Decker & Kuester Clans
Deckers came to America from Holland and settled in Deckerstown, NJ, now Sussex Co. N.J. The came to Ohio in 1837 and settled about sixteen miles from Marietta in Independence township. Elisha Decker had originally planned to buy a tract of land in Hamilton County, but after crossing by covered wagons to Pennsylvania they built a flat boat and floated down the Youghighemy River to the Allegheny River and on to the Ohio. Near St. Marys, WV, the only horse they had on the boat kicked a hold in the boat which caused them to land on the WV shore. They camped there and decided to give up any further voyage. They bought 1,000 acres of land in Independence Township, Washington Co., just five miles from the Ohio river where they built a saw mill to furnish lumber for their new home. The house stood for over ninety years and was replaced in 1929 by a modern home. Elisha Decker's son, Abraham Decker, a veteran of the Civil War was a prisoner of war and died in the Andersonville prison, one of the worst confederate prisons of the war. He was buried at the family farm in Ohio. Abraham's son, John Decker,lost track of his sister so the entire family worked the railroad westward until they found her in Audubon County, Iowa. Here the family were the first homesteaders, and built the first log cabin in Audubon county. By 1914, the Deckers, Marlenee's and Van Buren's spread throughout the Audubon and Adair counties as shown above of the 1914 Decker reunion . Our immediate family immigrated southward to Greenfield, Iowa in Adair County and later Creston, Iowa. The family settled in Iowa and the Wisconsin dells and many still reside in the Des Moines area.
The Decker and the Kuester Clan, both native Iowa families, combined when Michael Decker married Emma Kuester in 1919, my maternal grandparents. Emma's father, Louis Kuester from Philadephia, PA., joined the Seventh-Day-Adventist church and attended Andrews University nurses training in Battle Creek, Michigan when he met and married Ida Needles. Graduating together as registered nurses, Louis Kuester and Ida Irminta Needles not only trained together, but they set up tuberculosis centers that the Adventist church called sanitariums in Boulder, Colorado; San Antonio, Texas in Old Mexico; and Orlando, Florida.