DECKER SETTLEMENT The remnants of a millpond dam and the pioneer graves in nearby Bigler Cemetery are the only evidence of the settlement that once occupied this site. Samuel Munson built a sawmill and a log cabin here in the spring of 1825. Jesse Decker, who gave his name to the settlement, arrived later that year with more settlers and established the first Euro-American community in Orion Township. By 1837, Decker had grown into a bustling commercial center with a sawmill, a tavern, post office, general store, blacksmith shop, school and cemetery. When the post office moved to Lake Orion in 1837 and the railroad later passed the community by, Decker began to die out. The state park opened in 1946 and park management lived in the last surviving building until it was demolished in 1982.
JESSE DECKER Jesse Decker came to Michigan from upstate New York with his wife, Mary, in 1825. They homesteaded in the place that soon became known as the Decker Settlement. In 1830, Jesse Decker raised the first frame barn in the area with the help of local Indians. Five years later, a group of settlers gathered in his home and formed a township. At Decker’s suggestion they named it Orion, and elected him the township’s first supervisor. Decker served in that capacity almost continuously until 1854. Politically active throughout his life, Decker was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1837, and also served as postmaster and justice of the peace. By 1840 he operated one of the first taverns in Orion Township and owned 440 acres of land.