In a careful study of all available data of the ancestral line of the many branches of the Custer
families of America, and the many histories written by different branches of the family, and the
traditions and errors that have crept in by members of the same family who have depended on
their memory of the memory of what others have handed down, of the movement of various
branches into different states, and the family names that were common, such as, Jonathan,
George, Daniel, David, etc. The head of families know nothing of their ancestors, and one settles
in Virginia, others scatter in Pennsylvania, and later into Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, in fact all over
the United States, and where they go they find their name, they either conclude that they are not
related, or by similar names they conclude that they belong to the same branch, and here is
where the historian at this late date finds it difficult to make history harmonize as it has been the
rule of your historian to put nothing upon record that is not backed by facts, and the best historical
date at his command, as given by other antiquarians of repute. As I have neither time, strength,
nor ability to investigate by travel or research, I will follow my manner of investigation as far as I
can, and then give what others have given that goes back into the centuries to find the ancestral
The difficulty, as I find it, is by branch of the Custer (Ball) family knew nothing of the nationality of
the Custer family, but had the Ball (English) all right. Our ancestral line is all easy enough from
where Paul Custer married Sarah Martha Ball, and I confine to that union of Paul Custer and
Sarah Martha (Ball) Custer and their children, and try to eliminate, as far as possible, the errors
that have crept in and give the full text of those that have gone back to Europe in search of the
ancestral line.
Paul Custer was born in Montgomery County Pennsylvania about 1720, died November 10, 1783.
Sarah Martha (Ball) Custer was born about 1722, died December 10, 1779, and married about
1740. Their children were John, born 1732, died in infancy; Jonathan I born 1734; Paul I born
1736; William born 1740; George I born December 3, 1744, died December 17, 1827; and
Nicholas born about 1746.
George Custer I, the writer’s great-grandfather, married Susannah Lone March 27, 1744.
Susanna (Long) Custer was born May 13, 1755, died October 17, 1784. Their children were
John born December 21, 1774; George II, the writer’s grandfather, was born July 30, 1776, died
October 15, 1833; Sarah born June 16, 1778; David born February 17, 1780; Jacob born March
13, 1782; Hannah born August 11, 1784.
George Custer I second married Catherin Leatherman November 28, 1784. Catherine
Leatherman was born April 7, 1765, died September 22, 1844. Their children were Daniel born
October 18, 1785; Susanna born October 18, 1787; Catherine born June 13, 1790; Magdalena
born April 22, 1793; Joseph born September 16, 1797; Jonathan born December 30, 1798; Mary
born November 14, 1801; Elizabeth born September 13, 1803; and Lydia born April 24, 1806.
George Custer II married Mary Wise May 14, 1799. Mary Wise was born February 18, 1779, died
September 13, 1856. George II died October 15, 1833. To this union was born 10 children, five
sons and five daughters, nine of whom married and raised children (William, the youngest, died in
his youth). Their children were John, born June 16, 1800; Susannah (Custer) Krider born March
23, 1802; Hannah (Custer) Horn born March 29, 1804; Mary (Custer) Conrad born February 28,
1806; Sarah (Custer) Conrad born June 9, 1808; George Ball Custer born August 15, 1810;
Andrew Custer born December 10, 1812; Elizabeth (Custer) Shuck born February 27, 1815;
Samuel Aughy Custer, born October 31, 1817; and William G. Custer born August 21, 1821.
John Custer married Nancy Hedge March 28, 1821. Susannah Custer married Henry Krider
September 26, 1819. Hannah Custer married David H. Conrad October 1823. Sarah Custer
married Daniel Conrad 1826. George Ball Custer III married Sarah G. Courtright January 30,
1831. George Ball Custer III married second to Elizabeth Jane Leach February 8, 1848. Andrew
Custer married Mary Ann Myers. Elizabeth Custer married Frederick Shuck. Samuel Aught
Custer married Hannah Jenkines.
Following the ancestral line of the Ball family, given by George Custer Horn, we find that William
Ball IV of Millenbeck Plantation, born 1615, married Hannah Aterald, July 2, 1638, came to
America in 1657, and died 1680.
