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Biography of Silas Decker, Michigan, Pennsylvania

Biographical review of Calhoun County, Michigan, Hobart & Mather, Chicago, IL., 1904.

Page 562-563; retrieved 1/21/2010 from


A farmer of Eckford township, Calhoun county, Michigan, Silas Decker was born in Union county, Pennsylvania, February 15, 1852, one of a family of four children born to his parents, two of whom died in infancy, the other who survived being Amanda, who became the wife of E. T. Randall.  The parents, Simon and Mary Ann (Reitz) Decker,  were both natives of Union county , the birth of the former occurring June 6, 1825.  He was the son of Peter Decker, also of Pennsylvania, whose father was a German emigrant.  Peter Decker was a farmer who spent his entire life in Pennsylvania and there his death occurred.  He trained his son Simon to the duties of a farmer and the latter after renting property in Pennsylvania for some time, drove to Seneca county, Ohio, there renting land for six years, coming in 1862 to Michigan, traveling in the same manner to his western destination.  The first three years were spent in Branch county where he purchased a farm of one hundred and eight acres and improved and cultivated the same, coming, in 1865, to Calhoun county, settling upon a farm of eighty acres of improved land.  The death of the mother occurred March 26, 1889, and she is buried in West Eckford cemetery.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Decker were members of the Reformed Dutch church.  Mr. Decker is a man thoroughly educated in the language of his forefathers, speaking, reading, and writing German fluently.  He started in life with only his own ambition as a promise for the future, and before he ceased from active labor was numbered among the successful farmers of the community.  In his political preferment he was a Democrat.  His death occurred November 3, 1903, at the home of his son.

Silas Decker received his education in the district schools of Ohio and Michigan, at the age of nine years removing with his parents to the latter state, his duty on the journey being to drive the cows.  With no incentive beyond his own ambition, he fitted himself for teaching by home study, after which he taught in Calhoun county for eleven winters.  Until 1884 he lived with his parents when he went on to a farm of ninety-two and three-fourths acres of improved land, since which time he has erected all the buildings which now add value to the property.  He has also added forty acres to the original number, devoting the land to general farming and stockraising and at the same time conducting his father’s farm.

The marriage of Mr. Decker occurred March 26, 1879, and united him with Miss Emma Bender, who was born in Ceresco, Calhoun county, a daughter of William and Susan (Lehr) Bender, the former of whom is now deceased.  They were both natives of Northampton county, Pennsylvania, and came to Calhoun county in 1862, settling in Marengo township, where he engaged in farming.  His death occurred in 1881.  To Mr. and Mrs. Decker have been born two children namely: Lewis Jefferson and Susan Emily.  The former received his education in the district school and Marshall high school, after which he became a student in a commercial college of Detroit.  He married, December 9, 1903, Miss Irene Fish, of Marengo township, Calhoun county; while the latter was educated in the district school.  Both are members of the paternal home.  Mr. Decker and his wife are both members of the Methodist Episcopal church.  Politically, Mr. Decker is independent, reserving the right to cast his ballot for the man best qualified for the position.  Though always active in public support and endorsement of public measures Mr. Decker has never allowed his name to come up for official recognition.  As a citizen much interested in educational work he has served as county superintendent of schools.  Mr. Decker is appreciated for the many qualities which have distinguished his life in its every day affairs – a broad minded, public spirited man in every way and one upon whom a community may safely rely for its substantial element.

January 25, 2010