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WESTBROOK S. DECKER.
Westbrook Schoonmaker Decker was born in Tyre, N. Y., April 22, 1839. He belonged to an old Holland-Dutch family, his ancestors being among the first settlers of Manhattan. His father was a farmer, and upon the farm the boy lived and worked until he was sixteen years of age. Then for two years he studied at the Brockport Collegiate Institute, where he spent his time so well that at the age of eighteen he was able to begin teaching at Charleston, Illinois.
When the war broke out young Decker was in the midst of an academic collegiate course; in 1861 he laid his books aside, went east to his old home, and the following year enlisted in the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Regiment of New York Volunteers. He served until Gettysburg, where he was wounded so severely that he was obliged to remain four months in the hospital. On returning to duty he was appointed lieutenant in the Nineteenth U. S. Regiment. In June, 1865, he was ordered to Brownsville, Texas, where he acted as assistant provost marshal.
In October, Mr. Decker resigned from the army he had served so well, and began the study of law at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1867. The same year he mar ried Miss Catherine Warden; from that union two children survive-Mason L. Decker of Denver, and Mrs. George W. Sargent of Pueblo.
Mr. Decker first hung out his shingle in Kankakee, Ill., where his ability was so quickly recognized that the following year he was elected City Attorney, and the year after County Judge. In 1874 poor health and Colorado's climate brought Judge Decker to Denver, where he entered into partnership with the late
Judge Symes. In 1877 he was appointed by General Grant, United States District Attorney. He resigned in 1880, and in 1882 formed the firm of Decker & Yonley. In 1887 he was elected to the district Bench, and was re-elected in 1888, but resigned in 1891 and formed a partnership with Hon. T. J. O'Donnell. A year ago ill health compelled Judge Decker to withdraw from practice.
Mr. Decker was a charter member of the Colorado Bar Association and for two years was chairman of its Committee on Admissions and a member of its Executive Committee.
Mr. Decker's first wife died in 1897. In 1899 he was married to Mrs. Sarah Platt.
Judge Decker's character clearly reflected his birth and training. His mind was clean, clear cut and vigorous; he was as gentle as he was brave and firm, and through all of his life he loved and fought for and stood for justice.