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Henry J BACKES is proprietor of the famous Humphrey Nurseries, well known throughout Nebraska and in other states. In this connection he is conducting an extensive and profitable business, constituting one of the important enterprises of Platte county. He has lived in this county from the age of fourteen years, his birth having occurred in Lake county, Indiana, April 14, 1872, his parents being Peter and Gertrude Backes, both of whom were natives of Germany. The father was a farmer by occupation and in 1850 came to the new world with his parents, settling at Crown Point, Indiana. The lady whom he afterward wedded was brought to the United States by her parents when but two years of age and both Peter and Gertrude Backes were reared and educated at Crown Point, where their marriage was also celebrated. In 1886 they arrived in Platte county, Nebraska, settling at Humphrey, where Mr. Backes carried on farming until 1914. He then retired from active business life and removed to Lindsay, where he and his wife now make their home. At the usual age Henry J. Backes became a public-school pupil and for two years he pursued his studies in the normal school at Fremont, Nebraska. He then remained at home until he attained his majority. After which he engaged in the nursery business as an employee of D. W. Schaff, who at that time was connected with the Geneva Nursery. Mr. Backes spent three years in that way, after which he worked on contract with the Geneva Nursery for eight years, maintaining his headquarters at Humphrey throughout the entire period. In 1904 he bought out the nursery business of P. McKillip and assumed charge thereof. It was the small beginning of a big business, however, for at that time he had but five acres. The succeeding year he bought the eighty acre tract upon which he now resides and where he maintains his nursery, having erected fine buildings upon the place for this special purpose. He now cultivates a full and complete line of nursery stock of every kind, which is sold by traveling salesmen and by catalog. He uses sixty-five acres for the growth of trees and in 1915 had five hundred thousand young apple trees ready for market. There are very few nurseries located on what is known as upland, but the Humphrey nurseries are so situated and have proven that the upland gives better quality of stock, although it costs more to raise the stock, which, however, is of a hardier and sounder growth. Mr. Backes grows all of his trees on upland on a divide between the Platte and Elkhorn rivers at an altitude of sixteen hundred and forty feet above sea level. He has built up an extensive nursery business, his stock being now widely shipped, and he has gained a most enviable reputation in this connection. In 1905 he extended his activities to include the raising of registered Holstein-Friesian cattle and today sells to the farmer for breeding purposes.

In 1912 he began breeding Tamworth hogs also has upon his farm a six year old stallion, "Shade On Maulden," sired by the famous "Shade On," with the record of 2.08 1⁄4. Mr. Backes is today one of the prominent stockmen of western Nebraska and one of the best known and most successful nurserymen of the state. In addition to his home place he owns four hundred and eighty acres of land near Osmond, Nebraska, which he rents. On the 9th of November, 1898, Mr. Backes was married to Miss Millie Billerbeck, a daughter of Henry J. and Wilhelmina (Crossman) Biller- beck, both of whom were natives of Germany. When eighteen years of age Mrs. Billerbeck came to America. On crossing the Atlantic Mr. Billerbeck settled in St. Louis, Missouri, and later removed to Freeport, Illinois, where he worked as a farm hand, but afterward removed to Iowa, where he again engaged in farming. In 1885 he arrived in Nebraska and established a hardware and implement business at Pierce, while today he is actively engaged in business at Osmond. His wife died in Humphrey in January, 1899. Mr. and Mrs. Backes have become the parents of two children: Laura, who was born October 13, 1902, and is a student in the high school; and Agnes, who passed away at the age of two years. The parents and daughter are members of the Catholic church at Humphrey and in politics Mr. Backes is a republican. The family are well known socially and the hospitality of their home is extended to their many friends.
 Source: Submitted by: Jack Childers - INJACK1@aol.com