J. C. BACKUS, "Father of Electricity", DIES
In Smethport, Succumbs In Buffalo
Sanitarium, Sunday Afternoon
photo credit: Mary Pierotti Family Collection
He was a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, the I. O. O. F. Lodge of Smethport, the Elks of Bradford, the Masonic Blue Lodge of Olean, the Consistory of Coudersport, Zem Zem Temple of Erie, Phoenix Chapter O. E. S., Tall Cedars of Lebanon, the Smethport Hose Company and the Conopus Club. He was a former past master of the Masonic Lodge of Smethport.
He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Lucy Backus, one son, Edward and a baby grandson, two sisters, Mrs. W. T. Seger and Mrs. Nellie Cutler of New York City and one brother, Merle Backus of Smethport.
Funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon at 2:00
o'clock at the family residence on West Main Street, Rev. W. E. Van Dyke officiating;
interment was in Rose Hill Cemetery.
The many friends of J. Clayton Backus of West Main Street, were shocked and grieved to learn of his death which occurred Sunday afternoon, March 15th at 2:30 o'clock at a Buffolo sanitarium, where he had been taken last Tuesday for treatment by Dr. Eckles.
Mr. Backus had been in poor health for over a year and had been tenderly cared for by his wife who was with him constantly. Fearing his condition was serious, he desired to be near his physician, Dr. Eckels and was taken to the Buffolo sanitarium last week by W. H. Gallup and Fred Biever. Here his strength gradually failed and pneumonia developed Sunday. Fearing the worst, his wife and son Edward were notified and drove at once to Buffalo arriving there at 11:00 o'clock, and were with him when he passed away.
John Clayton Backus was born March 14, 1866 in Smethport, the son of Major John Couch Backus, a prominent lawyer of that period, and Mary Almyra Backus. He was from a family of ten children, eight of whom reached maturity. He was married December 11, 1899 to Lucy Blake of Eldred and had resided here all his life, where he was the owner of the Backus Novelty Works, and was prominent in all civic affairs. His untiring and finally successful efforts in leading the campaign to secure electricity for Smethport, are important annals in the historyof the town. He has been termed the "Father of Electricity" in Smethport, a name justly deserved. He was an inventor of note; the Backus Pin Setter, the Backus Checkhook, and the Backus Home Golf Trainer,and many other inventions are all products of his clever mind and hands. Genial, kind-hearted, generous to a fault, all those who knew and remember "Clayte" will be saddened by his passing. In his home life he was a devoted husband and father, and will be greatly missed.
Smethport residents were shocked Sunday by the news
of the death of J. C. Backus, prominent Smethport civic leader,
manufacturer, and inventor, which occurred in Buffalo Sunday afternoon
at 2:30 o’clock.
The will provides for the continued operation of the Backus Novelty factory, one of Smethport’s best industries, which was organized and successfully conducted by Mr. Backus for many years.
The plant manufactures the famous Backus check locks for garments and umbrellas, the Backus home golf training machines and other ingenius articles invented by the deceased prominent citizen.
Mr. Biever will direct the conduct of the big industry.
The entire estate is left to Mr. Backus’ wife, Mrs. Lucy Backus, and son, Edward Backus.