About this Famous Person
George Armstrong CUSTER
United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars
Source : Tim DOWLING
Custer was born in New Rumley, Ohio, to Emanuel Henry Custer (1806–1892), a farmer and blacksmith, and Marie Ward Kirkpatrick (1807–1882). Throughout his life Custer was known by a variety of nicknames. He was called "Autie" (his early attempt to pronounce his middle name) and Armstrong.
During the Civil War, Custer was frequently termed "The Boy General" in the press, reflecting his attainment of brigadier status at the age of 23; during his years on the Plains in the Indian Wars, his troopers often referred to him with grudging admiration as "Iron Butt" and "Hard Ass" for his physical stamina in the saddle and his strict discipline, as well as with the more derisive "Ringlets" for his vanity about his appearance in general and his long, curling blond hair in particular.
He had two younger brothers, Thomas Custer and Boston Custer. His other full siblings were the family's youngest child, Margaret Custer, and the weak and unhealthy Nevin Custer. Custer also had several older half-siblings.
According to late 20th century research, Custer's ancestors, Paulus and Gertrude Küster, who followed the first thirteen immigrant German families from Krefeld and surroundings, had emigrated to North America around 1693 from the Rhineland in Germany, probably among thousands of Palatine refugees whose passage was arranged by the English government of Queen Anne to gain settlers. George Armstrong Custer was a 4xgreat-grandson of Paulus Küster from Kaldenkirchen, Duchy of Jülich (today North Rhine-Westphalia state), who settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
Custer's mother was Marie Ward, who – at the age of 16 – had married Israel Kirkpatrick. When he died in 1835, she married Emanuel Henry Custer in 1836. Marie's grandparents – George Ward (1724–1811) and Mary Ward (née Grier) (1733–1811) – were from County Durham, England. Their son James Grier Ward (1765–1824) was born in Dauphin, Pennsylvania, and married Catherine Rogers (1776–1829). Their daughter Marie Ward became Custer's mother. Catherine Rogers was a daughter of Thomas Rogers and Sarah Armstrong. According to family letters, Custer was named after George Armstrong, a minister, in his devout father's hopes that his son might become part of the clergy.