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Biography of Clark W. Decker, Michigan

(Also, separate biography of William Wood, below, who married Adeline Decker, sister of Clark W. Decker)

Source: Portrait and biographical album of Lenawee County, Mich. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Michigan and of the presidents of the United States.
Chicago: Chapman Bros., 1888, 1212 pgs.
Retrieved from Heritage Quest, December 17, 2008

pp. 315-316

Click to enlarge

(Picture courtesy of Virginia Loewe)

CLARK W. DECKER.  The building interests of Adrian, as may naturally be supposed, have formed one of its most important features, and the general aspect of the town denotes with what skill and good judgment these have been conducted.  Among the builders and contractors who have been kept busy for a long period of years and whose works have been the best exponent of their ability, the subject of this sketch occupies an enviable position.

Mr. Decker has spent his entire life amid the scenes of his present labors, having been born in Adrian Township on the 17th of May, 1838.  His parents were Uriah and Experience (Baker) Decker, natives respectively of Columbia and Ontario Counties, N. Y.; the former was born Oct. 24, 1805.  The mother, whose early home was near the town of Manchester, was born about 1808.  They were married in the Empire State and came to the Territory of Michigan in the summer of 1833, locating on section 7, in Adrian Township, where the father opened up a good farm, cultivating the soil, and erecting a substantial set of frame buildings.  Here he spent the remainder of his life, and rested from his earthly labors in December, 1885.

The parental family included four sons and four daughters, all living, married, and settled in comfortable homes of their own; the mother occupies the old homestead.  Our subject was the third son and fifth child and remained on the farm until a youth of sixteen years, when he chose a sailor's life, which he followed on the Lakes two years thereafter, making trips principally from Chicago to Buffalo, employed by parties dealing in grain.  When taking up his abode upon terra firma again, in the spring of 1855, he commenced learning the carpenter's trade in Adrian.  That fall he repaired to South Haven, where he spent the following winter working at his trade, and in the spring engaged with a party of surveyors bound for Minneapolis, Minn.  He was employed thereafter in assisting to make the Government survey, at which business he continued until the severe winter weather compelled them to abandon their labors.

Mr. Decker, in the spring of 1856, retnred [sic] to Adrian and was idle for some time on account of an attack of measles.  Upon his recovery he resumed work at his trade in the town of Rome and other points throughout the county, following carpentering until the spring of 1861.  The outbreak of the Rebellion broke in upon his plans as upon the plans of thousands of other men, and he, in common with them, considered it his duty to assist in the preservation of the Union.  He accordingly enlisted, soon after the first call for troops, in Company K, 1st Michigan three-months men, and took part in the first battle of Bull Run.  In August following, his time having expired, he returned to Adrian and commenced work at his trade, under the supposition with many others, that the Rebellion was a comparatively slight disturbance which would soon be quelled.  In the winter of 1862, however, finding that the conflict seemed no nearer its close, he turned his attention again to his country's need and assisted in raising Company H, 11th Michigan Cavalry, of which he was at once commissioned Second Lieutenant.  he marched to the front of his regiment, and in December they found themselves in Kentucky under command of Gens. Stoneman, Burbridge, and Schofield, and took part in all the skirmishes and more serious engagements with the enemy in that region.

In January, 1864, Mr. Decker was promoted to First Lieutenant, with which rank he was mustered out in October, 1865.  Upon his return to Adrian he was married to the maiden who had been watching the results of war with extreme anxiety, and in common with others had nerved herself to meet the worst, if necessary.  This was Miss Emma Halsted, of Rome Township, and the wedding was celebrated Oct. 14, 1865.  After marriage the young people took up their abode in a modest home in the town of Rome, where they resided two years during which Lieut. Decker followed his trade.  At the expiration of this time he traded his property there for a house and lot in Adrian, to which they removed in June, 1868.  This has been their home since that time, and one to which they have given so much time and thought in embellishing it and contributing to its value, so that it has become one of the most desirable homes in the city.

