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Backenstos, Jacob B. (Backinstos)

Born: 1811-10-08 Pennsylvania

Died: 1857-09-25 Oregon

Flourished: Sangamon County, Illinois

Alternate name: Backinstos

Backenstos married Sarah Lavina Lee in Sangamon County in 1835. In 1840 Backenstos was postmaster in Sangamon County, Illinois, but by 1841 he lived in Hancock County, Illinois, where he served as a militia adjutant in the Nauvoo Legion. Backenstos served as circuit clerk, sheriff and treasurer of Hancock County. In August 1844, Hancock County voters elected Backenstos as a Democrat to the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served until March 1845. When the Mexican War began, he volunteered for military service. In May 1846, Backenstos received a commission into the U.S. Army as a captain in the newly created Mounted Riflemen under the command of Persifor F. Smith. Backenstos participated in General Winfield Scott's expedition from Veracruz to Mexico City. He distinguished himself in several engagements, most notably at Chapultepec, Churubusco and Contreras. In August 1847, he was breveted major for his gallant and meritorious conduct at Churubusco and Contreras, and in September was breveted lieutenant colonel for his service at Chapultepec, where he was wounded. He resigned from service on June 30, 1851. Backenstos committed suicide in Oregon by jumping into the Willamette River and drowning.

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 10 December 1835, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Sixth Census of the United States (1840), Sangamon County, IL, 45; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 28 February 1840, 1:3; Lyman D. Platt, "Commission Records, Illinois State Militia 1835-1844," Nauvoo Journal 2 (January 1990), 6; Th. Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1880), 1:240, 328, 336, 339, 346, 374, 450; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 390; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 212; Wm. Hugh Robarts, Mexican War Veterans: A Complete Roster of the Regular and Volunteer Troops in the War Between the United States and Mexico, From 1846 to 1848 (Washington, DC: Brentano's, 1887), 13; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army(Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903), 1:179; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 21 November 1857, 2:1; Gravestone, Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, Portland, OR.