Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Permelia Burno, the bride of Charles H. Backus

While this post is not exclusively on a wedding, it does focus on a bride and her family origins. I am on a roll with blogging prompts this week so I want to keep the theme. I will finalize this post series with a Thriller Thursday post as my research into this family has an interesting ending.

Online records are scarce on anyone named Charles Backus in Wyoming County, New York and I was searching for two of them. The obituary listed online at findagrave.com on Etna Smith Backus indicated that she was the mother of Charles Backus. Inferred in that record (though no source stated) is that she was the wife of Charles Backus (1814-1881). It also infers her maiden name as Smith. The cemetery transcript mentioned in yesterday's post helps confirm those assertions as the transcript specifically states her maiden name and that she was the wife of Charles.

I mentioned previously that Wyoming County enumerations for the New York state 1892 census are not extant. The best we get on anyone named Charles Backus for census data is from the 1880 federal census. Charles and his wife Etna are listed as age 65 as household number 105 (Arcade, Wyoming County, New York). Charles H. and his wife Pamelia A. are listed as household number 35. Charles and Pamelia have five young females (the eldest is listed as Etna, presumably named for her grandmother although other records indicate she was later known as Etta Mae). They are a typical family for that time period as each of the children are 1-3 years apart in age. I also believe the child Backus who was interred on October 31, 1874 fit in here somewhere, too (refer back to the cemetery transcript. As the youngest child listed on the census was 3 years old, we can rightfully assume that another child will be coming along soon. The indirect evidence indicates that the next child was a (perhaps long-awaited) boy whom they named Rollie George. Records on Rollie show he was born in August of 1881.

For further proof of this implied relationship, we have to further explore the mother's family. The year she became the bride of Charles H. Backus is unknown but we presume it was at least by 1870 when their daughter Etna was born. She was born in New York, but Charles was not found in either Wyoming or Cattaraugus County during that census year. His father was enumerated in Arcade, but Charles H. was not listed in that household nor was he listed in the household of his father-in-law Paul Burno's. I will make no other assumptions other than to say I have been unable to find him in the 1870 census thus far.    

Paul Burno is more steadily found in census records although this is a name often spelled alternately (Burna/Burns). Below are abstracts of entries for his household:

1880, Wyoming Co, Arcade, NY, household 165/67
Burna, Paul age 65, farm labor, born Canada, father born France, mother born France
 " ", Eliza, age 59, daughter, keeping house, born NY, father born Mass,, mother born Mass.
Backus, Lizzie, age 9, granddaughter, born NY, father born NY, mother born NY

1870, Wyoming Co, Arcade, NY, household 8/8
Burno, Paul, 55, works on farm, born Lower Canada
" ", Sarah, 49, keeping house, born NY
" ", Clarissa, age 19, at home, born NY
" ", Clarinda, age 14, domestic servant, born NY
" ", Caroline, age 13, attend school, born NY
" ", Roselia, age 10, attend school, born NY
" ", Lewis, age 8, attend school, born NY

1860, Wyoming Co, China, P.O. Eagle Village, household 375/365 (Arcade was once called China)
Paul Burna, 41, farmer, L. Canada
Sarah E. " ", 39, NY
Pamelia, 16, housework, NY
Elton, 16, NY
Lorenzo, 12, NY
Clarissa, 10, NY
Clarinda, 9, NY
Caroline, 5, NY
Rozella, 3, NY

1850, Wyoming Co, NY, China, household 550/558
Paul Burno, 34, farmer, Canada
Eliza ", 29, NY
Newton [? indexed as Anderson] " ", male, 8, NY
Parmilla, 6, NY
Edson, 4, NY
Lorenzo, 3, NY
Clarissa, 1, NY

Before we analyze these records further, I wanted to note that it was not until after I started compiling the data in a narrative form did I think to look back in that cemetery transcript for a reference to Burnos. That's what I love about the research cycle: gather, compile, analyze, then do it all over again.

We can see from those census records the further indirect evidence that Rollie's mother was Permelia Burno Backus. Her father's birthplace is listed as Canada in the 1880 census in her husband's household. We find Pamelia living with her father Paul, a native of Lower Canada, in the 1850 and 1860 census as well as her sister (and Rollie's aunt) Clarissa. Paul even has his young granddaughter Lizzie Backus listed in his household in 1880 (It appears she was actually enumerated twice, both here and in her parents household) which further confirms the relationship.

So Permelia, born around 1844, became the bride of Charles H. Backus sometime around 1870. She died August 15, 1892 and was buried in the Arcade Rural Cemetery along with her father- and mother-in-law and probably one of her children who died in 1874. (I also determined that her mother was buried there in 1888.) The question is: What happened to her groom?

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