Question: Was Isaac Perry Decker one of the two boys in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?
Answer: Isaac Perry Decker was born on August 7, 1840, in Winchester, Scott, Illinois, to Perry Decker and Harriet Page Wheeler. When Perry was a baby, his mother separated from Perry Decker and married Lorenzo Dow Young. Perry was a small child during the time of the persecution of the Saints in Nauvoo, the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum, and the exodus in winter across the Mississippi River to Winter Quarters.
Perry was just six years old when he traveled with his mother, Harriet, and his step-father, Lorenzo Dow Young, in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. He was one of the two children in the original party. Lorenzo Sobieski Young, Lorenzo Dow Young’s son by his first wife, was the other boy, also age 6, in the Company. Perry’s sister, Clarissa had married Brigham Young in May 1844, and she was one of the three women who went on the trek with them.
Although very young, Perry had a vivid recollection of that trek and the early pioneer days in the Salt Lake Valley. He often related experiences of the journey across the plains and the trials of pioneer life. His step-father built the first house outside of the old fort in Pioneer Square in Salt Lake.
Perry married Elizabeth Garrtt Ogden on January 3, 1860, and they would have eleven children together. Four of their children died at birth or as babies. Elizabeth was born in England in 1842, and her parents had joined the Church and immigrated to Utah. Perry and Elizabeth lived in Salt Lake until about 1868, and then moved to Kaysville, Utah.
One incident that occurred while they were living in Kaysville was recorded as follows:
“…Perry was in Kaysville near the home of his sister-in-law, Ester Emily, when he heard a woman scream. Not one to pass up a call for help he walked in and saw his sister-in-law poke her head out of a wardrobe. Her husband was beating his stepdaughter, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, Clara Latham. Perry and William Bosworth then got into a fight and Perry got the best of him, knocking him to the floor. He picked up the child, telling Bosworth that he and his wife were free to visit but if he ever tried to claim the child he—Perry—would beat him to death. He then rode horseback with the child 25 miles to Salt Lake City to his own home. He presented the child to his wife telling her, ‘Here is a child for you.’ Clara took the Decker name and apparently lived with the Deckers for some time and was deeply loved as one of the family. She eventually married Thomas E. Browning, the Chief of Police of Ogden.’
…This “kidnapping’ must have been a rather violent affair and one where Perry asserted himself with enough intimidation that the child was never claimed by the mother or step-father. I’m sure Perry was not a man to take lightly.
They moved to Tooele for a few years, and then by 1877, they had moved back to Salt Lake. For their last move, they moved to Provo, Utah, where Perry ran a ranch and provided for his large family. Perry lived in Provo for many years, where he was a highly respected and honored citizen. Isaac Perry Decker died on January 24, 1916, at Provo, Utah, Utah, and is buried in the Provo City Cemetery.