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Posted By: Jean Kramer (email)
Date: 5/26/2004 at 15:10:48

Biography reproduced from page 691 of Volume II of the History of Kossuth County written by Benjamin F. Reed and published in 1913:

Sidney J. Backus is well known in journalistic circles of Algona, where since 1912 he has been a partner in the firm of Haggard & Backus, publishers of the Upper Des Moines Republican. Previous to that time he had been a force in local educational circles, having been identified with teaching in various parts of Iowa and having become especially well known through his able work during his six years of service as county superintendent of schools of Kossuth county. He was born in Clayton, Iowa, August 15, 1869, a son of John and Sarah (Wattles) Backus.

Sidney J. Backus acquired an excellent education, pursuing the usual course in the Clayton public schools and later attending high school. He supplemented this by study in Tobin College and in Drake University and immediately after laying aside his books began his career as a teacher. He was connected with the public schools of Clayton, Duncombe, Jesup, Lehigh and Bancroft and was instructor for several years in Palo Alto, Woodbury, Chickasaw and Bremer teacherís institutes, becoming well known throughout Hamilton and Webster county. He gradually became prominent in public educational circles, his excellent work drawing him into important relations with school affairs, and in 1907 he was elected county superintendent of schools of Kossuth county and was twice reelected, his return to office proving the value and efficacy of his service. Along the line of his profession Mr. Backus was a member of the Iowa State Teachersí Reading Circle Board, and he is also connected in an important way with journalism in the state, having purchased in 1912 a half interest in the Upper Des Moines Republican, one of the powerful journals in Kossuth county.

On the 22d of August, 1900, Mr. Backus was united in marriage at Duncombe, Iowa, to Miss Laura E. Eaton, a daughter of S. B. and S. J. Eaton, the former a soldier in Company E, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, during the Civil war. He served for two years and received his honorable discharge on account of injuries sustained in battle. Mr. and Mrs. Backus have two children: Howard, aged nine; and Rose Elizabeth, aged five. The family are associated with the Methodist Episcopal church.

In fraternal circles, too, Mr. Backus is well known and popular, his connections along this line being representative and important. He was initiated into the Masonic lodge in 1891 and belongs now to the consistory and the Lodge of Perfection. He dates his connection with the Order of the Eastern Star from 1903. He has belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America, in which he has been venerable consul and clerk as well as deputy head consul, since 1893 and since 1905 has been a member of the Royal Neighbors of America, and a member of the Brotherhood American Yeomen since 1903. He joined the Mystic Workers in 1911 and the Improved Order of Red Men in 1906. In politics Mr. Backus is a progressive republican and interested and active in local public affairs, although he never seeks office as a reward for party fealty. He is a man of varied and forceful interests and therefore of wide acquaintance, of commanding ability and great intellectual and executive power, and he has become in the course of years a dominating factor in the promotion of public educational interests throughout the county.


Kossuth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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