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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  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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WILLIAM DECH. Too much credit cannot be given to the pioneers of any section of this country, those who have founded counties and states, have cleared the forests, and redeemed well cultivated farms from the wilderness, thus opening the way for civilization and providing for the future of their descendants. Among the venerable and worthy pioneers of Hanover Township William Dech is prominent, and from the first part of this century has been identified with the welfare of his immediate vicinity. It is therefore truly fitting that we should devote some time to the tracing of his history. The birth of our subject took place November 19, 1817, he being the son of Jacob and Polly A. (Oberly) Dech, who were both likewise natives of Northampton County. Jacob Dech, the father of the former, was a valiant soldier in the Revolutionary War under Washington, and was a native of Bucks County, this state. His father, in turn, it is believed, was a native of Germany, but though this is not positively known, it is undoubtedly true that the ancestors of the family emigrated to this state from the Fatherland. Our subject’s father devoted his entire life to the pursuit of farming, and for many years was a respected and worthy member of East Allen Township, where his demise occurred. Of his family four survive: William; Erin; Mary A., wife of Samuel Keller; and Stephen. William Dech, whose name heads this record, was reared to man’s estate on his father’s farm, which was located in this county, and, like him, has devoted his life to agriculture. His education was necessarily limited, as the district schools of the early days of his boyhood were of a very primitive description, and an education was obtained under great difficulties. However, he made the most of such as he had, and having been an extensive reader during his entire life has managed to become well informed on all practical subjects.

The marriage of Mr. Dech and Eliza M. Heller was celebrated October 22, 1846. Her parents, Jacob and Polly (Hammel) Heller, were natives of Northampton County. By this union five children were born, four of whom are living: Christiana, the wife of A. D. Siegfried; Milton A.; S. Minerva, the wife of Henry C. Fulmer; and Flora A., wife of Dr. Joseph Heckenberger, of Catasauqua. Ida E., the other daughter, died in 1853.

After his marriage, for several years Mr. Dech resided in Lower Nazareth Township, from where he removed in 1854 to his present farm, which is located in Hanover Township. This well developed and improved farm has been the home of his family since that time, or for a period of just forty years. Many fine buildings and substantial improvements have been placed upon the farm during this time, and it is therefore one of the best and most desirable rural homes in the county. It comprises one hundred and thirty acres of land, and is unquestionably one of the best in the township. The owner is largely a self-made man, having acquired his comfortable fortune through his own hard labor and well directed energy.

As School Director of Hanover Township, Mr. Dech served for three years very acceptably, and also proved a capable and trustworthy man in his capacity as Road Supervisor, which position he also filled for some time. He has always been confidently counted upon to favor and further all movements looking toward the welfare and upbuilding of the township and county, and all general movements for the welfare of the people. Religiously he is a member of the Lutheran Church at Hecktown, which he has served both as Deacon and Trustee. Politically he supports the Democratic party, though he is not an active politician. The loving and devoted helpmate of Mr. Dech was called from this side by the Angel of Death August 1, 1893. For nearly half a century she had shared his joys and sorrows, had counseled and cheered him along life’s way, and at her death left behind her innumerable friends who deeply mourn her loss. She was a faithful and consistent member of the Reformed Church, and by her beautiful and sincere Christian life won the love and affection of all with whom she came in contact.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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