John Back

John Back

Birth
Madison County, Virginia, USA
Death 13 Feb 1853 (aged 78)
Breathitt County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Noctor, Breathitt County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 168583645 View Source
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**Most people claim that he died in 1853, but new information shows that he died in 1854 (see the attached document).

PLEASE DO NOT MERGE THIS MEMORIAL WITH JOHN BACH SR., OR WITH ANY OTHER MEMORIAL. IT IS NOT A DUPLICATE. His last name was not "Bach." Nearly 100 years after he died, in 1952, some people simply made a gravestone that misspelled his last name as "Bach," and misspelled his wife's maiden name as "Robinson," and put it next to the sarcophaus, under which he and his wife had been buried (see the attached newspaper article).

THIS IS THE ONLY CORRECT MEMORIAL FOR HIM. The management at Find A Grave has prevented the attempts to change his memorial, and his wife's memorial, and they will continue to do so, if someone tries to change either of them again. Please...just let it be. Thank you.


When John died, his sons buried him in the Roark Cemetery, which was near his cabin. When his wife Catherine died, their sons buried her on top of John. Their sons then built a stone sarcophagus on top of their graves. However, nearly 100 years later, in 1952, some members of the family, who were not genealogists, erected a traditional gravestone next to the sarcophagus. But they misspelled John and Catherine's last name as "Bach," and they misspelled Catherine's maiden name as "Robinson." The people who erected that traditional gravestone obviously spelled their own last names as "Bach," and so they put "Bach" on the gravestone.

There are many members of this family who do not know the actual genealogy of their family, and they cling to a fraudulent genealogy that was created back in 1964 (published in 1994), even though it did not have one piece of evidence or proof to support it. That fraudulent genealogy was later published in a big, orange book, in 1994, and, to this day, some people still claim that it's true. It's really sad.
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This Back/Bach family is not related to Harman Back (aka Hermann Bach), from Freudenberg, Germany. A significant amount of documented research proves this.

In 1994, an incorrect genealogy of this family was published, which claimed that this family descended from Harman Back from Freudenberg, even though there was not one piece of evidence to prove it. It further claimed that Harman had a son named Henry Back, who married Elizabeth Hoffman and that their son, John Back, was THIS John Back. That is wrong. Henry Back was not a son of Harman Back, and although Henry and his wife Elizabeth did have a son named John Back, THAT John Back was born in 1776, not 1774, and when he got older, he moved to North Carolina and raised a large family there. That incorrect genealogy was even reported to DAR, which is why, on DAR's website, they incorrectly show that John's father was Henry Back, and they also incorrectly show that Henry Back was a son of Harman Back.

It is imperative to realize that DAR clearly states on their website that the information they present on their website DOES NOT PROVE LINEAGE. In other words, just because it says on the DAR website that John Back was a son of Henry Back, and that Henry Back was a son of Harman Back, that does not mean that it's true, and it does not mean that there is any proof that it's true.

Back in the 1960s, when that incorrect information was submitted to DAR, their standards were nowhere near as stringent as they are today, and people could report just about any relationship to them, and they would accept it.

The fact is, up until 1994, when that incorrect genealogy was published, everyone in the family already knew the actual genealogy of THIS Back (Bach) family, because it had been passed down through the family, for generations. It is what is documented here. Several Board-Certified genealogists, respected historians, and other prominent researchers have confirmed the actual genealogy of this family, which is what is shown here, by studying numerous primary source documents and other significant records and evidence.

The spelling of the family's last name originally was "Bach," back in Germany. When the family immigrated to America in 1740, they changed the spelling to "Back," so that other colonists could more easily pronounce it. It remained as "Back" for several generations. It wasn't until the early 1900s that some members of the family went back to the original spelling of "Bach." Many more members of the family went back to the original spelling of "Bach," shortly after WWII. To this day, both spellings are used within this family. However, John Back spelled his last name as "Back." There is no doubt about that, as evidenced on all of the documents that he signed.

John Back was the son of Joseph Back and Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard Back. There is absolutely no connection at all between John Back, or his father Joseph Back, to Harman Back of Freudenberg, Germany. This Back (Bach) family originated from Thuringia, Germany.

When John Back was a teenager, he and his family moved from his birthplace in Culpeper County, Virginia (now Madison County, Virginia) , to what is now Breathitt County, Kentucky. Also making the trip was John's best friend, Samuel Maggard. (Samuel was the grandson of the Samuel Maggard who raise John's mother, Elizabeth Hoffman-Maggard.) They settled along Quicksand Creek, in 1791, in a place that was later known as the "Round Bottom." It was called that because the creek virtually surrounded that parcel of land, in a circular manner.

