Biography of Casper S. Decker
Chemung County, NY Biographies





Decker, Casper S., of the firm of Palmer & Decker, was born in Delaware County, N. Y, February 2, 1820, a son of a farmer and tanner who lived many years in Delaware and Cortland Counties, and who died in Elmira in 1875, aged eighty seven years. He reared four sons, of whom Casper S. was the third. Casper S. Decker, after receiving a common school education, began the study of medicine in Delaware County when twenty seven years old, and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York city in the class of 1851. He began the practice of medicine in partnership with his preceptor, Dr. Allaben, at Margaretville, N. Y., and was thus engaged for five years, when he leased a tannery in Sullivan County and dropped the practice of his profession. In 1860, with his brother David, he built the Wellsburg tannery ; they continued as partners until 1863, when the firm was dissolved and Mr. Decker removed to Elmira. In 1867 he again engaged in the tanning business, this time with his present partner, Edward H. Palmer. He was president of the bridge commission which built the iron bridges at Main and Lake streets, and was appointed a commissioner of the State Reformatory by Governor Dix to investigate the original commission on building that institution. He also served as supervisor for two terms, representing the First ward of Elmira, and was one of the sewer commissioners of the city. In politics he is a Democrat. Mr. Decker married, in Ulster County in 1853, Miss Euphemia B. Simpson, by whom he has one son, Casper G., born in Sullivan County in 1860. He engaged in tanning with his father and is now superintendent of the plant. He is a school commissioner and one of the managers of the Arnot Ogden Memorial Hospital. The tanning business of Palmer & Decker was founded by Edward H. Palmer and Stephen McDonald in 1848, who began the work in a small way, grinding bark by horse power and tanning probably 4,000 sides of rough leather per year. In 1850 the tannery burned, but was rebuilt in larger form and operated by steam. Mr. McDonald retired in 1867 and Mr. Decker soon came in as a partner. The new hrm began the tanning of Union sole leather, their present product. The business was increased at times until it reached its present amount of 30,000 sides annually. They employ from sixteen to twenty five men. The tannery is located at the south end of the Lake street bridge and is known to the trade as the Elmira tannery."

From:
Our County and its people
A History of the Valley and County of Chemung
BY: Ausburn Towner
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1892


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