Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


The George Armstrong Custer Collection of the
Monroe County Library System

Custer in the News
In Monroe County and throughout the United States


(Monroe Evening News, October 28, 1965)


George Armstong Custer first glimpsed Libbie Bacon, who later became his bride, swinging on the gate of a picket fence around this home in stood on the northwest corner of Monroe and Second Sts. With a porch on the side and green shutters. It was moved to 703 Cass St. before the land was cleared to build the U.S. Post Office in 1911. George Armstrong Custer had come from Ohio to Monroe to live with his half sister, Lydia, married to David Reed and later to attend Alfred Stebbin's Young Men's Academy. Later in his career, General and Mrs. Custer stayed at Fort Leavenworth for the winter and when the troops began to prepare for summer campaigns they returned to this house in Monroe. They lived here for the summer of 1868 while he wrote his memoirs and hunted and fished in the county.


Encouraged by his son, George Armstrong Custer, Emanuel moved to Monroe in 1863 and settled.. on the northeast corner of Third and Cass Sts. George was anxious that his brother Boston and sister Margaret (Maggie) later the wife of James Calhoun, would have the advantage of Monroe's fine schools. Boyd Seminary, an excellent school for girls, was situated kitty-corner across the street intersection. Emanuel wrote to the General concerning the place, "You know the house we looked at for $1,000. We bought it for $800, $600 down and $200 we borrowed from David Reed." In another letter to Autie he wrote, "Monroe is an expensive place to live. Greenbacks do not go far." After Lt. Calhoun was killed at the Battle of the Little Big Horn with his brother in law Gen. Custer, Captain Thomas W. Custer and Boston Custer, his widow, Maggie continued to live in this house giving readings and playing the piano.


General Custer, his brother Nevin, and their wives jointly signed the note in March 1876, borrowing $2,000 at 10 per cent interest to secure the money to purchase this 116 acre farm and house at 3048 North Custer Rd. The name "Custer House" has been painted on the barn. Libbie lived here a year after the General's death. Nevin suffered from a rheumatic condition and did not enter military service. He is the only one of this Custer line to have children. They were: George Armstrong Custer, James Calhoun Custer, William Bacon Custer, Mrs. Andrew (Clarabelle) Vivian, Mrs. Charles (May) Elmer, and Miss Lulu Custer. Gen. Custer's favorite horse "Dandy" is said to have been buried in the orchard behind the barn. Buffalo Bill and Little Miss Sure Shot (Annie Oakley) frequently visited the Custers and Dandy.


Nevin's son, James Calhoun Custer, and his wife, the former Elizabeth Renner, raised their four children. They are retired Cols. Brice and Charles Custer, Miss Miriam Custer and the late Miss Margaret E. Custer. James did general farming and raised cattle. The children attended district school and came to Monroe for their high school education. Miss Miriam says her grandfather, Nevin, often visited here. Her grandmother was the former Ann North. Mementoes of the General, his sword and some of his guns, which Miss Miriam's father kept at the farm have been given to her brothers.

(Monroe Evening News, October 28, 1965)

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