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Progressive Men of the State of Montana (about 1901)

Page 132

William Decker - A large majority of the early settlers of Montana became permanent residents of the beautiful Gallatin valley, and among those noted for well-spent lives of honor and usefulness, who have passed away in the fullness of years and secure in the esteem of his fellow men, William Decker's name will long be remembered. He was a native of the state of Illinois, born April 15, 1823, a son of Moses and Christina Decker, natives of Wabash county, Ind. Mr. Decker was reared on the old homestead farm in Illinois, and had such educational advantages as were afforded by the primitive schools of that early period. He devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits until May 16, 1864, when he set forth with an ox team on the long journey which gave him title to being one of Montana's pioneers, coming by way of the North Platte river. At a point where he had stopped for dinner one day a second train of emigrants stopped for the night and were attacked by the Indians, a number being killed and many of the mules captured by the savages. At Rosebud the survivors overtook the train of which Mr. Decker was a member, and thus augmented the company was sufficiently large to insure immunity from attack. Mr. Decker arrived in Virginia City September 1, 1864, remaining about a fortnight, and started for Gallatin valley, his intention being to engage in farming. He and his family stopped for a short time on West Gallatin river, and there his son Abner was born, September 18, 1864, probably the first white child born in Gallatin valley. Thence they moved to East Gallatin located a tract of land upon which they lived one year, and then moved six miles further down the valley, where Mr. Decker had found better land. He there permanently located and engaged in farming until his death, which occurred August 11, 1900, having attained the age of seventy-seven years. Mrs. Decker still retains her residence on the old homestead, now managed by her son William, the ranch being located ten miles north of Bozeman, their postoffice address. It is valuable property, devoted to general farming and is under a high state of cultivation, with many most excellent and permanent improvements. In politics Mr. Decker gave his support to the Democratic party. He was a man of strong mentality and high integrity, charitable in his judgment of his fellow men, whose high regard came to him in recognition of his sterling character.

On February 19, 1854, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Decker to Miss Clarissa Whitten, who was born in Kinderhook, Ill., a daughter of Bridge Whitten, who died when she was a mere child. To Mr. and Mrs. Decker ten children were born, namely: Moses, a rancher on the East Gallatin; Harrison, who is similarly engaged at Columbia Falls, Mont.; Christina is the wife of John Milton, a farmer of Gallatin valley; Sarah is the wife of John Wise, of Columbia Falls; Abner, Perry and John are ranchers in Judith Basin; Anna died when nine years of age, and Clara and William are still at home.

Source: Progressive Men of the State of Montana; Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1901 or 1902.
Retrieved online March 22, 2008 from Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula
[http://www.lib.umt.edu/]


Progressive Men of the State of Montana (about 1901)

Page 599

George H. Decker - This genial, cultivated gentleman, hustling business man and generally esteemed citizen of Butte, was born at Chicago, Ill., on November 3, 1858.  His parents were Gerard J. and Helena (D'Opinghaus) Decker, the former a native of Saxony, Germany, where he was born in 1817, and the latter of Austria, a descendent of the royal house of the Hapsburg.  They came to America early in the 'fifties and settled at Chicago, where the father died in 1898 and the mother in 1899.

Mr. Decker received his early education in the Chicago public schools, after which he pursued a three-years course of instruction in a Jesuit college, "Stella Matutiua" at Vorallberg, Tyrol, Switzerland.  On his return to Chicago after the great fire in 1870 he entered the wholesale grocery establishment of Sibley, Dudley & Co., as a clerk, and remained with the firm twelve years, rising by rapid promotion to the position of manager of the business.  After their failure in 1883, he followed his adopted vocation of expert accountant.  While residing in Chicago, he became acquainted with the late Marcs Daly, and at his solicitation came to Butte, Mont., in 1886, where he has since been connected with the Washoe Copper Company.  He is a member of the Royal League, holding membership in the organization at Chicago.  In 1878 he was united in marriage with Miss Sierra Nevada Streator, a member of the well-known Streater family of Illinois, prominent in public affairs, both state and national, for generations.  Her father, Allen D. Streator, was a noted surgeon in the Union army during the Civil war, and died at Pilot Knob, MO., while on active duty there in 1863.  He was a native of Allegany county, N. Y.  Mr. and Mrs. Decker have a pleasant home where they dispense an agreeable hospitality to their hosts of friends.

Source: Progressive Men of the State of Montana; Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., 1901 or 1902.
Retrieved online March 22, 2008 from Mansfield Library, The University of Montana-Missoula
[http://www.lib.umt.edu/]


July 19, 2008