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Isaac Backus

Born: 9-Jan-1724
Birthplace: Norwich, CT
Died: 20-Nov-1806
Location of death: Middleborough, MA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Titicut Parish Cemetery, Middleboro, MA

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty

American preacher, originally identified with the separatist movement. He began to preach in 1746, was ordained in Middleborough, Massachusetts, in 1748, and became pastor at Titicut of a new Congregational society. In 1749 some of his congregation began to sympathize with the Baptists, and he finally united with these and formed a Baptist Church in Middleborough in 1756, having himself been immersed in 1751. He held open communion for some years, but at length abandoned it. Throughout his life he was an earnest and consistent advocate of the utmost religious freedom. In 1774 he was sent as the agent of the Warren association of Baptist Churches to claim from Congress, for the Baptists, the same rights as those accorded other Churches. He vindicated his course by a paper in the Boston Chronicle, 2 December 1779, arguing against a proposed article in the Massachusetts Bill of Rights. In 1788 he was a delegate to the convention that formulated his state's assent to the proposed federal Constitution. Backus was for thirty-four years a trustee of Rhode Island College, now Brown University. A voluminous writer, his most substantial work is a three volume History of New England, with Special Reference to the Baptists.


[1] Originally, a member of the New Light Church (Congregationalist).

Father: Samuel Backus
Mother: Elizabeth Tracy
Wife: Susannah Mason (m. 29-Sep-1749, four daughters, five sons)
Daughter: Hannah (b. 8-Nov-1750)
Son: Nathan (b. 18-Jun-1752)
Son: Isaac (b. 21-Feb-1754)
Daughter: Eunice (b. 23-Oct-1755)
Daughter: Susannah (b. 13-Oct-1758)
Son: Louis (b. 3-Aug-1760)
Daughter: Lucy (b. 13-Apr-1763)
Son: Simon (b. 7-Mar-1766)
Son: Libel (b. 17-Feb-1768)

    Administrator: Trustee, Brown University

    Ordained 13-Apr-1748

Author of books:
An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty (1773)
History of New England, with Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians Called Baptists (177796)



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