BACKENSTOE, Clayton H., attorney-at-law, Harrisburg, Pa., was born in West Hanover township, Dauphin county, Pa. He is the eldest son of ex-county commissioner John H. Backenstoe and Mary E. Backenstoe. He attended the district schools of West Hanover township until he was nine years of age, when his parents removed to Derry township, near the village of Union Deposit, where they now reside. He was a pupil in the district school of this township until he was fifteen, when he entered Lebanon Valley College, where he studied for one year. For the three years ensuing he taught in the common schools, after which he re-entered Lebanon Valley College, from which he was graduated in the class of 1887. He was the orator of his class and the chief editor of the class journal.
After his graduation he at once registered as a student of law with the distinguished firm of Fleming & McCarrell, Harrisburg, Pa. The senior member of the firm, Hon. David Fleming, dying soon after this registration, Mr. Backenstoe continued his studies under the direction of the junior partner, Hon. Samuel J. M. McCarrell, whose great ability and commanding position at the bar assured him of thorough instruction and skillful guidance. In October, 1889, Mr. Backenstoe was admitted to practice in the several courts of Dauphin county, and was soon in the enjoyment of an extensive and increasing legal business, an important part of which is in the Court of Common Pleas and Orphans' Court, in the settlement of decendents' estates. He has also been connected, as counsel for the accused, with a number of important criminal cases; a noted instance is the case of Andrew Undergast, charged with the murder of his wife; in this case Mr. Backenstoe was associated with J. C. Nissley, Esq., as counsel for the accused, for whom they obtained a verdict of acquittal on the capital charge, the Commonwealth being forced to accept a plea of felonious assault and battery. Mr. Backenstoe was admitted in 1891 to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Backenstoe is among the most active young members of the Republican party, his voice being heard from the stump in every campaign, not only in the county, but also throughout the State. He has frequently served his party ably as a delegate to county and State conventions, and has been chosen as a confrere in the various congressional conferences of his district. He is financially identified with various interests of the county and State, being a stockholder in the number of financial institutions of Harrisburg. His growing practice is undubitably the achievement of his exceptional energy and untiring application to his work, displayed in the painstaking and skillful preparation of his cases, and his watchful fidelity to the interests confided to his hands.
[p 458-459 in orig; transcribed by Janice Frank <firstname.lastname@example.org> ]