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John H Backes

Birthplace: Trenton, Mercer Co., NJ
Death: June 15, 1935 (71)
Trenton, Mercer County, NJ, United States
Immediate Family:

Husband of Elizabeth Cherry Backes
Father of Florence J. Bigalke; Eleanor H. Wright and Elizabeth S. Prior

Managed by: Terrill Grant Hayes
Last Updated:

About John H Backes

Trenton Evening Times Trenton, Burlington County, New Jersey Saturday, June 15, 1935 Pages 1 - 2, columns 7 and 3

Vice Chancellor Dies

Illness Fatal to Jurist, 71

Trentonian Had Brilliant Career As Lawyer And Judge

Vice Chancellor John H. Backes died at 11:08 this morning at his home, 186 West State Street, closing career of one of New Jersey's most distinguished jurists. He was 71 years old and had been ill four months.

Born in this city August 18, 1863, Vice Chancellor Backes began his legal career at the at age of 21. He was admitted to the bar as an attorney in November, 1884, and became a counselor in February, 1888. The late Chancellor Edwin Robert Walker appointed him a vice chancellor February 21, 1913 for his first term of seven years. He was reappointed in 1920, in 1927, and for a fourth time last year.

For many years Vice Chancellor Backes sat in Newark, but in 1933 he was transferred to Trenton by Chancellor Luther A. Campbell. The Vice Chancellor handled an amazing number of important litigations during his long career on the chancery bench, and was regarded as a jurist of remarkable ability. He was called upon to dispose of every kind of litigation from the humblest matrimonial dispute to matters involving millions of dollars and the management of some of the largest corporations in the country.

Opinions Distinguished

His opinions were distinguished by sound legal thought and straight thinking. Rarely was he reversed on appeal. He proceeded unerringly to the essential points in issues coming before him and often amazed lawyers by his grasp of a problem after their opening presentation.

Both plaintiff and defendant were assured of thorough consideration of their claims in any case upon which the Vice passed. He was impatient of dilatory tactics by counsel and never allowed proceedings in his court to lag. His admonitions on this point were classic in the choice of words which made clear to counsel what was expected and wanted.

Among his gifts was a keen sense of humor and his wit gave relief to many a drab incident. He never hesitated to speak his mind and what he said was of direct bearing o the subject under discussion.

In politics, the Vice Chancellor was a Democrat.

Surviving are his wife, Elizabeth Hattersley Backes; three daughters, Mrs. Thomas Prior, of this city; Mrs. Joseph C. Bigalke, of South Orange, and Mrs. Ernest B. Wright of Upper Montclair; three lawyer brothers, all living in this city, Theodore Backes, assistant attorney general; William J., a master in chancery, and Peter Backes, and seven grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be celebrated in St. Mary's Cathedral at a time to be announced. Ivins & Taylor, Inc. is in charge.

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John H Backes's Timeline

August 18, 1863
Trenton, Mercer Co., NJ
September 2, 1891
Trenton, Butler, OH, United States
May 1894
Trenton, Mercer County, NJ, United States
Age 36
Trenton Ward 2, Mercer, New Jersey
June 28, 1901
Trenton, Mercer County, NJ, United States
June 15, 1935
Age 71
Trenton, Mercer County, NJ, United States