Henry G. Backer, MD
Ferdinand Distinguished Citizens
HENRY G. BACKER, MD
Dr. Backer, Ferdinand Historical Society's 8th Distinguished Citizen placed in Kundek Corner at Ferdinand Library in 2002.
Dr. Backer was born in Ben Davis, Indiana in 1898 to George and Christina (Mootz) Backer. He attended Assumption Elementary School in Indianapolis, Ind and Ben Davis High School. He received his Medical Degree in 1924. In 1925 he was looking for a town where he could start his medical practice. The Backers had connections in Ferdinand; Mother Seraphine Kordes of the Convent of the Immaculate Conception (who taught Doc in sschool while stationed in Indianapolis) and Dr. E.E. Metzger who was a dentist here in Ferdinand. So in 1925 they came to Ferdinand. They rented a portion of the Albert Weaver home on Main Street, where the Backers lived all their lives in Ferdinand. In 1930 Doc built and office adjoining the house. Since there was no hospital in the area until the late 1930s Doc often performed emergency surgery and tonsillectomies in his office. Patients rested for the remainder of the day of surgery in one of the Backer's bedrooms. The entire house became theirs in 1932. A wise choice since the Backer's 12 children were born and raised there.
An office visit netted the good Doctor shopping sum of 50 cents with medicines costing $1.00 (since there were no pharmacies- Doctors then also gave patients medicines they needed right there in the office). The charge for delivering a baby was $15.00. Doc made house calls often having to hire a man with a team of horses to transport him over muddy roads to reach his patients. Many patients could not pay with cash- so instead gifted him with vegetables and fruits, etc.
In this day and age of beepers, cell phones (20th & 21st century) we are intrigured to hear that when Doc went squirrel, rabbit and quail hunting they hunted at Ted Pund's farm. If Mrs. Backer called to Punds with emergency, one of the Pund children would run to Doc's car and honk horn until Doc appeared to receive the message.
Every Friday afternoon for 35 years Doc attended to the sick at Frdinand Convent. Up until the time he gave up practice of delivering babies in 1951, he had delivered over 3500 babies. Before the hospital in Huntingburg, opened, he delivered by ome delivery at times with assist of midwives.
Dr. took don his shingle and said he was going to retire, but people kept calling to be seen as patient - his new office was in basement of their home. Eventually he did retire and enjoyed gardening, fishing, and berry picking.
Doctor H.G. Backer died suddenly following a stroke on Nov 24, 1984.