Lieut. Decker branched out as a builder and contractor soon after after his marriage, in which he has since been engaged with the exception of three years, during which time he was foreman of the Adrian Car Manufacturing Company.  He is a first-class workman, possessing much natural genius, and has been concerned in the erection of some of the best buildings in the city, including the Rowley & Farrar block, besides various stores and some of the best residences.

Mr. and Mrs. Decker are the parents of two children only, Zoe L. and Leon E.  The father of our subject served as Justice of the Peace in Adrian Township continuously for a period of sixteen years, during which time among other duties he joined in marriage a large number of the young people of that locality.  Clark W. takes an active interest in politics and is conservative in his ideas, reserving the right to support the candidate whom he considers best qualified for office.  Socially he belongs to Adrian Lodge No. 8, O. O. O. F., the K. O. T. M. and the G. A. R.

Biography of William Wood (married Adeline Decker, sister of Clark W. Decker)


Title:  History and biographical record of Lenawee County, Michigan : containing a history of the organization and early settlement of the county, together with a biographical record of many of the oldest and most prominent settlers and present residents, obtained from personal interviews with themselves or their children
Authors:  Whitney, W. A.
City of Publication:  Adrian Mich.
Publisher:  W. Stearns & Co., printers
Date:  1879

Retrieved from Heritage Quest, December 17, 2008


pp. 315-316

(Pictures from Wood/Decker album - courtesy of Virginia Decker Loewe)

WILLIAM WOOD was born in Onondaga, N. Y., June 21, 1826.  His father, Leander Wood, was born in the same place, June 22, 1804, where he lived until after he was married.  he then moved to Barre, Orleans county, where he purchased a farm and lived until the fall of 1833, when he came to Michigan and settled on section 13, in Rome.  He located eighty acres of land from the government, and afterward purchased eighty acres adjoining of Martin Cure, his brother-in-law.  He subsequently added to his farm until he owned 220 acres of land in one body.  He cleared, fenced, and improved about 160 acres, and built good buildings.  he resided on his farm until 1859, when he purchased a home in the city of Adrian, where he resided until his death, which occurred September 10, 1863.  Previous to his death he sold a part of his farm to William, the balance being willed to his heirs.  He took an active interest in the early settlement of the county, and was ever ready to assist the new comer with material aid, as well as helping him to locate land and get a start.  He was a good neighbor, a kind friend, a moral, energetic, and much respected citizen.  September 24, 1825, Leander Wood married Maria Cure, daughter of Martin Cure, by whom he had ten children, William being the oldest.  Mrs. Maria Wood was born in Saratoga County, October 4, 1806, and died in Rome, in January, 1851.  Her ancestors came from Germany, and were among the early settlers of the city of New York.  William Wood came to Michigan with his parents when he was eight years old, and has lived in Rome, this county, ever since.  He lived with his parents until he was twenty-one, and has always followed farming.  He was married soon after he was twenty-one, and in the spring of 1848 he moved on forty acres of land on section 13, in Rome, which his father had given him, and where he now resides.  Since that time he has added to his farm until he now owns 150 acres of highly productive land.  He has erected a good frame house, with large barns, etc., with good orchard and all necessary conveniences.  October 14, 1847, William Wood married Adeline Decker, daughter of Uri and Experience Decker, of Adrian Township, by whom he has had four children, as follows:  Elizabeth J., born in Rome, March 15, 1849, now the wife of Hawley Smith, a farmer of Adrian; Alfred H., born September 24, 1850, died at the age of one year; William H., born September 24, 1854, a farmer of Rome, Clark L., born June 30, 1864, at home.  Mrs. Adeline Wood was born in Manchester, Ontario county, N. Y., April 12, 1830, and came to Michigan with her parents in 1833, and settled on section 7 in Adrian, where they now reside.  Her father was born June 21, 1805.  In 1829 Uri Decker married Experience Baker, daughter of Joseph and Sally (Cruthers) Baker, by whom he had ten children, Mrs. Adeline Wood being the oldest.  Mrs. Experience Decker was born in Ontario county, N. Y., March 8, 1807.  Her father came from Vermont, and was one of the early settlers of Ontario county, N. Y., as well as Lenawee county.

February 9, 2009