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Isaac had two distinct families: the first, monogamously, in the East, with our great-great-great-grandmother Harriet Page Wheeler, and the second, with five plural wives after he came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850.

After the “separation” between Isaac and Harriet, all six children of their family together became major characters in the settlement of the Mountain West. The youngest, six-year-old Isaac Perry Decker, was the older of two children in the famous “This Is The Place” pioneer company of 1847. The other five, along with Harriet herself, married into Brigham Young’s family, allying the Decker family with:

  1. Brigham Young himself (Lucy and Clara Decker)

  2. Brigham’s second daughter Vilate (“Uncle Charlie” Decker1)

  3. Brigham’s nephew and Salt Lake City’s second mayor, Feramorz Little (Fannie Maria Decker)

  4. Primary Martin/Willie handcart rescue hero Ephraim K. Hanks (Harriet Amelia Decker). By that time, she was the widow of another nephew of Brigham’s, Feramorz’ older brother Edwin Sobieski Little, who died during the exodus from Nauvoo and is buried at Richardson’s Point).
In the Valley (actually, he wound up ranching in the Heber area, in the mountains east of Provo in Utah Valley) Isaac embraced plural marriage and five wives, who gave him a dozen more children, of whom at least nine lived to see the twentieth century.

Correspondence reveals that Isaac maintained loving relationships with the children of his first family to the end of his life. I’ve seen no evidence of communication between Isaac and Harriet after their separation.
1In 2012, my cousins Landes and Donald Shepard published, privately, Charlie’s definitive biography, entitled: Fast Rider on a Wild Wind: the Life and Times of Charles F. Decker. If you’d like a copy, send e-mail to

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