Biographical Sketch of Ulilla May Lockwood Decker

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Ulilla May Lockwood Decker, 1856-1928

By Monnette Bonneannee, SUNY Old Westbury. Faculty Sponsor: Carol Quirke

Chairman of Organization for the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association, 1910-1913.

Ulilla May Lockwood Decker was born on June 6, 1856 to Susanna Fisher Lockwood, (January 27, 1821-January 27, 1914), and Richard Canton Lockwood of Wellsburg, New York. She had one brother, Edmund Patton Lockwood. She was the wife of Maurice S. Decker; they married in 1877. Maurice Decker was born in February 6, 1849 to Cordelia Shults and David Decker; he was a descendent of the Sons of the American Revolution. The couple was elite, as Decker was a banker, and they supported a live-in servant according to the 1900 U.S. Census. Ulilla and Maurice Decker had three children: Maurice, Richard Canton, and Casper. Decker lost her husband on January 4, 1906, and died herself on March 11, 1928 in Broomfield, New Jersey. She had been living with her son, Richard, in New Rochelle, New York, before her death. She was buried next to her husband in Ashland Cemetery, Chemung County, New York.

According to The Municipalities of Essex County, New Jersey, Decker helped found the Orange Political Club, one of the early forays in establishing a suffrage association in that state (494). She was made chairman of organization at the New Jersey Woman Suffrage Association's board meeting in January 1910, according to the History of Woman Suffrage (416); the Bridgewater Courier News lists her as a vice president. In 1911 she announced the opening of a state headquarters for the organization in Newark (419). The History also claimed Decker was paid as an organizer in 1913 (421). Decker was also the vice-president and legislative chairman of the New Jersey State League of Women's Rights.

According to her obituary, Decker became active in Republican politics after the vote was won. She was a former vice-chairman of the West Orange Republican Executive Committee as well as being an incorporator and former vice-president of the Essex County Women's Republican Club. She served for three years as vice president and chair of legislation for the New Jersey's League of Women Voters. In 1931 she was one of twelve New Jersey women named to an honor role for the National League, joining the more famous Antoinette Brown Blackwell, women's rights advocate, abolitionist, and the nation's first protestant minister, according to the Bridgewater Courier News. She was also president of the Women's Alliance of the First Unitarian Church, Orange. In 1924, four years before her death, she was made an honorary member of the Women's Club of Orange.

Sources:

Benedict Fitzpatrick, Joseph Fulford Folsom and Edwin Conlin, The Municipalities of Essex County, New Jersey, 1666-1924, Volume 2, (Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1925).

“Busy Morning for Suffragist,” Bridgewater Courier News, November 02, 1910, p.3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/220896181/?terms=mary%2Bb%2Bkinsley

Genealogy of Maurice Decker, https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/maurice-decker_165276453

Harper, Ida Husted, ed., The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. 6. 1900-1920, (NY: J.J Little Ft. Ives Company), pp. 416, 421. [LINK]

“Ulilla Decker Obituary,” Star-Gazette, (Elmira, NY), March 22, 1928, pg. 17.

“Susanna Lockwood Obituary,” Star-Gazette, January 27, 1914, pg. 10.

“Plaque to List Names of Noted New Jersey Women,” Bridgewater Courier News, (Bridgewater, NJ), March 25, 1931, pg. 7.

Joyce Tice, Tri-Count Tri-Counties Genealogy & History, Ashland Cemetery, Town of Ashland, Chemung County, NY, available at http://www.joycetice.com/cemc/ashland5.htm

U.S. Bureau of the Census. Twelfth census of the United States, 1900-Population. Ancestry.com

U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com, 2011.

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