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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HERMANN DECKER, a well known citizen of Randolph County, who is engaged in general farming and stock-raising on section 3, township 7, range 7, claims Germany as the land of his birth, which occurred in Oldenburg, November 16, 1822. His parents, Frank and Elizabeth Decker, were both born and reared in Oldenburg, and there made their home until 1842, which year witnessed their emigration to America. They located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where both died nine years later.

Our subject was the youngest in their family of six children. He acquired his education in his native land, and there worked in a mill until seventeen years of age, when he crossed the briny deep to the New World. He landed in New Orleans, then went to Cincinnati, and thence to Preble County, Ohio, where he was employed as a farm laborer. For a time he attended school in order to learn the English language. After being employed as a farm hand for a year and a-half he went to Mississippi, where he engaged as a stage driver and in taking care of horses about two years. We next find him in Florida, where he worked in the cedar woods, hawing and preparing the lumber to be shipped to England. Four years of his life were passed in that way, and on its expiration he engaged as a teamster to go to Mexico. He enlisted in the service of his country for six months, but continued therein for ten months, after which he returned to New Orleans and drove an omnibus. In the succeeding autumn he again went to Mexico as a teamster, but on arriving in that country he obtained a substitute to serve in that capacity and enlisted in the Texas Cavalry, in which he continued throughout the remainder of the war.

After receiving his discharge, Mr. Decker went to New Orleans, engaging in draying for a short time, but owing to a dread of the yellow fever he made his way northward, and on the 18th of July, 1849, reached Chester. Here he at once began work, following any honest employment whereby he might secure a livelihood. In 1850, the court house was built, and he carried brick used in the erection of that structure. For fifteen years he engaged in teaming and in other pursuits in Chester. He then, in 1863, removed to the farm which has since been his home, and is now numbered among the leading agriculturists of the county. His home is pleasantly located within three miles of Chester, and there he carries on general farming and stock-raising, making a specialty of the breeding of Jersey cattle.

On the 28th of December, 1848, Mr. Decker was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Lanemann, a native of Hanover, Germany, who at that time had lived in New Orleans only one month and four days. Her death occurred January 17, 1892. By their marriage were born nine children, Herman, who married Christina Hupfer and lives near the home farm; Frank, who married Lena Allmyer and resides near Chester; Henry, who died at the age of twenty-three; Adeline; Frederick, who died at the age of three; Charles, who married Hannah Alman, of Missouri, and is now teaching school in Chicago; Lizzie, wife of Fritz Burger; and Mena and Frederick, at home.

Mr. Decker and all of his children are members of the Lutheran Church. In politics he is a Democrat, and has strongly supported that party since attaining his majority. He started out in life empty-handed, and for many years worked very hard at anything which he could find to do, but his industry and enterprise at length triumphed over the difficulties in his path and achieved for him a success which has numbered him among the substantial farmers of the community.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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