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Our own Grandma Harriet is harder to locate, in this year of her marriage. We don’t find an 1820 Census entry for an Isaac Decker in Farmington, nor in Phelps, where they would record their first three children over the next decade. But in the index to the enumeration for Lyons, Ontario County, we find a puzzling entry for Isaac “Dicker” who just could be our Isaac.1
He’s the only Decker or Dicker in Lyons, that year, but thirteen Decker families lived in Ontario County,2 including Household #770 in Phelps, headed by Peter Decker, listing family members who could be Isaac and Harriet as well as Isaac’s parents Peter and Hannah. Back in Isaac’s home town of Taghkanic, Columbia, New York, nineteen Decker families include another Peter Decker household; this one could also be his parents, but it doesn’t seem to include any newlyweds.

We gather that the family — both Wheeler and Decker households, indeed — moved to Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York, between Harriet Amelia Decker’s birth in 1826 in Phelps, and Vilate Clarissa Decker’s in 1828 in Freedom.

1Indexed erroneously as Isaac “Dicker”; the entry is clearly “Decker.” Lyons is the next town north and a little east of Phelps, centered about eleven miles away. The family-member entries don’t fit, though: Isaac and Harriet were 21 and 17, respectively, not 45 and older, as their column assignments would indicate. And there’s also a teenage (10-15) girl about whom I know nothing — unless they had Harriet’s sister Clarissa Caroline living with them? She does seem to be living with the Wheelers in Farmington… If the census taker got the right columns, this isn’t our folks. It may be worth noting that the column headings aren’t printed on the form he filled out, and that on the very next page he skipped one whole column in the middle… Pre-1850 censuses do present puzzles.
2Nearly all newcomers, like the Wheelers: only Fred Decker of Farmington had been listed in the same community ten years earlier.

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