Monday, June 15, 2015

Memory Mondays: Private Stephen Backus

Private Stephen Backus
By Sandra Sales

Stephen Backus was born in New York State on Dec. 25, 1786.
He probably moved to Pennsylvania with his family about 1800, and then moved to the Talbot Settlement on the north shore of Lake Erie in 1810 to join his sister Lydia (Backus) Patterson. There he married Anne Storey who had come to the Talbot Settlement the previous year. He died November 4, 1865 at 78 years of age.

During the War of 1812 he served under Captain Leslie Patterson, his brother-in-law, in 1812, 1813, and 1814. He received Land Claim Certificate, Unit – Flank Company 1st Regiment Middlesex Militia, Vol 18 File 6, pages 455-456
It is documented that Stephen saw action as a member of the militia when it was called out to repel a raid on the 20th of May, 1814.  Because the Talbot Settlement was raided 6 times between November 1813 and November 1814, Stephen was probably called out often.
As well, it is documented that Stephen, his wife and two children were victims of the Indians and American Raid, led by Captain Walker, on Port Talbot on August 16th, 1814. They were living on lot 13, concession 10 Dunwich Township. They put in a claim for their losses: bed clothing, sheets, shirts, aprons, gowns, women’s clothing, men’s clothing, window glass, and a silver watch.
In 1817, the Backus family was able to purchase their farm for 75 pounds. Their log cabin was enlarged in 1825 and in 1848 Stephen employed Robert Morris to build an addition. This home still stands and is part of the Backus-Page Museum. The frame contains chestnut boards two and one-half feet wide. The basement, which was dug out later, has logs which run the entire length of the house. Stephen and Anne raised a family of eleven children here. (Information from the Backus-Page House files)

Little else is known about Stephen Backus, but information about the family and the settlement in Dunwich Township can be read in the bios on Colonel Leslie Patterson, Veteran number 369, and Thomas Talbot, Veteran number 345.

Thank you to Sandra Sales for her research and work in honouring our War of 1812 veterans.  

Through the War of 1812 Graveside Project, Private Stephen Backus and others will be remembered with a ceremony in St. Peter's Anglican Church Cemetery on Sunday, July 12 at 1pm during Backus-Page House Museum's Living History Weekend July 11-12, 2015

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