William Ball V born June 2, 1641, married ----- Harris, died September 30, 1694. Samuel Ball of
Culpepper County, Virginia, born September 26, 1686, married Ann Taylor, November 26, 1717,
died 1751. Sarah Martha Ball of Forquer County, Virginia, born 1722, married Paul Custer I,
1740. died 1779; George Custer I, born December 3, 1744 (the writer’s great-grandfather)
married first Susannah Lone, March 29, 1774, and second Catherin Leatherman, November 26,
1784, died December 17, 1829. George Custer II (the writer’s grandfather, born July 30, 1776,
married Mary Wise, May 14, 1799m died September 16, 1833. George Custer Horn, (the writer’s
first cousin), born November 21, 1825, married Martha Jane Thomas, April 27, 1853, died
February 26, 1898. Sallie Adelaide Horn born November 15, 1854.
As it is the work of the antiquarian to harmonize the conflicting historical writings of older authors,
and fin out if he can, why the former writers erred, and in what they erred. In all human events
the greater supercedes the less, and this will be the reason assigned by your historian. The Balls
were great captains of finance; in other words, they were the merchantmen of the high seas, as
well as possessors of great commercial interests. They owned great land estates from
Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Pa., and in Washington and Fayette Counties, Pennsylvania. The two
Balls who figure so largely in our history are Jonathan Ball, the brother of Sarah Martha (Ball)
Custer the wife of Paul Custer, and Mary Ball who at the age of twenty-six married Augustine
Washington of Gloucester County, Virginia, March 6, 1730, and Joseph Ball, son of Jonathan
Ball, a close relation of Captain ---- Ball of the Clio ---. This Joseph Ball of whose estate our
ancestors found their heir ship, is the connecting link.
I have heard my mother, Susannah (Custer) Krider, tell that when Joseph Ball got old, he would
visit his tenants on his farms (plantations they were called in those days); that he could go a-foot
and stop every nights on his own land from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, west of the Allegheny
mountains. But how much there is to the story, the deponent sayeth not. But that there were
large estates in Washington and Fayette counties, is well established. There were settlements
made and money received as late as 1830 to 1835. There was an executor appointed by the
courts to close out the estate of Washington and Fayette Counties. Lott Lonce was appointed by
the courts to settle up the estate and heirs of George Custer II (who lived in Washington County
then deceased), who received a part of his claim in his lifetime. Some of George Custer II
children, and his wife Mary (Wise) Custer, still lived in Washington County, and they appointed
David H. Conrad to look after their interests. The money came into the hands of Lott Lonce, and
he paid Conrad enough money to cover the percent which the court allowed for the work he did,
and Lonce ran away with the balance. And from that day to this, the agents get rich only bleeding
the innocent victims of the heirs of the great estate of Joseph Ball. And now this brings me to
inquire, where are we “at”? – as if has heretofore been stated that the purpose of this writeup was
to show why our people never knew who Paul Custer was. Because the quiet German family of
mechanics and agriculturists, the common people if you please. That the Ball ancestor, the
English gentleman came to America in 1657. William Ball IV, his son, William V, born June 2,
1641, born England. Samuel Ball of Culpepper County, Virginia, born September 26, 1686;
Sarah Martha Ball of Farquer County, Virginia, born 1722, married Paul Custer, 1740. Paul
Custer I grandfather of Paul Custer came to America in 1684.
You see that the Balls had established themselves in the commercial world with a world-wide
reputation, and the Custer, who came twenty-five years later, and settled in Germantown, Pa.,
and took up lands in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania and where Paul Custer, son of Hermanus
and Isabella (Conrad) Custer was born about 1710. And now it is easy to understand why these
so-called English Custers all talked the German language. My mother said that when she was a
child they talked the German language in the family, and after Grandmother (Wise) Custer came
to Indiana to live with us, she preferred to talk German, or Pennsylvania Dutch, as it is now
called, and she read her German Bible, but her children only learned to read and write the
English language.
The ancestral line of the Custer family, as above stated, we get from Milo Custer of Bloomington,
Ill., who goes back through Germany into Holland in his investigation and research, that only a
scholar who is in love with his work would go back through the centuries into medieval civilization
that was taking form, in giving names to individuals according to their various callings in life.
