Joseph Custer
George W. Custer
Hannah Downard
Joseph Letherman Custer


Family Links

1. Angela T. Leas

Joseph Letherman Custer 1

  • Born: 11 Feb 1841 2
  • Marriage (1): Angela T. Leas on 22 Jun 1865

bullet  General Notes:

Custer, Joseph L., of Marion; Priv., Co I, 12th (1yr) Reg.; MI into service
5-15-1861 and was disch 7-25-61 w/disability without ever seeing
any active duty. In 1863 he was enrolled into the United States
service and served in the office of the Provost Marshal until the
later part of that year, when he was honorably discharged from service.
Joseph L. Custer read law in the office of Judge John Brownlee and
Judge John M. Wallace, of Marion, and on March 14, 1864, was admitted
to the bar and engaged in the practice of his profession. He was also
a district attorney and a judge. He owned Custer Electric Manuf. Co.
and was the proprietor of Custer Lumber Co. at Gas City. He and his wife
Angela T. (Leas) and their three children, George D., Burr and Robert J.
resided at 514 So. Boots St. in Marion, Indiana.


Biographical Memoirs of Grant County, Indiana
Chicago: The Bowen Publishing Company, 1901.

Hon. Joseph L. Custer, lawyer at Marion, and ex-Judge of the Circuit Court, is a native of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, born February 11, 1841, being a descendant of Paul Custer, of Philadelphia, who died November 10, 1783, and whose wife bore the maiden name of Sarah Ball,--she being a sister of Mary Ball, mother of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Sarah wife of Paul Custer, died December 10, 1779.

Paul and Sarah (Ball) Custer had five sons, viz.: Paul, George, William, Nicholas and Jonathan, of whom George, who was born December 3, 1744, and died December 17, 1829, was twice married. By his first wife, whose maiden name was Susannah Long, George Custer became the father of six children. His seond wife bore the maiden name of Catherine Letherman. She was born April 7, 1765; married Mr. Custer November 28, 1784, and died September 22, 1844. By this marriage nine children were born, viz.: Daniel, born October 18, 1785; Susannah, born October 18, 1787, Catherine, June 13, 1790; Magdalene, April 22, 1793; Joseph, September 16, 1797; Jonathan, December 30, 1798; Mary, November 14, 1801; Elizabeth, September 13, 1803; and Lydia, April 24, 1806. Of the above named, Joseph is the grandfather of Hon. Joseph L. George W. Custer, son of Joseph Custer above named, and father of Judge Custer, whose name heads this sketch, was born June 17, 1820; married Hannah Downard August 12, 1838; and in 1847 removed from Fayette county, Pennsylvania, to Highland county, Ohio. He was a mechanic, and died on June 8, 1851, at the age of thirty-one years, leaving three children: Andrew V., born May 20, 1839, a retired merchant of Marion; Joseph L., our subject; and Rachael A., born August 29, 1844, and married Peter Brosier, and now resides in Marion.

After the death of George W. Custer, his widow married Samuel Malcom, and removed to Indiana, and later settled at Marion, where she died. By her marriage with Mr. Malcom, she became the mother of one daughter, Martha, who was born September 24, 1854, now Mrs. W. Reed, of Marion. The mother died February 18, 1874.

The subject of this memoir was not yet eleven years old when his father died. A year or two later his mother married a second time and the family removed to Indiana, settling in Grant county, where young Custer attended school and assisted in the work on the home farm until fourteen years of age, when he left the parental roof and entered the battle of life for himself. During the following three or four years he worked at whatever presented itself. He worked as a farm hand, followed the towpath of the canal, worked as an apprentice at the trade of carpenter, printer, and at other vocations; but none of this satisfied his ambition. He then returned to Marion, attended school, and soon became a teacher. He was of only medium height, slender and not strong, but when President Lincoln called for volunteers, he responded, and May 15, 1861, was mustered into service as private in Company I, Twelfth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. However, he saw no active service, and July 24, of the same year, he was discharged on account of physical disability. He then entered Wabash College and pursued his studies about one year, when, on account of the death of his step-father, he returned home. In 1863 he was enrolled into the United States service, and served in the office of the Provost Marshal until the latter part of the year, when he was honorably discharged from service. He next taught two terms of school in Ohio, after which he read law in the office of Judge John Brownlee and Judge John M. Wallace, of Marion, and on March 14, 1864, was admitted to the bar and engaged in the practice of his profession.

He was twice elected District Attorney for the Fourteenth Judicial District, and served four years in that capacity as Prosecuting Attorney, his first commission bearing date of November 2, 1868, and the second October 24, 1870. In 1886 he was the Republican candidate for State Senator, and came within about fifty votes of election in a strong Democratic district. In 1890 he was elected Judge of the Forty-eighth Judicial Circuit, his commission as Judge bearing date of November 16, 1890, and served with honor and credit during a term of six years, from November 17, 1892. Since the expiration of his term of office, he has given his attention to the general practice of law. Besides being a member of the Grant County Bar, he has been twice elected president of the Grant County Bar Association, and is now a member of th State Bar Association. He was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of this state on February 21, 1872, and later was admitted to practice in the United States Courts.

Judge Custer owns the plant of the Custer Electric Manufacturing Company, which manufactures various electrical and other appliances, including gas engines; he is also proprietor of the Custer Lumber Company at Gas City. He has a comfortable home at No. 514 South Boots street, and owns other city property, all of which is the accumulation of his labor.

June 22, 1865, he was married to Angela T. Leas, daughter of Daniel and Nancy Leas, and three children are the fruits of this union: George D., a glass cutter; Burr, a machinist, in charge of the Custer Manufacturing Company; and Robert J., a graduate of Purdue University, is a civil engineer.

Judge and Mrs. Custer are members of the Presbyterian church, in which the Judge was for many years an elder, and in 1880 he was a delegate from the Muncie Presbytery of that church to the Presbyterian General Assembly, which met at Madison, Wisconsin.


Joseph married Angela T. Leas, daughter of Daniel Leas and Nancy Foster, on 22 Jun 1865. (Angela T. Leas was born in 1844 in Center Twp., Grant Co., Indiana.)



1 Civil War Soldiers of Grant County, Indiana (

2 (Chicago: The Bowen Publishing Company, 1901).

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