- Elizabeth E. Dunn
Backus, Isaac (09 January 1724–20 November 1806), Baptist clergyman, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Backus and Elizabeth Tracy, prosperous farmers. Unlike some members of his extended family, he never attended college and received only seven years of elementary instruction. His father died of measles when Isaac was sixteen years old, leaving a talented youth to begin life as a yeoman farmer. Raised in a household with ten siblings, Backus credited his mother with providing a strong religious influence. He also inherited a tradition of religious dissent from his grandfather Joseph Backus, who was expelled from the Connecticut legislature for opposing the Saybrook Platform, which reorganized Connecticut’s churches along Presbyterian lines, and from his mother, who separated from the Backus’s home congregation over the same issue. During the Great Awakening, Backus followed his mother’s lead, experienced a conversion in 1741, and became a church member the following year. Though he did not hear evangelist ...