The Backus Iron Works, with its lurid fires was quite an institution in its day, and quite an important factor in the growth and development of the country and its times. The iron works made bar iron, tires for wheels, plow irons, spindles and cranks for mills, sawmill saws; all kind of farming tools, such as hoes, axes, scythes; nautical needs such as spindles for buoys, anchors - about everything that was made of iron - and largely supplied the wants of that day. Nails were quite important at that time, all were hammered out by hand for all the purposes of domestic use, no nails being cut at that time.
Its customers were heard from in quite distant parts of the country, even from the new "Northwest Territory". The iron work for the first saw and grist mill erected in the Northwest Territory was made at these works, and transported by land and water, to and over the Allegheny mountains on pack horses, to the then far-distant land of hope - Marietta, Ohio, in 1789.
The iron was made at the melting fire, which was kept in blast by two huge bellows run by water power, and required a strong draft of air. The old structure was a large building having three tall chimneys, the roof partly covered with sheet iron as a protection from fire, nd covering three forges, two water wheels, stamper run by water for pounding iron ore, the big shaft and the big hammer. To conduct the process of melting and hammering out into all required shapes required a skilled and strong man.
The Backus Iron Works was important for the only source for these products from within miles around. At Backus Iron Works, they hammered out tools for the farmers and the artisan - directly and indirectly helping materially to hammer out American Independence.
Elijah Backus was the owner and manager of the Iron Works at one point in time, himself a skilled mechanic. The remains of part of his papers show a wondrous amount of writing, and all in his own hand. He was one of King George's justices of the peace, and was, after the Revolution, one of the justices of the peace for his native state of Connecticut. He was a captain in the Norwich militia, going to New London to defend the soil in consequence of alarms of invasion many times. A leading member of the Committee of Safety, member of the Legislature, he was a valuable man of all affairs in all departments of civil life. He administered the rite of marriage in many cases, as his book of records now extant, shows. He was a very busy man, and prosperous.
Elijah was William > William > Joseph > Samuel > Elijah. He lived from 1726-1798. His brother was Isaac Backus, an influential preacher during the Great Awakening period in the 1730's and 1740's.
| Top of Page | Home
| Heritage | Fam
Histories - Mom's | Surnames | Other
Stuff | What's New | E
Copyright 1998 Norris Taylor