Custer Family Garrett County Maryland
From: "David C. Kester"
Subject: Emmanuel Custer Article, 1878
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 11:09:03 -0700 (PDT)
From the CUMBERLAND TIMES (Cumberland Allegany Co., MD)
Appeared November 30, 1878
Emmanuel Custer, a native of Allegany County, having
been born here near Cresaptown and living here until
the age of 19 years, when he moved to Ohio, was in
town today and expects to revisit his childhood home
while in town.
He moved then to Monroe, MI in 1863 and is in good
health at the age of 72 years.
In a bloody fight at Rosebud, his sons: Gen. George H.
Custer; Captains Thomas Custer and Boston Custer;
along with a grand-son Artie Reed and son-in-law, Lt.
Calhoun were killed.
*End of article*
The Evening Times, Cumberland, Maryland, July 8, 1905
I have a number of times recently been called on for information in regard to the Custer
family, which has of late years become not only noted, but historic on account of
the chief of the family, Gen. George A. Custer, a distinguished young cavalry
officer in our civil war. He stepped from WestPoint as a graduate with
honors in 1861, into the war in which he was engaged for its entire duration. Many yet
vividly remember his tragic death in 1876 at the Little Big Horn by Sitting Bull
and his savage warriors. His career, though not lengthy, was brilliant, patriotic
and national, worthy of proud recollections and national gratitude, as well
as a prominent place in the history of our nation.
A number of inaccuracies have appeared in the general scope of the publications. Perhaps
the author of this paper has more personal knowledge of the Custer family at large than
anyone else living. A sketch of the Custer family is to be found in Brown's
Miscellaneous Writings. This sketch was written in 1887 and the facts mainly gotten from
Emanuel Custer, father of General Custer, when on his last visit to his old home country.
The Custer race hails from Old Virginia. Two brothers, John and Emanuel, left their homes
in the valley something over 100 years ago. John settled at Cresaptown in this county.
He was a blacksmith and hotel keeper by vocations. His wife was a Garlitz, sister
of old Christian Garlitz, the noted old time hunter of Allegany county. The old time
Garlitz also came from Virginia with its ways and styles of language. John Custer had a family of children, most of whom went to what is now West Virginia. He died somewhat mysteriously
in 1830. His son, Emanuel, left home when 19 years of age and went to Harrison
county, Ohio, with all his belongings bound up in a bandana handkerchief. He, like
his father, was a blacksmith, and followed his trade for many years. Left his county
and went to Wood county in the same state, and thence to Monroe, Michigan, where he lived
for the rest of his life, and died a number of years ago. He was married twice,
both times to Ohio ladies. The General was a son of the second wife.
It is not remembered now how many children Mary Custer had, but at least an ordinary-sized
family. Two sons, a son-in-law, and a grandson, all were slaughtered at the great massacre
at the Little Big Horn. Among the slain were Capt. George Yates, a promising
officer of the U. S. Army. His wife was a sister of Mr. Milnor Roberts, of this city,
he being connected with the prominent Humbird family of Cumberland. Emanuel Custer
made but two visits to his old home, after leaving it in 1824. The first eight years later,
and the other as already stated. The writer of this enjoyed the pleasure of several
calls made by him. He was found to be a man of intelligence, character, and sound
principles in every respect, with an amiable, quiet, and gentlemanly nature, to all
of which were added traits of a professing Christian, modest in his demeanor, never mentioned
the name of his distinguished son except when called for. Of course, he had a just pride
in his sacrificed children as well as deep sorrows, but it was a sore subject
for him for conversation. The glory attached to their names did not relieve the agony
he endured on account of their tragic end.
The great war secretary, Stanton, was a warm friend of Emanuel Custer. They were old Ohio
acquaintances. More than once during the great war when a wayward soldier would fall
into trouble, Emanuel would help him by appealing to the great secretary, who would
say familiarly, "Well, Emanuel, what must I do now?" But he was too improper and too loyal
to ask to do anything improper or hurtful to the cause. All the Cresaptown Custers
have long since departed from that place. The name is extinct within the limits of
Allegany county, but quite numerous in the junior county of Garrett.
In this connection, something can be and ought to be appropriately said about the family of
old Emanuel Custer, brother of John, and uncle of Emanuel already mentioned. This family
has no historic character in it, but its many descendents are worthy citizens and
deserving of respect.
Emanuel Custer, uncle to the father of General Custer, settled upon an ancient tract of
land called Mount Nebo in what is now Garrett county in the beginning of the last century. He
died in 1824 after a peaceful and respectable life. He left a widow and 8 sons: Adam,
Jacob, Daniel, John, David, Samuel, Peter and Jeremiah, all good old Bible names, and Catherine,
an only daughter, all long since dead. Jacob died suddenly in a harvest field
from a sun stroke. Samuel, the last survivor, died on the old home farm some years
ago, which is still in the occupancy of some of the family. Daniel met with a tragic
death about 1832. He and his newwife were riding down a mountain slope in a sleigh
at a high rate of speed, when the rig overturned and threw him with such violence
against a tree as to crush his brains. Death came instantly. In a short while came
a posthumous child, yet living in her seventies. The sorrowing mother lived till a few
years ago in her widowhood, which lasted 65 years. Where is there a parallel case? I know
of none. The nearest is Mrs. Dr. J. H. Patterson, now of Oakland, California. Her
loneliness has lasted since January, 1852, now 85 years of age. All this large brotherhood
were married except three, and left many children and descendants,, all or nearly all
of Garrett county, and remarkable for quietude, obedience to law, and of good citizenship.
The Custer race of that county is not going to fade away as the other branch
has done in Allegany.
The wonder of some is where Gen. Geo. A. Custer got his military genius and fighting
qualities. When it is known the race was and is such an amiable, quiet and peaceful one.
Perhaps from the Ohio mother with a sprinkle of the old Garlitz blood in the grandmother.
J. B. Kreitzburger
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