Custer, George Armstrong (1839-1876)
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Custer, George Armstrong (1839-1876), Autograph letter signed, August 19th, 1875, eight pages, to his cousin Augusta Frary, Canandaigua, New York, extensively discussing family matters and the remoteness and dangers of the Dakota Territories, 4to, (some bleed through, 3 inch glue and paper remnant on page 4, else fine). Text in full: My dear cousin, It was only last week that I was saying to Libbie (my other & better half) that I wished I knew your address. I would then write to you and perhaps visit you in the event of my taking a trip to New York this fall as I now contemplate doing. Libbie often says that I never wish for anything but that every wish is soon gratified. And so it seems in this case for Maggie who is our next door neighbor came in yesterday with a letter from you, by which I learn that you are residing at Albion N.Y. I have passed and repassed within a few miles of your home quite often of late years and would have been glad to stop and see you had I only known where to find you. I spent about a month in New York City in April and May of this year passing over the roads from Buffalo to Rochester in going and coming. If I am permitted to carry out my present plans I will probably spend a month or two in New York City between now and December if so I trust I may have the pleasure of seeing "cousin Augusta" again. I will not attempt to give you any account of my history since my pleasant visit to Genesee, nor to refer to the Custer family in detail, further than to say that my immediate family consists of my wife and self, Maggie is married to a very fine young staff officer of mine and lives next door to us. She has been married three years. I also have two younger brothers with me one of them Tom is an officer in my command, the other the youngest of the boys is here also in the employ of the government so that we can muster quite an extensive family circle. Both of my brothers are unmarried. Maggie's husband's name is Calhoun and we all like him very much. She became engaged to him while she was visiting us in Kansas. Father and Mother reside in Monroe Michigan, Mother has been in feeble health for several years. So feeble as to prevent her from visiting us in the remote corner of the globe. I presume we must seem almost out of the world to persons living so far east as you do. Well we are at the extreme verge of the frontier settlements. So true is this, that my house, the one from which I am now writing is on the extreme border line, there is not another house or hut, nor does a single white man reside west of where I am now located until we reach Montana near the Rocky Mountains, hundreds of miles from here. Hostile Indians roam over the country west north & south of us for hundreds of miles. Only last Sunday morning the Indians killed and old farmer residing three or four miles north of us. Should you feel interested in locating us on the map you may not find the name of Fort Lincoln on any but the latest maps, but if you will draw a line due west from St. Paul until it intersects the Missouri river then locate a point on the river about seventy five or one hundred miles north of the point of intersection you will have a point on the map very nearly the one occupy. A distance of five hundred and fifty miles west of St. Paul or about fifteen hundred miles west of Albion. Fortunately the Northern Pacific railroad is completed to Bismark, a little town five miles from here on the east side of the Missouri river. We are on the west side. Steamboats navigate the Missouri over a distance of about fifteen hundred miles still beyond this. It requires about five days to reach New York from Fort Lincoln by rail. Libbie's name before I changed it was Bacon. Her father was born and reared in Onondaga Co N.Y. afterwards moved to Monroe Mich. Many of Libbie's aunts & cousins reside in New York, some in Canandaigua, others near Syracuse at or near a little place called Howlett Hill. She has visited them two or three times since our marriage in 1864, and will probably do so this fall should I take my proposed trip to New York. I wish you would send me a photograph of yourself and husband. I hope some day to have the pleasure of making the latters acquaintance. We would all be glad to see both of you and if you can ever make up your minds to come so far from Albion I know you could have a very pleasant and interesting visit. Do not fail to send me your photographs and if you desire I would send you ours in return. Libbie joins me in much love to both of you. I hope you will write to me soon. Address Gen G.A. Custer Fort Lincoln D.T. Your affectionate cousin, GA Custer"