CHARLES F. DECKER
From 'Echoing Footsteps', published 1967, Powder River County Extension Homemakers Council
Charles Decker was born in Ohio in 1857. When he was eight years old, his parents moved to Iowa where they farmed. When Charley was 20 years old he went west into the Black Hills country where he was interested in mining around Deadwood. He worked as a cowboy for a couple of years in South Dakota and Wyoming with the 3-V outfit. Later he came into Montana with a herd of cattle that belonged to C. B. Straus. Charley shot buffalo for their hides in the Box Elder country in Montana, selling the hides for $2.75 each. By doing this, he and a partner tided over a hard winter at a time when there was little or no work to be found in that locality. Until 1897 he rode the range for other ranchers, but that year he invested his savings in a small bunch of Texas-cattle, and built up his ranch from that start. When he first came to Montana it was still just a territory. He homesteaded some five miles south of Stacey. He built a log house, with a dirt floor and roof, but it was comfortable in summer as well as winter. He added on to it later and made other improvements, but his first old home was near and dear to his heart. When the legislature created Powder River County from Custer County he was named in the bill as one of the commissioners, along with Henry Peays and J. H. Morris. At their first meeting, the commissioners located the county seat at Broadus, and elected a chairman of the board. At the second meeting they appointed justices of the peace, road supervisors, and a public administrator, and a few bills were allowed. On December 19, 1899, Charles Decker was married at Ashland, Montana to Miss Mary Hamilton. She had been born in Iowa in 1858, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Hamilton. Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Decker reared Esther Bidwell, who later married Ben Toennis and lived on a ranch a few miles to the north. In 1918 he rented his ranch to Bob Chesworth for a term of 5 years. Upon the termination of this lease Mr. Decker ran it himself for 3 years, but it was too big a job for him as he was getting along in age. In the fall of 1926 he rented it to Floyd Larson who had it for 8 years. Then in the fall of 1935 Art Kolka rented it and continued to live on it until he bought it in 1945. When Mr. Decker rented the ranch in 1926 he retired to Miles City where he lived until his death in 1946. Mrs. Decker died the year before in 1945.