Friday, October 16, 2015

Family History Friday - Mary Jane Hamilton Backus

When compiling information about a person from the past, you sometimes get overwhelmed with all the dates that may or may not be important to telling their story.  I am consistently finding dates that fit into the biographies of the people associated with Backus-Page House Museum and surrounding area.  I've found it helpful to open up a Word document and start a timeline for each of them.

When you do this you realize some odd circumstances.  For Mary Jane and Andrew in February 1844 they lose two young children and Andrew's brother within a 10 day time period.  This makes me wonder if there was an illness, such as cholera, in the area and I've added that to my research list of things to find out.  Normally a biography ends with the person's death, but I've added the death of Mary Jane's brother because it is one day after her's.  Could be a coincidence, but that is another item on my list to research to look for both causes of death.

I thought I'd share with you the current timeline for Mary Jane (Hamilton) Backus and next week I'll post the same for husband, Andrew Backus.  If you have information that can be added please post a comment or send me an email at
Happy History!
Angela Bobier
Cultural Manager

Biography to date of Mary Jane (Hamilton) Backus

1816    The Year Without Summer (weather anomaly due to volcano eruption)
1816    November 30 Born in Ireland
1816-1820 Alexander, Elizabeth & family Hamilton come to Canada
1822    The first school was held in the home of John Pearce in 1822 – The first teacher was Thomas Gardener.
1824    John Miles Farlane kept school in a house on Lot 11 Concession 11, this was located on one side of the settlement and the people felt that the school should be more centralized and so erected a school on the corner of the Backus land.
1833  The school on the Backus land fell into decay and seeing the need for a new school, the settlers got together in 1833, organized a bee and a log schoolhouse was erected on land donated by James Conn. The schoolhouse was completed in 1835. The older children and youths went to St. Thomas to further their education.
1839  May 2  Married Mary Jane Hamilton in Dunwich Twp Andrew aged 27 Mary Jane 23
1839    Stephen Backus, Andrew’s father, gave him 125 acres of land
1840 November 5 Daughter Eliza Ann Backus                      
1842 February 2 Son Walter Backus Born
1842  March 20  Walter BACKUS, born Feb. 2, 1842, bap Mar. 20, 1842, son of Andrew & Mary, sponsors Joseph BACKUS, Sally BACKUS & Stephen BACKUS  Baptisms by Rectors of the Anglican Church in St. Thomas
1842    Andrew’s Grandmother Mary Storey died
1843    March 4 Daughter Mary Jane Born
1843    April 9  Mary Jane BACKUS, born Mar. 4, 1843, bap Apr. 9, 1843, dau of Andrew & Mary Jane; sponsors William PEARCE, Olivia BACKUS & Mary MOREHOUSE  Baptisms by Rectors of the Anglican Church in St. Thomas
1844    February 15 Brother-in-law Henry Storey Backus Died
1844    February 23 and 25  Eliza Ann and Walter Died
1844    December Son Stephen Alexander Backus Born
1846    Son William Henry Backus Born
1848    Son Andrew Storey Backus Born
1850    June Daughter Sarah Ann Backus Born
1850    Andrew employs Robert Morris to help him built the house
1851    June 13 Family eat their first meal in house.
1852    August late Son Robert John Backus Born
1852    September 10 Robert John Backus Died
1852    December 19 Mary Jane’s sister-in-law Harietta died (possibly in childbirth as baby lived 12 days????)
1853    The Tyrconnell Wharf and Harbour Company began. Andrew and his family did not invest
1854    Daughter Katherine Elizabeth Born
1857    April  Anne Storey, Andrew’s mother Died
1858    Amelia Olivia Victoria Born
1859    Infant daughter born
1859    Infant daughter died
1860    Sister-in-law Olivia Backus Died
1860    Brother-in-law Walter Backus Died
1861    April  Andrew bought shares in the Dunwich Pier Company for $20 a share
1862    April 5  Elizabeth Hamilton, Mary Jane’s mother, died
1862    Son Arthur Edmond Backus Born
1862    Arthur Edmond Backus Died at 10 days old
1863    August 17 Alexander Hamilton, Mary Jane’s father, died at Tyrconnell
1864    Sister-in-law Hannah Backus Died
1865    November  Stephen Backus, Andrew’s father, died
1871    Sarah Ann Backus married Thomas Leslie Pearce
1874    Mary Jane Backus married John R. Gow
1877    March 1  William Henry Backus married Euphemia Buchanan at St. Thomas
1878    Stephen Alexander Backus married Francis Morrish
1879    Amelia Olivia Victoria Backus married Thomas C. Humphries
1880    Andrew Storey Backus, a local farmer, married Eliza Ann Potticary
1884    Sister-in-law Sarah Anne Died
1885  March 22 Andrew Backus died and left the farm to his son, Andrew Storey Backus.
1887    Sister-in-law Mary Died
1891    Son Stephen Alexander Died
1892    September 18 Mary Jane (Hamilton) Backus  Dies
1892    September 19  brother Archibald Hamilton Dies

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