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Biography of Amos Decker, Ohio (Father:  Pennsylvania)

(His first cousin, James K. P. Decker has a biography here.)

A Centennial Biographical History of Seneca County, Ohio
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1902
Page 512-515;  Retrieved 1/22/2010 from


Hon. Amos Decker

Amos Decker was born in Thompson township, Seneca county, on the old Decker homestead which he now owns, his natal day being the 11th of November, 1839.  His father, Jacob Decker, was born in Union county, Pennsylvania, in 1809, and was a son of John Decker, who emigrated with his family to Wayne county, Ohio, taking up his abode there in 1816.  He entered a tract of land from the government and in 1830 came to Seneca county, establishing his home in Thompson township, where he again secured government land.  This is now the property of Henry Luce.  He married Julia A. Royer and in the pioneer style of the times they began their domestic life.  As the years passed Mr. Decker accumulated considerable land and he also entered from the government the quarter-section upon which our subject was born.  He died in his sixty-fourth year and the community mourned the loss of one of its representative and valuable citizens, for he had taken an active and helpful part in many measures for the general good.  He aided in organizing the schools of Thompson township, was an active worker in the Reformed church and co-operated earnestly in every movement which he believed would advance the general welfare and progress of his county.

Under the paternal roof Jacob Decker, the father of our subject, spent his boyhood days.  His educational privileges were quite meager, both because his services were needed in clearing and developing his father’s farm and because of the primitive condition of the schools at that time.  He was only seven years of age when with his parents he came to Ohio, and thus amid the wild scenes of the frontier he was reared.  In 1828 he began working at the carpenter’s trade, which he followed for three years, and was then married, in 1831, after which he lived for one year on the old homestead.  He then removed to the farm upon which the birth of Amos Decker occurred, and made that place his home until 1868, when he took up his abode upon an adjoining farm, remaining there for two years.  On the expiration of that period he removed to Bellevue, where his remaining days were passed, his death occurring on the 7th of November, 1896, when he had reached the advanced age of eighty-seven years.  He married Miss Susan Billman, and they became the parents of six children, namely:   Barbara, the wife of Joseph Sherck, of Bellevue; John, who is living near Brinkley, Arkansas, where he owns and operates a ranch; David, who is a farmer and veterinary surgeon of Oklahoma; Amos, of this review; Milton, of Bellevue; and Jefferson, who died in infancy.  In public affairs Hon. Jacob Decker was quite prominent.  He served for two terms as county commissioner and in 1849 was elected a representative of his district in the state legislature.  Again he was called to that position, defeating William H. Gibson, one of the most prominent and influential residents of Seneca county.  He was an active member of the general assembly of Ohio and to each question which came up for consideration he gave earnest thought and attention, fearlessly supporting the measures which he believed to be right, and with equal ardor opposing those which he believed would work to the detriment of his county and state.  He voted with the Democracy and it was on the ticket of that party that he was elected to office.

Amos Decker, who was born and reared on the old family homestead, entered the district schools at the usual age and afterward became a student in the Republic Academy under Professor Aaron Schuyler, the noted mathematician.  When twenty-one years of age he took charge of the old home farm and throughout his entire life has been engaged in agricultural pursuits.  As a companion and helpmate for the journey of life he chose Miss Lucy Paine, a daughter of Hon. John W. Paine and granddaughter of John Paine, who was one of the pioneer settlers of Adams township, Seneca county.  It was in that township that Mr. and Mrs. Paine married, and in 1865 they removed to Thompson township to the farm upon which Christian Woleslagle now resides.  Mr. Paine served as notary public and also held the office of justice of the peace in Adams township.  He was an attorney at law and his knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence enabled him to discharge his duties as justice with excellent ability.  He was called to represent his district in the state legislature, serving during the sessions of 1856-7 and succeeding Jacob Decker.  For a second term he was elected and held the office in 1860-61.  He left the impress of his individuality upon the legislation enacted during those periods and widely was he recognized as one of the most prominent and honored residents of his community.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Decker was celebrated October 20, 1864, and afterward he took charge of the old home farm.  In 1866 he purchased a part of this, becoming owner of one hundred and eighty acres.  He made his home thereon for nine years and then came to the farm upon which he now resides.  Many excellent improvements has he placed upon his property.  He has here sixty-seven acres, in Thompson township.  He carries on general farming and stock-raising, having or many years purchased and sold stock in connection with his farm operations.  In 1887 he became connected with the grain trade in Bellevue, where he remained for three years, associated with Mr. Gardner for two years of that time and afterward with his father, Jacob Decker.  He next formed a partnership with Mr. Sherck, to whom he subsequently sold his interest.  In all his business undertakings his effores [sic] have been characterized by enterprise, sound judgment and executive ability.   He carries forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes and his labors have been crowned with a high degree of success.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Decker have been born fourteen children:  Emma, the wife of J.D. Royer, of Thompson township; Clara, the wife of S.F. Royer, a brother of Judge J.C. Royer, of Tiffin; Susie, the wife of E.E. Elliot, of York township, Sandusky county; Mary, who was engaged in teaching for several years and is living with her parents; Charles A., who makes his home in Thompson township; Mattie V., who for three years has been engaged in teaching; Myra, Harry W., Ralph and Ross, all of whom are now under the parental roof; Irvin J. and Sarah, who passed away in infancy, as well as an infant not named; and Nelson, who died at the age of thirteen years.

Mr. Decker has for many years been recognized as a leader of public thought and opinion in his locality.  In 1880 he was chosen to represent his district in the legislature, and by re-election served for two consecutive terms.  He was an active and honored member of that body, served on a number of important committees, and to the best of his ability – and that ability is of no inferior order – he labored for the interest of his constituents and for the welfare of the commonwealth.  He has also served in a number of local offices, for many years being a member of the school board, part of that time as its president.  For four years he was township clerk and in 1890 was chosen justice of the peace, in which capacity he served until 1900.  On two different occasions he was land appraiser.  He has been a member of the central committee of the Democratic party and is generally found as a delegate to the principal party conventions.  He is justly accorded
a place among the prominent and representative citizens of Seneca county, for he belongs to that class of men whose enterprising spirit is used not alone for their own benefit.  Mr. Decker is widely and favorably known throughout the state, his abilities well fitting him for leadership in political, business and social life.  The terms progress and patriotism might be considered the keynote of his character, for throughout his career he has labored for the improvement of every line of business or public interest with which he has been associated, and at all times has been actuated by a fidelity to his country and her welfare.

January 25, 2010