George G. Decker

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


GEORGE G. DECKER, one of the shrewd, energetic business men of Middletown, and President of the People's Bank at Margarettville, is a native of Delaware County, having been born in the town of Roxbury, February 15, 1824. His parents were William and Jane (More) Decker, at one time residents of Taghkanick, Columbia County, New York., the former of whom was born January 1, 1795, and was the son of Lawrence Decker, whose wife was by maiden name Caroline Hollenbeck. The latter died before her husband; and Lawrence Decker married again, his second wife being Lucretia Fowler. He was of Dutch ancestry, and came from Columbia to Greene County, buying a small farm near Prattsville, which he cultivated with that untiring industry characteristic of the race from which he sprang. He and his wife Caroline were the parents of five children, one son and four daughters, whose names, reversing the order of sex, were Caroline, Ann, Christina, Phebe, and William.

The last named, the date of whose birth is given above, was on the death of his parents adopted into the Hardenburgh family, and acquired a practical education in the common schools of Prattsville. His strong commercial instincts prompted him to seek the avenues of trade as the road to fortune; and with but a slender capital he started in the mercantile business, opening the first general store in Roxbury. For some time all went well with the youthful merchant; but his good fortune did not last long, his store being destroyed by fire, with all its contents. Not relishing this experience, he turned aside from the paths of commerce to those of agriculture, and purchased a farm in the town of Andes, the property being known at the time as the Chapman farm, and now forming a part of the site of the village of Andes. Here he resided, engaged in agricultural pursuits, from 1832 to 1843. About the latter year he sold his farm, and, feeling inclined for a change, became the proprietor of the Andes Hotel, which he conducted for some three years. In 1846 he removed to Hancock, and conducted a hotel there for one year, but at the end of that time returned to farming, and died on his son's farm, February 27, 1852. He was an old-time Democrat, and had served in the War of 1812. He held the office of Deputy Sheriff of his county. His wife, formerly Jane More, was born June 8, 1805, and attained the ripe age of eighty years, dying May 28, 1885.

George G. Decker acquired a fair amount of elementary knowledge in the common schools of his native town of Roxbury and Andes, and added to his mental equipment by a course in the Delaware Academy at Delhi. He then took a position as clerk in the general store of the Hon. E. J. Burhaus, remaining so employed for eight years, at the end of which time he became a partner in the business, the firm being known as E. J. Burhaus & Co. Not long after, obtaining an interest in the business, he came to Margarettville, in 1849, and opened a branch store, of which he took personal charge for six years, it being one of the first stores in the village. He then built a store for himself, and continued in the mercantile business until 1876, when he sold out the stock to Mr. Swart, about this time being made Postmaster of the village, an office which he resigned in 1884. The Western loan business occupied his attention from 1889 to 1891, in which latter year he organized and became President of the People's Bank of Margarettville. He was elected President, April 10, 1891; and the bank building was erected in the following year. The bank is a prosperous institution, much patronized by the business men and citizens of Middletown; and Mr. Decker ably fills the office of President. That he has the good will and confidence of his fellow-townsmen is attested by the fact that he has served a term as member of Assembly, and has held the town offices of Supervisor and Commissioner of Schools.

Mr. Decker was married in 1849 to Catherine H. More, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Church) More. The father of Mrs. Decker was a thriving and well-known farmer of Roxbury, and was later a dealer in farm produce. He was the son of Robert and Susannah (Fellows) More, and was born in Roxbury in 1799. His paternal grandparents were John and Bessie (Tyler) More. Robert More, father of Alexander, was a Revolutionary soldier serving in the patriot army, and later becoming one of Delaware County's first settlers. He took up wild land, which he cleared, and became a thriving and substantial farmer, surviving to a good old age. He and his wife reared the following children: William C., who married Susan Newkirk; Susan A., who became the wife of O. A. Preston; Catherine, now Mrs. Decker; Abigail C., who married A. A. Crosby of Rondout; and David F., who married Sarah Hubble, and now resides in Newark, N.J.

Mr. and Mrs. George G. Decker are the parents of three children: Susie M., who became the wife of S. W. Marvin, a publisher of New York City, and has four children, whose names are George Q., Alexander B., Eleanor, and Samuel W.; Augusta A., who married O. A. Ewart, and died October 22, 1893, leaving three children - Howard D., Fred M., and Katherine; William M., who married Bessie Smith, is now a prominent physician in Kingston, and has two children - Dorothy and William.

Mr. Decker, although engaged in active business, is not unmindful of the things pertaining to the higher life, and exemplifies a practical Christianity in is dealings with his fellow-men. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and is a power for good in the community in which he dwells.


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