And, now, I have given my reason for accepting Milo Custer, the custodian of the Historical
Society and Museum of McLain County, Bloomington, Ill., as the only authority that makes it
possible at this late day to get the nationality of the Custer family, and through his book I think I
will be able to carry the ancestral line of our branch to the Custer family down to the living
generation, and will give the full text as the book gives it.
PAUL CUSTER (Ancestry Unknown)
In the year of 1684, Paul Kuster, a farmer and mason by occupation, his wife Gertrude
(Streypers) Kuster, a native of Kolden-Kirchen, in the Reinland, with their children Arnold,
Hermanus, Johannes, and Eliza emigrated from Creffeald, Germany along with twenty-eight other
emigrant families from Creffield and other neighboring towns, and settled in Germantown,
Pennsylvania. These families formed the second German colony who settled in Germantown.
The first colony of thirteen families land at Philadelphia October 6, 1683. They were Mennonites
and were under the leadership of Franz Daniel Pastorious, who was also their pastor and school
teacher. The church organization founded by these pioneers, is still in existence. Its records
contain an entry of the attendance of communion of Arnold and Hermanus Kuster under date of
May 23, 1708. The first church building in Germantown, a log structure erected about the year
1700, was torn down and replaced with a stone building in 1700. The old stone church is still
standing, and still used as a place of worship by Mennonites.
The 225th anniversary of the settlement of Germantown was celebrated October 6, 1908, and a
monument erected there bearing the names of the heads of families who compose the first
colony. Paul Kuster’s name appears in a list of emigrants who left Crefield for America in the
year 1684, also in a tax list of heads of families residing in Germantown in 1693. December 2,
1700, he was chosen a committeeman of the corporation of Germantown. December 4, 1704 he
purchased 80 acres of land of Henry Buckholtz. January 5, 1706 he was appointed overseer of
fences for Germantown.
Arnold Kuster married Elizabeth -----, and died in the year 1734. Johannes Kuster, (an ancestor
the Kuster family), married Elizabeth Cassel, daughter of Johannas Cassel, September 30, 1692.
Paul Kuster died in Germantown January 1708/ Gertrude (Streypers) Kuster died soon after the
death of her husband. Hermanus Kuster of Custer, farmer son of Paul and Gertrude (Streypers)
Kuster, was born probably about 1675. He came to America with his parent in 1684. He and his
brother Johannas bought 200 acres of land near Scippack, in what is now Montgomery County,
Pennsylvania, upon which they settled about 1700. The farm is located about on-half mile from
Evensburg, Pa. Hermanus Kuster married Isabela Conrad, daughter of Peter Conrad in 1706.
Their children were Paul I, Peter I, Gertrude, Margaret, and Rebecca. Hermanus Kuster dies in
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in the year 1760/ He was probably the first of the family to
abandon the old German spelling of his family name and adopted the form now used by his
Paul Custer I, farmer son of Hermanus and Isabella (Conrad) Kuster, born in Montgomery
County, Pennsylvania about 1710, married Sarah Martha Ball, daughter of John Ball of Virginia
and a sister of Mary Ball ( who married Augustine Washington) and Jonathan Ball. And here is
where Milo Custer’s and George Custer Horn’s history of the Ball family disagree. Horn’s history
gives no John Ball who came to America. This is the line of ancestry that Horn gives: William
Ball I of Millenbeck Plantation, born 1615, married Hannah Atherald July 2, 1638, came to
America 1657, died 1680. William Ball II, born June 21, 1641, married ----- Harris, died
September 30, 1694. Samuel Ball of Culpepper County, Virginia, born September 26, 1686,
married Ann Taylor November 25, 1717, died 1751.
Sarah Martha Ball, of Farquer County, Virginia, born 1722, married Paul Custer, 1740, died 1779.
And here is where so many errors creep in. Just where and how George Custer Horn got his
data of the Ball family, I have no knowledge, but he has gone a long way back in the history of the
Ball family, for the reader will observe the Sarah Martha Ball is in the fourth generation of the
American born, and the tenth generation according to the ancestral line as given by George C.
