in Neillsville in
18 years. It was 45 years ago that as a senior in Neillsville
High School he went to West Point and began a life work, which led
him to the rank of major general and which, at one time, gave him
command of 283,000 men. As a professional soldier he holds the
highest rank ever attained by a son of
the upper end of his high school days young Clarence Sturdevant
fastened his eye upon the army. Knowing that he must pass a
stiff examination to enter West Point, he centered his interest
upon subjects required for that examination. Thus he worked
his way into the army school without finally graduating here.
He left it to George Zimmerman and to his other local friends to
garner such laurels as commencement day offered in
commencement day at West Point found Clarence Sturdevant standing
so high in his class that he had the choice of coveted assignment
to the engineer corps, regarded by most West Pointers as the choice
service of the army.
a member of the corps of engineers, he began after graduation the
series of steps, which finally led to assignment as assistant to
the chief of engineers, to the chief command in the construction of
the Alcan Highway and to the command of the New Guinea base section
of the service of supply of General MacArthur’s
before beginning his wanderings in the engineer service, Clarence
Sturdevant was married in Neillsville to Beth Youmans, a
Neillsville girl, and it was in the Youmans’ home in
Neillsville that John, their second child was
first army assignment was to a battalion of engineers at Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas; then to the engineer’s school in
Washington; then in 1912 to the Philippines, where he helped
fortify Corregidor; then back to Washington as captain, serving in
the office of the chief of engineers, then to the general staff
school at Fort Leavenworth, where he was a classmate of Generals
Eisenhower and Stillwell; then to the army war
then followed various assignments to districts in the country,
where he was in charge of river and harbor
During the First World War he was with the Eighth
Division at Camp Fremont, Calif., but was pulled out of that
organization upon its departure for European Service. He was
then assigned to training a regiment of engineers and that regiment
was not yet ready for service when the war ended.
Upon his return from his second service in the
Philippines, General Sturdevant was made division engineer at
Kansas City, Mo., with river and harbor improvements in his charge
all along the Missouri up into Montana.
was made assistant chief of engineers in 1940, as this country was
preparing for war. He was in charge of the military division,
his work being mainly the organization and training of troops for
the war. It was in that capacity that he had charge of the
Alcan Highway. He entered upon this project with the urgent
briefing that it might become the only link between Alaska and the
continental United States. At that time the navy was hard
pressed, and there was danger that, in the extremity, the navy
might not be able to protect the service of supply to Alaska.
It was necessary, Gen. Sturdevant was told, to open a passage
through the wilds in a single season.
accomplish this task, Gen. Sturdevant used 10 regiments of
engineers. They were divided into four contingents, one
working south from Fairbanks, Alaska, one working north from White
Horse in the Yukon; one working south from White Horse; the fourth
working north from the end of the railroad about 150 miles north of
The Alcan Highway was roughed out and made passage in the single season, according to orders. It transpired that the extreme emergency did not arise. The improvement of the route was turned over to contractors, and the route itself is now in the hands of the Canada and the Alaska road commission.
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