Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NJ Backus Probate Document Mentioned In Macon Co., IL, Deeds

I was searching through the deed books in Macon County, Illinois (actually the "S" surname Index Grantee and Grantor for the years 1894-1910) for the surname "Swinney." Eva (Rice) Swinney was a great-great aunt and I was in the area, so why not?

Always interested in "strays," I found the Surrogate Court of Essex County, New Jersey indexed under "S" as the Grantor. The Grantee was Charles W. Backus -- Backus is one of the surnames I research. Double bonus -- a stray and one of my surnames.

Macon Co., IL
Register of Deeds
Book "252", Page 182

Certificate of Letters of Administration
New Jersey, Essex County Surrogate's Office
I, John B. Dusenberry.....on 20 July 1893....administrator of all goods....which were of Eleanor R. Backus of the County of Essex...died me to Charles W. Backus of the County of Essex...who is duly authorised to administer same... .

Letters of Administration issued to Charles W. Backus in the estate of Eleanor R. Backus... .

I have tentatively identified the Charles W. Backus named in the Surrogate Court of Essex, NJ, document as the son of Dewitt C. & Ann (Rousse) Backus:

1860 Census NY Brooklyn
Backhouse, Dewit, 32, lawyer
", Anna, 30
", Charles, 10/12
Rouse, Peter, 28
McClusky, Ann, servant
Corbett, Agnes, 15, "
Robinson, Mary, 28, servant

The wedding announcement of Dewitt & Ann was found in the NY Times (7 July 1858), excerpted as follows:

Backus-Rousse - In this City on Thursday, July 1, ...Dewitt C. Backus, Esq., of Buffalo, New York, to Anne Mary, daughter of Reverend Peter Rousse of Brooklyn.

A daughter, Ella R. (Eleanor R.?) was part of the family in 1870. Note that the family was living in New Jersey at the time.

1870 Census - New Jersey
Backus, Dewitt, 43, lawyer, b. NY
" Annie M., 44, b. NY
", Charles W., 10, NY
", Ella R., 7, NY
", Henry S., 8/12, NY
Rouse, Peter W., 38, Editor, b. NY
Keegan, Ann, 50, Domestic, b. Ireland

The family was still in New Jersey (and Essex County) in 1880:

1880 Census NJ Essex, East Orange
de Witt C. BACKUS Self M W 54 NY Lawyer NY NY
Anna M. BACKUS Wife M W 55 NY Keeping House NY NJ
Charles W. BACKUS Son S W 20 NY Clerk NY NY
Ella R. BACKUS Dau S W 17 NY NY NY
Henry S. BACKUS Son S W 10 NY At School NY NY
Peter W. ROUSSE BroL S W 47 NJ Editor NY NJ

Dewitt Backus died at some date between when the 1880 census was taken and the 2 May 1887, death of his brother-in-law, per Peter Rousse's obituary:

New York Times- Published 3 May 1887
Rousse - At East Orange, New Jersey, Monday, May 2, Peter Warren Rousse, in the 55th year of his age...Funeral at the residence of the late D. C. Backus, 95 Sussex-av, Wednesday, May 4th.

Charles Warren Backus was living in Clinton Co., New York, in the 1900 census per this site.

I still don't know which Backus was Dewitt C. Backus's father, nor do I know to which Backus branch of the family this group belongs. In general, there is an early New England group descending from William Backus (my lineage) and another group that originated in Germany. (That's a broad generalization stemming from my memory of years of Backus research -- not from any hard facts).

Research Alert:
In addition finding this "bonus" information, it served as a reminder to look in the deed indexes for items other than the obvious. In this case "Surrogate Court" in the "S" index. Other possibilities may be "H" for Heirs; "U" for United States; "A" for Administrator; "S" for Sheriff.

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