Horn. But in either case it leaves our branch of the Custer family on a straight genealogical line,
but it puts Milo Duster’s, Paul Custer II “in a hole”.
Our genealogy will run this way: Paul Custer I, Hermanus Custer I, Paul Custer II married Mary
Wise, and here is my connecting link and made to harmonize with all the different authors that I
have at my command, and have gotten the “English gentlemen” at the right place and the
German Custers where they belong. As far as I am able to solve the difficult problem, and to go
further down along the George’s of the family of George Custer II and Mary (Wise) Custer,
George (Ball) Custer III, born August 15, 1810; George D. Custer IV, born April 26, 1845; George
A. Custer V, born August 11, 1873.
George D. Custer IV gives the kinship of the Ball family that is given by any other historian, that
throws much light upon the old Ball ancestral line and of branches that left no heirs, and I will give
it here as George D. Custer IV gives it:
Joseph Ball died April 9, 1821, leaving no children, neither father, mother, brother, sister not their
descendants, his widow survived him. The next of kin to Joseph Ball were twelve in number.
Uncles and aunts on the paternal and maternal side were William Ball ( married Martha
Broomfield), Abryal Gilbert, Mary Smith, Sarah Martha (Ball) Custer, Ann Campbell, Hannah
Holloway, William (Richards) DeWeese, Margaret Deweese, Sarah Hastings. All of these uncles
and aunts left children and grandchildren, and now your historian has gotten along the
genealogical line to the present generation of the fathers, the children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, four generations now living of the posterity of George Custer. To the posterity of
George Custer’s and Mary (Wise) Custer’s nine children, which carries us over a period of 115
years. As George Custer II and Mary Wise were married in 1799 – six generations, four
generations still living.
And here is where the hard work comes into getting the third and fourth generations – that is to
say, get grandchildren and great-grandchildren of our cousins of Logansport, we have been work
for the last dozen years.
L. B. Custer has given me a write-up that covers man branches, and George D. Duster many
other branches, and I have the Kriders under headway, and if all will send in to whom I have sent
out circulars we will have a history that is worth while.
Appendix by Leroy Glen Krider January 31, 1941:
I have two different sets of dates on Paul Custer II and Sarah Martha Ball, those shown above,
which were compiled prior to December 25, 1912 by grandfather Isaiah W. Krider and those
shown on chart #3. Those on the chart were taken from a letter grandfather wrote medst ed
November 18, 1913. I have not been able to check or give it any study to know which are correct.
In giving out the history of Adam Wise and his nationality, I have to depend in part on hearsay
evidence. But it agrees so well with the Will of Adam Wise which was made and signed on the
18th day of April 1781, and probated and recorded October 10, 1781. And to show that our
ancestor was among the first pioneers to live and die in Washing County, Pennsylvania; the
transcript or copy of the will has this to say:
“The forgoing is a correct copy of the will of Adam Wise as it stands recorded in the office of
registrar of Will in Washington County, Pa., and the original will was the second to be put upon
record after the establishment of the registrar’s office in said County”
I got my first account of the Rev. Wise who at the time (1910) was pastor of a society of the
Brethren (Progressive Dunkards) in Pittsburgh, Pa., and he gave this account of Adam Wise’s
coming to America from Germany. That he had a wife and one son about a year old and his
name was Andrew. That his first stop was in Maryland, near Baltimore. That his first wife died
there and he married a second time and had ten sons and three daughter which the Will
corroborates, so I take it for granted that my informant had the correct data, an he had attended
several reunions of the Wise family in Washington County, Pa.
But the year he left Germany, we have not got but we can approximate it very closely. Andrew
Wise, or Great Grandfather, died in 1840 aged 96, and if he was only one year old when he came
to America, it would make their arrival about 1743 or 1744. That he lived in Washington County
several years is evident from the wording of the Will. The family was still young when he died,
more that half of them under age, to be cared for by the wife, Catherine, and the son Peter, who
was executor of the Will. The age of the testator is nowhere but the first son, Andrew, at the
father’s death was about 38 and the ancestor’s age was probably 60 years or more.
