John A. Decker

John A. and Mary (Eichhorn) Decker

After a period of loyal and faithful service in the Civil war John a. Decker identified himself with agricultural interest of Allamkee county and for over forty years thereafter developed and improved his property in French Creek township, winning during the time a high place in the regard of his neighbors and finally rest and retirement as a reward for his honorable and well directed labors. He now makes his home with his son in Lansing township and has many friends throughout Allamakee county, to whom he is familiarly known as Adam. He was born in Wittenberg, Germany, August 9, 1833, and is a son of George and Mary Decker, natives of that country, who in 1847 came with their family to America. They made the journey on board and sailing vessel Quebec, which started from London, and after a voyage of thirty-five days landed in America, having been delayed by a severe storm. From New York the Decker family pushed west to Ohio, settling near Cleveland, where the father purchased forty acres of land, upon which he engaged in farming for the remainder of his life. He and his wife became the parents of ten children, only one of whom, the subject of this review, survives.

John. A. Decker was reared to manhood in Ohio, acquiring his education in the public schools of that state. He came to Allamakee county a few years before the outbreak of the Civil war but almost immediately afterward went to Fillmore county, Minnesota, in search of a location for a farm. The open prairie country not appealing to him, he returned to Lansing and there worked as a fireman and later as an engineer in a sawmill. From that city he enlisted in 1861 in Company B, Twelfth Iowa Volunteers, and served as a musician, holding this position in his regiment until he was seized with illness, which obliged him to go to the hospital at Mound City, Illinois. There he was given a position as engineer on a stationary engine and continued to hold it until he was discharged from the hospital. He continued his military service until 1866, in which year he obtained his honorable discharge at Davenport, Iowa.

With this creditable military record Mr. Decker returned to Allamakee county and in French Creek township purchased eighty acres of unimproved land, to which he later added one hundred acres. For many years thereafter he steadily carried forward the work of developing this property, which in time became one of the best farms in this locality as a result of his practical methods and his untiring industry. Eventually he gave it over to the management of his son John and about the year 1907 sold the homestead and moved with his wife to his son’s farm in Lansing township, where he now lives in retirement, spending the evening of his life in well earned rest.

Mr. Decker married, May 15, 1867, Miss Mary Eichhorn, who was born in Germany, May 6, 1846, and who came to America with her brothers and sisters when she was six years of age. Mr. and Mrs. Decker became the parents of six children. John A. was born in Lansing township in 1868. He is now one of the prosperous farmers of this township, owning a fine property on section 30. He married in 1894 Miss Lena M. Hirth, and they have a daughter, Edna. With this family Mr. and Mrs. John A. Decker are spending their retired life. Maggie married Joe Martin, of Church, Iowa. George makes his home with his brother Samuel in the same city. Samuel married Annie Bechtel. Ben is a general merchant in Church. Emma became the wife of Charles Hirth, of Lansing township. Mr. and Mrs. Decker are devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church.

For years Mr. Decker affiliated with the republican party but at the election of 1912 he voted the democratic ticket. There are few citizens in Allamakee county more widely and favorably known than he, for he has made his home here for over forty-five years, during all of which period his life has been upright, straightforward and honorable in all its relations. He has gained a comfortable degree of worldly prosperity, while his genial manner and unfailing courtesy have won him the warm and lasting regard of those with whom he has been brought in contact.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

Return to 1913 biographies index