Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162

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The George Armstrong Custer Collection of the
Monroe County Library System

Other Interesting Custer Related Sites in Monroe

Many of the landmarks of Custer's time in Monroe are still present in bits and pieces. Some are changed to a large degree, others are gone completely. Among these are the following.


The Monroe County Court House

Located in Loranger Square, this a magnificent building, where Judge Bacon had his offices and the Custers obtained their marriage license. Much has been added and modernized since Custer's times; the bell tower was added in the 1880's.


St. Paul's United Methodist Church

The First Methodist Episcopal Church across from the Museum. This house of worship is today known as St. Paul's United Methodist Church. The Custer families were members here, and Lieutenant James Calhoun married Custer's sister, Margaret, here on March 7, 1872. On August 13, 1876 special services, presided over by the Reverend Boyd were held as town residents came to pay tribute to those who died in the service of their country at the Little Big Horn.


Trinity Episcopal Church

One of the Custers' closest friends were the Yates family of Monroe. George Yates served on Custer's staff and was killed with him while his wife, Annie, was perhaps Libbie's closest friend. After the battle Annie and her three children moved back to Monroe; their home was located a block south and across the street from this church where she sang in the choir. Mrs. Yates later moved to New York City. She became an even closer friend to Libbie, who also lived in the city. In 1914 Annie was killed when her dress caught mounting a subway car and she fell onto the rails and was crushed between the train and the platform. With her passing Libbie lost her last female companion from the old Fort Lincoln days.

David Reed Home Site

Some degree of controversy concerns the actual site of the Reeds' home. It is generally assumed that the house was located at the corner of Fourth and Monroe Streets; some state that it was a little closer to the present downtown section. It was here Custer would make his home with his half-sister, Lydia. One day when the young Custer came home on leave he and some friends managed to get themselves in a stupor during a drinking bout. The friends carried Custer home, and much to his later consternation he discovered that Judge Bacon had seen this spectacle of the man who would be his daughter's suitor.

Once on the porch of the house, Custer's friends deposited him, knocked on the door, and ran down the street before Lydia could answer. She got Custer to a bedroom, and during his "recovery" from this drinking engagement she is said to have sat beside his bed and read the Bible and sternly lectured him on the evils of drink. Whatever took place was never discussed by either person, but from that time on Custer would never touch another drop of alcohol. In an army famed for drinking by officers, Custer stood almost alone in his sobriety.

Lydia's son, Harry Armstrong Reed, was only eighteen when he went along with his uncles for the Indian campaign of 1876; he was killed just down the slope from them.

New Dublin School

This was the first school Custer attended in Monroe. It was located at the southeast corner of Harrison and Sixth Streets. At one time it took up a quarter of this block; nothing remains of it.

Stebbins Academy Site

Organized as a school for boys in 1853, this school stood at 25-33 South Macomb Street; it had been a hotel. Young Custer was taught here when not engaged in his many pranks. All that is left are the brick apartments which were once attached to the older buildings by a covered walkway.


The Nims House

Sited at 206 West Noble Street, this is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture. It was home to Frederick Nims, who was an aide to General Custer during the Civil War. The house is presently on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Humphrey House

Now known as the Stoner-Kemmerling Building, this once was the home of Nettie Humphrey's family. She was George and Libbie's closest confidante during the days of their courtship, serving as a go between for their letters when Judge Bacon was opposed to their possible courtship.

First Custer Residence

Emanuel Custer's first house was located at about 15415 South Dixie Highway. He stayed here only six months before he returned to Ohio after some of his horses were stolen. There is nothing of the residence left today.

Soldier and Sailors Park

This beautiful park is situated on the north side of Front Street alongside the River Raisin. In the 1920's it would be the location of the Custer statue. Today, the park is beautifully kept up.

Libbie's Last Monroe Residence

The home once owned by Libbie's cousin, Mrs. Andrew Vivian, was on the east side of Washington Street between Second and Third Streets. In December, 1915, 72 year old Nevin Custer had been shopping in Steiners' Hardware Store when he took ill. Mrs. Vivian was his daughter, and he was brought to her home where he died the same day.

Libbie returned for the funeral on December 27th, and stayed at the home. Libbie would never return to Monroe after her husband's statue was moved in the 1920's. The home was later taken down to become a parking lot for the county jail.

A Few Interesting Facts

In 1910 Libbie stayed at 405 Third Street while participating in the Custer statue dedications.

President Taft paid a visit to St. Mary's College while he was in town for the statue's dedication program.

 


 


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