Many lives have entered into the foundation of Huntington County, and none of them more worthy to be considered in a history of the old families than the Back family, represented by Arthur P. Back, one of the foremost farmers and citizens of Salamonie township. The Back family was established in Huntington county more than three-quarters of a century ago. Those who have come and enjoyed the prosperity of the later era, however important their own contribution, have all owed a great debt to the pioneers who first tested the capabilities of soil and climate, who faced the hardships of existence when only the strong and brave could remain, and who laid the foundations of a greater civilization and permanent prosperity. Arthur P. Back is a representative of the third successive generation which has thus been identified with this part of Indiana from pioneer days to the present.
His birth occurred in Salamonie township, January 25, 1858, a son of John and Mary A. (Swaim) Back. John Back, who was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, son of Aaron and Elizabeth (Hamner) Back, who in 1837 emigrated from their home in Preble county, Ohio to Huntington County. It was John Back, then a young unmarried man, who had left Preble county some time previously, and after prospecting thoughtout northeastern Indiana, had finally entered at the government land office in Fort Wayne the North East quarter of Section 33, and the North West quarter of Section 34 in what is now Salamonie township. This land was entered for his father, and all the family came out to occupy it in 1837. Besides the Back household, there were only one or two neighbors in the entire surrounding country, and it required the courage of the real pioneer to establish homes in such a wilderness. The first buildings were erected alongside the Warren and the Montpelier Pike, and on that old homestead the grandfather spent the rest of his years. John Back entered vigorously into the work of clearing up the land, and some years after his settlement in Huntington county married Mary A. Swaim, a sister of Samuel H. Swaim. They established their home a short distance from the Warren and Montpelier Pike, and there lived and enjoyed prosperity for a long period of years. Of their nine children, three are living in 1914: Malinda A. Browley , of Winchster; Rettie C. wife of Abe Clingingpeel of Pulaski county, Indiana; Arthur P.
Arthur P. Back was reared on the farm which is still his home, grew up in the midst of conditions which have greatly changed for the better during his life time, and acquired his education by attending three months each year at the public schools of Salamonie township. Though the duties of the home kept him out of school during most of the year,he accepted every opportunity to improve his knowledge and training and acquaintance with books and attended school at more or less regular intervals until he was about twenty-three years of age. His independent farming enterprise began as a renter of a portion of the old homestead, and he continued in that way until his father's death.
Mr. Back married Mary L. Irwin. By that marriage one daughter survives, Theodosia P., born January 23, 1888, a graduate of the common schools and also a student in the Warren high school. The mother of this daughter died October 7, 1897. Later Mr. Back married Alice P. Andrew, a daughter of Calvin Andrew. She was born in Salamonie township, and the common schools of that locality afforded her educational advantages. By this marriage there are three children: Edna A. born in 1900; Russel L. born in 1902; and Ardella B., born February 20, 1914; the two older attending the public schools near their home. The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Warren.
Mr. Back since getting successfully started as a business man and farmer, has taken much part in public affairs, and is one of the men of capable judgement and broad public spirit who have helped to administer the fiscal affairs of the county. For four years he served as a member of the Huntington county council, and it was during his term that the new court house was erected at Huntington. While he gave close attention to all the affairs that came before the board during his term, Mr. Back's chief service probably consisted in his sturdy stand on the matter of the second issue of bonds for the building of the court house. He insisted and finally carried his point that the bonds should be issued for only a short time, and that course proved the wise one, since the bonds carried only a normal rate of interest, were sold at a good price, and have already been paid off and are no longer a part of the county debt. Mr. Back as a farmer has prospered, and his prosperity is represented in his ownership of one hundred and forty acres of land a mile and three-quarters southeast of Warren. His wife owns ninety-two and a half acres from the old Calvin Andrew estate. Mr. Back is a man of thorough public spirit, has a broad outlook on all interests of the world, and has never failed to carry his share of civic burdens. At home he has a number of old relics of the family and pioneer times, which are interesting witnesses of the early days in Huntington county, and are prized heirlooms of this old and notable family of Huntington county pioneers.