welcome to ...

the Decker Journey

mark of Jan Broersen Decker

Home -> Stories -> Thomas E. Decker

Unable to display menu


Biography of Thomas E. Decker, Wisconsin (b. New York)

Portrait and Biographical Album of Green Lake, Marquette, and Waushara Counties, Wisconsin.
Acme Publishing Company, Chicago, IL., 1890

Page 344-347; Retrieved 1/22/2010 from


Thomas E. Decker, one of the leading citizens of Waushara County, and a prominent business man of Hamilton, has been connected with the lumber interests of that village for twenty-eight years, and at the present time is engaged in various other lines, including merchandising and blacksmithing.  He also deals in agricultural implements and has a wagon ship in connection with his blacksmith shop.

Mr. Decker is a native of New York, having been born in Jefferson County, in the town of Cape Vincent, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, on the 24th of April, 1846.  His ancestors were of Irish and Holland extraction.  His great-grandfather, Michael Decker, was a native of Holland, and came to America before the War for Independence, locating on the Hudson River, not far from New York City, where he lived for a short time, when he removed to near Concord, Mass., and while the British were destroying the stores at that place which had been collected by the colonists, he received a gunshot wound which caused his death.  His family afterward returned to New York.  His son, Michael Decker, the grandfather of our subject, was born near New York City, and was a shoemaker by trade.  He wedded Mary Scott and died at Cape Vincent, where he made his home for many years.  During the war of 1812 he aided in the defense of Sackettís Harbor, while the British were trying to destroy the stores at that point.  At the time of the French Revolution in 1837, his brother, Peter Decker, joined a company of filibusters, crossing the St. Lawrence River at Ogdensburg to Prescott, Canada, where they joined a force of French rebels.  They were besieged by the British forces, taking refuge in an old stone mill, where they were captured.  Their leader was taken to Kingston and hanged, and the privates and non-commissioned officers were exiled to a penal colony on Van Diemanís land.  There Peter Decker received a pardon, but never returned to this country.  The maternal grandfather of our subject was a native of Ireland.  With the intention of making his home in America, he embarked for Canada, but while crossing the ocean his death occurred.  His family settled in the Province of Quebec and spent the greater part of their lives in Prescott.

James Decker, the father of our subject, was born in May, 1809, in Oneida County, N.Y., and made farming his principal occupation through life.  He removed to Jefferson County, locating in Cape Vincent, where he was engaged in the butcher business for a short time, but subsequently farmed for some twelve years.  In 1862 he came to Wisconsin and purchased 200 acres of land in Adams County, but after two years came to Waushara County, and settled on section 11, where he owns 250 acres of good farming land.  He married Elizabeth Travis of Ireland, who during her infancy was taken by her parents to Brockville, Canada, where she made her home until her marriage.

Thomas E. Decker is the oldest of a family of twelve children, six sons and six daughters.  His boyhood days were spent in the town of Cape Vincent, where he obtained a liberal education in the English branches.  In 1860 he emigrated with his parents to Adams County, Wis., and assisted his father on the farm until 1862, when he came to Waushara County, which has since been his home.  He entered upon his business career as an employee of Hamilton Bros. & Smith, lumber manufacturers at Hamiltonís Mills, for whom he worked until 1873, when Mr. Smith sold his property to his partners, Mr. Decker continuing with the Hamilton Bros. for twenty years, eighteen years of which he was foreman of the establishment, having full charge of the business, which he finally purchased, and for twelve years has been successfully operating the mill in his own interests.  As before stated, he owns a wagon and blacksmith shop, deals in agricultural implements, and owns a general merchandise store.  In 1882 he established a cheese factory in Hamilton, but after four years sold out.  He now owns 246 acres of splendid grazing land.

Mr. Decker married Eva Wilson, an estimable lady, born in Adams County, Dec. 18, 1852, where her parents settled two years previously.  She was the only child born to William and Melinda (Sabaw) Wilson of Pennsylvania.  Her mother, who was a member of the Congregational Church, died in 1852.  Her father lived in Adams County for ten years, and then moved to Outagamic County, but after a few years became a resident of Waushara County, settling on the farm where he still resides.  His second wife was formerly Louisa Colvill, and nine children were born of their union.

Mr. and Mrs. Decker have one child, Jay, born Dec. 13, 1876.  In politics, Mr. Decker is a Democrat of the Jeffersonian type, and manifests a lively interest in political affairs.  He has been Postmaster of Hamilton for ten years, receiving the appointment during Hayesí administration, was township chairman for seven years, and was also a member of the County Board.  He is a member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge of Berlin, has filled the chair of Chancellor,  Commander and all the lower offices, was representative to the Grand Lodge at Milwaukee in 1887 and 1888, and was a delegate to the State Presidential Convention held in Madison in 1888.  He is recognized as one of the leading and influential citizens of the community, untiring and energetic in his business pursuits and upright and honorable in all his transactions.  He enjoys the confidence and high regard of many friends, both in the social and business world, and is esteemed as a valued leader of society.

January 25, 2010