The will gives nothing definite telling who were the first family, but the Rev. Dr. Wise said there
were five sons, and one daughter by the first wife and yet is evident that at the death of the father
there were some of the first family under age. And another fact is brought out by the will that
there was one don dead who left a widow and one child but the Will says nothing about this son
or his name, but does give the name of Mrs. Mary Ann Wise and in the first division gives these
gives these two the same as two other girls. In the first he name three daughters, in the second
division, he speaks of four, “my two older and my two younger”. It is evident that the grandchild,
Mary Ann, is meant and in that way everything harmonizes that there were two wives,, ten sons
and three daughters and the names are as given in the Will. Peter, the executor, to whom he
gives the plantation and it is also evident that the older sons had farms or had received dower
before as they only received hard money with all other heirs, some more and others less, from 20
pounds to 30 pounds. The brothers that were of age, were: Andrew, Frederick, Adam, Henry,
and Peter, the executor of the will and guardian and caretaker of the widow and minor heirs,
Abraham, Jacob, Daniel, Tobias, Ulian, and Judeth, daughters Mary Ann, a grand daughter, and
Mrs. Mary Wise, the daughter-in-law.
These five, Jacob, Daniel, Tobias, Ulian, and Judeth were to be sent to school until grown. The
three boys at the age of 19 were to be bound out to learn trades (such as they may select) by
Peter Wise in accordance with the terms of the will. But this leaves out one daughter if Mrs. Mary
Wise is the widow of the missing son. If their were ten sons, the will gives three girls at one place
and four at another and gives Mrs. Mary, and Mary Ann Wise, as one heir. An there you are, and
that is the kind of history a genealogist runs into everywhere. The Journal-Tribune failed to put
the “Mrs.” before Mary Wise and would still keep things in a muddle. But we have the ancestral
line alright.
Isaiah W. Krider.
8 o’clock Christmas morning – breakfast at a restaurant at the corner of Pearl and Market Streets
– and have returned to my room 212 Seventh Street.
The postman brought a letter and cards from Leroy M. with a present and two Christmas cards.
One card reads as follows: “An Olde fashioned Xmas greeting to you. How many Old
recollections does Christmas time awaken?” On the card the picture of a spinning wheel with a
distaff on which is wound a bunch of tow. The picture of this old spinning wheel carried me back
to my childhood days when mother sat by the little wheel and spun tow for our summer trousers,
and flax for our shirts. And that spinning wheel and the sentiment written there on kept me in the
house all day. For memory carried me back to a certain Christmas day of sixty years ago – for on
that ?Christmas morn of sixty years ago dawned on my nuptial day, go on the evening before I
had taken unto myself a wife.
And of these sixty years – what shall I write:
To that union were born eleven children, six boys and five girls, of whom but four are left – two
sons and two daughters, twenty-one grand children and ten great grandchildren.
How the years have flown: Mamma has been gone almost twenty years and Elda two years after
– and I alone, no, not alone, for God has been with me. Yet all these twenty years I have been a
pilgrim and a wanderer on the earth, and yet His goodness and mercy has followed me all those
years. Everywhere I go I find Christian fellowship and good cheer; verily, he has brought me out
into a large place among the vicissitudes of life. He has enlarged my field of usefulness, and at
this lat period in life, He has given me strength of body and mind to go into the realm of research
and literature of which seven years ago I had no thought of attaining, much less to be able to do
what I have done. And it comes to me easily and I take great pleasure in it.
Dedicated to my children, this 83rd anniversary of my Christmas:
Leroy M., Gas City, Indiana, born 1855
Alice C., Auburn Neb., 1857
Ira G., Newton, Kan., born 1858
Elizabeth, Logansport, Ind., born 1874
Isaiah Wise Krider
The history as written by grandfather Isaiah W. Krider you will note is somewhat garbled,
repetitions are quite numerous, and perhaps some errors exist, but when you consider that at the
time grandfather wrote it he was a man past eight three years of age, and one who had by little
schooling, it is quite a remarkable story, and we should so consider it. In the main it is correct
and gives largely what we desire in a family history.
Leroy Glen Krider
Newton, Kansas
January 31st, 1941