In 1794, John's great uncle, Johann Wilhelm Bach (John William Back) died--he was the brother of his paternal grandfather, Johann Heinrich Bach (John Henry Back). Johann Wilhelm and his family had lived along Copper Creek, in Russell County, Virginia. John's father Joseph sent him and his brother Joseph Jr. over there, to help the widow settle the estate. John's best friend Samuel Maggard went with them.

While John was in southwestern Virginia, he met and married Catherine Robertson, in 1795. She lived with her family, on the east side of the Clinch River, just south of where Johann Wilhelm Back's farm was, in what is now Hawkins County, Tennessee. She had bright red hair. Many of her and John's children also had the same bright red hair.

John's best friend Samuel Maggard married Catherine's sister Rebecca, also in 1795. And Catherine and Rebecca's sister Easter married Charles Blair in 1795. It was said there was a triple wedding, but this has not been proven. John's older brother Joseph Jr. also got married in 1795, in Virginia, but the name of his wife is not known.

John Back and Catherine Robertson had at least nine children:

1. Mary Back (born 1797 but died as an infant).

2. Mary Back (born December 12, 1798) who married John R. Roark.

3. Catherine Back (born about 1800 but died young).

4. Joseph Woodford Back (born March 7, 1802) who married Permelia Hogg.

5. Susannah Back (born September 20, 1804) who married John Henry Holbrook.

6. Lewis Back (born May 29, 1807) who married Margaret "Peggy" Roberts.

7. John Back Jr. (born March 27, 1810) who married Elizabeth Cope.

8. Solomon Back (born July 10, 1812) who married Jincy Fields.

9. Isaac Back (born May 28, 1817) who married Rachel Combs.

When John and Catherine got married, they moved onto his great uncle's farm in Russell County. They remained living there, on his great uncle's farm, for about fifteen years. Most of their children were born there.

John bought 420 acres on Sept. 11, 1795. It included land along the Clinch River, Valley Creek, Copper Creek and Mocassin Creek. This land was originally part of Call McGriger's two Treasury Warrants for 76,593 acres.

In 1809, John's cousin, Lewis Back (born 10-14-1787, the son of Henry Back, John's uncle) left Culpeper County (because his father had recently died) and he moved in with him, while he lived in Russell County, Virginia. Both men were listed in the 1810 Russell County Personal Property Tax List. Around 1810, John and his family, and his cousin Lewis, left Virginia and moved to Kentucky, where John had lived when he was younger.

It is suspected that John, his family, and Lewis, were listed in the 1810 Census Report, in Floyd County, Kentucky, while they were on their way to where they wanted to live, which was along the Poor Fork of the Cumberland River. (There was an "extra" son, age 10-15, and an "extra" daughter, under the age of 10, in that 1810 Census Report, who were either children of John, who must have soon died young, or they were orphans that John and Catherine had taken in.) It also appears that they must have stayed in Floyd County for awhile, during 1810, because John was apparently also listed on the 1810 Personal Property Tax List in Floyd County as well.

John and his family, and his cousin Lewis, soon settled along the Poor Fork of the Cumberland River, near his parents, who had abandoned their 1791 cabin on Quicksand Creek, several years before that (in 1797) and moved down there.

In 1836, after his parents had died, John bought 2,500 acres of land along Quicksand Creek, where his parents had first settled, in 1791, and where he had once lived. And then, he and his family moved back into the old cabin that he had helped his father build, back in 1791. At Christmas of that year, John made an entry into the old Bach Family Bible (actually a Catechism), listing his name and date of birth, and his wife's name and date of birth. He also listed the names and dates of birth of all of their children. That old book is now on display at the Breathitt County Library, in Jackson, Kentucky.

One cold, winter night, February 12, 1854, one of John's horses got out, and it ran towards Lick Branch. John went after it. It was cold and snowing. He was wearing a kilt that his wife had made for him. (Her family was Scotch-Irish, and the men often wore kilts. Back then, kilts were often called "half pants.") When he got back to the cabin, his clothes, including his kilt, were frozen to his skin. He sat by the fire, but he developed pneumonia and he died, later that night. The next morning, according to an old handwritten note, his sons buried him, "during a snowstorm." (Many people mistakenly claim that he died in 1853, but that is wrong. He died on Feb 13, 1854.)

When John's wife Catherine died, she was buried on top of him. Their sons then built a stone sarcophagus over their bodies. Over 100 years later, some family members erected a traditional gravestone next to the sarcophagus. They spelled John and Catherine's last name as "Bach" on that stone, even though John and Catherine had always spelled it as "Back." They also misspelled Catherine's maiden name. Her maiden name was Robertson, not Robinson.

***In recent years, Dr. Stephen Bowling, Director of the Breathitt County Public Library, supervised some testing at the gravesite. Equipment was used to detect if there really was a body (or two bodies) under the stone sarcophagus. The equipment verified that there was, in fact, something (John and Catherine) buried underneath it.


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