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


(Monroe Democrat, May 27, 1910)

During the past few weeks, when everything pertaining to Gen. Custer is of interest, we have frequently been asked something concerning his nationality and ancestry. The answer to these questions came to us from an unexpected source in the form of a letter and pamphlet from W.J. Heller, of Easton, PA., to Ed. G.J. Lauer of this city. Mr. Heller is a manufacturer of flags, but like many business men has a hobby, his being the researches in the history of his locality and preserving the same in historical articles and publications. In one of these, which was read before the Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society, in which he traced the rise and decline of the First Lutheran Congregation at the Forks of the Delaware, he traces the history of many German families, gives the original names and the various changes that were subsequently made in them. Among them was the Keuster family, one of whose descendants is the famous general. We quote below Mr. Heller's letter, also a paragraph showing the transition of German names and that of the Keuster family:

Easton, Pa. May 16, 1910

Mr. Ed. G.J. Lauer
Monroe, Mich.,

Dear Sir:

The writer in making research for data regarding the early settlers in and around Easton Pa., discovered the ancestors of General Custer and thinking that probably it might be of some interest on this occasion, imparts the information to you, not knowing if there are any members of the family still living. No doubt, the family is not aware of the data relating to the family prior to its advent in Ohio.

Yours Respectfully

W.J. Heller

Dammer became Tammer, and later, Tomer. Schubman was changed to Shipman. Brechbiel turned into Brakely. There were a great many other changes in these German names but the change was not so far removed from the original.

This transition of names and ideas also had its influence on the Pennsylvania side of the river where a few changes were made. One of particular note, is that of Leonard Keuster, a distiller in Williams Township. He had a large family, a number of whom migrated to different parts of the province and assumed different names. One of these was Kessler, after whom, the village of Kesslerville, in Plainfield Township, is named. Another went to what is now Lehigh County under the name of Kistler. Another went into what is now Monroe County and his descendants became known as Custard. A part of this latter branch settled in Ohio and omitted the last letter, producing the name of Custer. General Custer, the noted military leader, was of this branch.

(Monroe Democrat, May 27, 1910)

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