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 history of
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.
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.