We now give an account of the Custer family, historic in its character, of which the late Gen. George A. Custer was a member. John Custer and Emanuel Custer left their native county, Frederick, Va., and went westward, the former stopping at Cresaptown, and the latter going into Somerset county, Pa., and afterwards settleing[sic] down upon a beautiful piece of land called Mount Nebo, about two miles south of this place, where he died in 1829. John Custer was at one time a hotel keeper and blacksmith at Cresaptown, and died in 1830, leaving among other sons, Emanuel Custer, who learned the same trade from his father, an honorable vocation which sent from the anvil Gen Green of revolutionary fame. About 1824, Emanuel, at the age of 19, left his smithery at Clarysville, in Allegany county, with his whole possessions bound up in a cheap handkerchief, for the west. His objective point was Harrison county Ohio, to which some relations had preceded him . About eight years after he returnd[sic] to the scenes of his early home on a short visit, and again last winter, spending about a month in Cumberland. These were the only two visits he ever made to his old home. After remaining for a number of years in Harrison county he removed to Wood county, in the same State, and thence to Monroe, in Michigan, where he now resides. This is the father of General Custer, by his second marriage, who with a number of brave officers and men were so cruelly butchered at the Little Big Horn, in 1876, by Sitting Bull and his savage warriors. In this national disaster the good old man lost two sons, grand son and son-in-law. The whole county knows all this as history, but the ancestors of Gen. Custer, and their locality, are not so well known. We had the pleasure several times to meet the old gentleman last winter and had considerable conversation with him; found him to be a man of intelligence, character and sound principles in every respect, to all of which he added the full traits of a professing Christian. He is very modest in his demeanor and never mentions the name of his distinguished son except when questioned. Of course he has a just pride in his sacrificed children, but it is a sore subject for him to converse about. The glory attached to their name does not compensate him for the agony he endures on account of their tragic death. Though a man of retired manners he has much influence. The great war Secretary, Stanton, was a devoted friend to him. More than once during the late war when a wayward soldier would get into trouble, Emanuel Custer would help him out by appealing to the Secretary of War, who would say familiarly, "Well, Manuel, what must I do now?" But Emanuel was too good and logical to ask for anything improper. All the Custer's have long since disappeared from the Cresaptown region. Emanuel Custer, uncle to the father of General Custer, died as already stated, fifty years ago, leaving eight sons, Adam, Jacob, Daniel, John, David, Samuel, Peter and Jeremiah, all good Bible names; and Catherine, an only daughter, long since dead. None of this large number of sons now survive but Samuel - now sixty-three years of age, living on the beautiful old homestead, leading a farmer's life, amiable and gently in his disposition, a good citizen, well liked and respected, (deservedly so) by all who know him. One of these brothers (Daniel) when yet a young man came to a violent death by having his brains dashed out, by being thrown from a sleigh against a tree, sleighing in those days being a very common amusement in the long snowy winter. Another brother dropped dead in a harvest field in Washington county, from a sun-stroke. David, who died some four years ago, was perhaps the strongest and most energetic. All were married except three, some of them leaving very large families, so this branch of the Custer family will not soon fade away from Garrett county as the other had done in Allegany. Jere, the youngest of the family, died a long while ago, in the very first years of his manhood. He was bright, quick, and susceptible but eccentric. The Custer family were well disposed people, and good citizens - not strong in constitution nor long lived. General Custer certainly did not trace his high military and chivalric traits from this amiable source, and it would be difficult to discover them in his sedate and unobtrusive father; perhaps it radiates from the Ohio mother. Only last summer we passed by the little palisade enclosure where are the remains of "Maney" Custer. He followed in the death-wake of the good father of the writer only about four months. They were friends and neighbors. I respect the memory of the one, and reverence that of the other.
"Brown's Miscellaneous Writings Upon a Great Variety of Subjects: Prepared and Written from 1880 to 1895" by Jacob Brown
Posted June 28, 2013
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