George or Gerd G. Decker

    George was born in 1829 in Ostfriesland, which is now in northern Germany. He was baptized as "Gerd Gottfrieden" but in America only used the English equivalent, "George Godfrey". According to a study done on the Ostfriesland roots of this family, the surname of this family may at one time have been "Wilken", but the men of the family were roof thatchers and gradually came to be known by the German name for their occupation. Indeed, if George had borne the surname "Wilken", it would simply have meant that his father's name was Wilke (equivalent of the English William).
    George emigrated to America sometime before September 1857, which is when he was married in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois, to Anna Claassen Heyen. George and Anna lived in several different Illinois communities: Egypt, Mason County; Minonk, Woodford County; and Danforth Twp. and Gilman, Iroquois County.
    George's obituary appeared in the Danforth Herald on 25 Sep 1914:

Aged Settler Dies at Gilman

    "Mr. George Decker, one of Danforth township's pioneer settlers, died at his home in Gilman at one o'clock yesterday morning, after an illness of several years duration. Of late he has been practically helpless. He was at the time of death 85 years of age.
    He was united in marriage to Miss Anna Heyen, and he and his wife were among the first settlers of Danforth township. For almost 40 years they lived on the farm east of town, where they remained until about 14 years ago, when they moved to the city of Gilman.
    About 4 years ago the deceased was taken seriously ill and it was while taking care of her husband that Mrs. Decker became ill with pneumonia and died.
    Though penniless when he came to this country, Mr. Decker was a very successful farmer, having accumulated almost 1000 acres of land in this neighborhood.
    Deceased is survived by eight children namely: John C.; George G. and Mrs.
Lena Janssen of Danforth; William; Robert and Mrs. Rena Seiple of Gilman; Mrs. Mary Heise of Winnemack, Ind., and Mrs. Ida Decker, of Wichita Falls, Tex.
    Funeral services will be held in the United Evangelical church here Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Interment will be made in the Danforth cemetery."