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Biography of John C. Decker, Livingston County, New York

Biographical Review, The Leading Citizens of Livingston and Wyoming Counties, New York

Biographical Review Publishing Company, Boston, 1895

Page 514-515

[Heritage Quest Online 12/31/2008]

JOHN C. DECKER, a thriving farmer of South Livonia, Livingston County, N. Y., was born in Livonia, October 25, 1822.  His grandfather, John Decker, who was a German emigrant, came to Livonia in 1799, where he took a deed from the agent of the Countess of Bath for a tract of one hundred and sixty acres of land, and became one of the most skilful hunters and trappers in this region.  He built a frame house on this land, in which he lived during the remainder of his life.  The nearest market was Rochester, and thither he carried the flesh and skins of the animals which had fallen victims to his ingenious traps and unerring rifle aim.  His wife's maiden name was Katie Weltie.  Grandfather Decker lived to be seventy-two years of age.

His son Henry, the second of the Decker generation in America, and the father of Mr. John C. Decker, whose name heads this sketch, was educated in Livonia, where he was a farmer and a distiller.  He bought a farm adjoining that of his father, which upon the latter's death he also purchased.  Four hundred acres of this estate he afterward sold; and he moved into Lima, in order that his younger children might have better educational advantages.  Eleven children were borne to him by his wife, Martha Mather, six of whom are now living.

John C. Decker, after completing the course of study prescribed by the common schools of his town, devoted himself to farm work until he was twenty-five, when he acquired the dignity of a landed proprietor by purchasing a hundred acres of land, upon which he erected buildings, and which he has diligently improved by cultivation.  He now has an estate of one hundred and sixty acres, which he manages intelligently and profitably.  In 1849 he married Miss Charlotte Cowles, a daughter of Richard and Charlotte (Cole) Cowles, of Hartford County, Conn.  The one daughter of this union, Frances, married the Rev. Amos Kiehle, of Livingston County, but was not spared to enjoy many years of wifehood and motherhood.  She died in her thirty-fifth year, leaving one son, Ernest, who lives with his grandparents.  Mr. Kiehle, the boy's father, is a Presbyterian clergyman, with a pastorate in Milwaukee, Wis.

Mr. Decker is always interested in the political issues of the times, and has been a Republican since the formation of that party.  He has exercised the right of suffrage more than half a century, having cast his first Presidential vote for James K. Polk in 1844.  A portrait of this veteran agriculturalist, the years of whose life are past threescore years and ten, may be seen on the opposite page.  Evidently the "gospel of outdoors" has not been preached to him in vain.

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January 1, 2009