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Biography of Casper G. Decker, New York

History of The Genesee Country - Western New York

Volume III

1925, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

page 599-600

[on file at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT]


One of the important industries of the Chemung valley is the Elmira Knitting Mills, of which William H. Bilbrough and Casper G. Decker have been the manager and president, respectively.  For thirty-one years the business has been in continuous operation.  Mr. Decker's father, Dr. Casper Schermerhorn Decker, was for many years a resident of Elmira and was numbered among its substantial business men and highly respected citizens.  He was born in Roxbury, Delaware county, New York, February 2, 1820, and his parents were Gilbert and Anna (Shermerhorn) Decker.  His public school training was supplemented by a course of study in the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York city and he began the practice of medicine in Margaretville, New York, as a partner of his preceptor, Dr. John C. Allaben.  Dr. Decker was thus engaged for five years and then, resigning his profession, leased a tannery in Sullivan county, New York.  In 1860, in association with his brother David, he built a tannery in Wellsburg, this state, where he resided until 1863, and then removed to Elmira.  He later formed a partnership with Edward H. Palmer and the firm of Palmer and Decker continued in the tanning business until 1893.

Dr. Decker was a stanch democrat in politics and an influential factor in public affairs.  He was president of the commission which in 1873 and 1874 built the first iron bridges over the Chemung river at Main and Lake streets, and in the latter year was appointed by Governor Dix a member of the board of Commissioners of the New York State Reformatory at Elmira.  He served on the city cemetery and sewer commissions and was twice elected to the Chemung County Board of Supervisors.  He was a man of high character and had many friends, whom he had gained by a life of industry and rightly directed endeavor.

In 1853 Dr. Decker was united in marriage to Miss Euphemia B. Simpson, who was born in Lexington, New York, and subsequently became a resident of Phoenicia, this state.  She passed away in January, 1907, and Dr. Decker's demise occurred on the 7th of May, 1907, at the venerable age of eighty-seven years.  He was a faithful member of the Hedding Methodist Episcopal church, to which he presented an organ on its dedication in 1901, and also served on the board of trustees.

Their only child, Casper G. Decker, was born May 5, 1860 in Summitville, Sullivan county, New York.  He attended the public schools of Elmira, and also had the benefit of instruction in Syracuse University.  He worked in his father's tannery until the business was discontinued and in 1893 with William H. Billbrough, started the Elmira Knitting Mills, of which he has since been the president.  The firm manufactures summer cotton underwear for men and there is a large demand for its output, which is of high quality, ranking with the best on the market.  Mr. Decker has given careful thought to the development of the business, which represents years of hard work and intelligently directed effort.  He is also a director of the Thatcher Manufacturing Company of Elmira.

On March 2, 1901, Mr. Decker was married to Miss Caroline F. Spencer of Syracuse, New York, a daughter of the Rev. Henry F. Spencer, who devoted his life to the ministry in the Methodist church.  Mr. and Mrs. Decker are active members of the Hedding Methodist Episcopal church, which he has served in the capacity of trustee, also acting as superintendent of the Sunday school.  He has always been a strong prohibitionist and during the World war engaged in government activities.  He is a member of the Country and Rotary Clubs of Elmira and belongs to the Ivy Lodge of Masons.

June 27, 2009