My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

HORACE A. CUSTER, the leading book-seller and stationer of Pottstown, is a native of that borough. He was born January 12, 1845, being the son of Aaron L. and Elizabeth (Kinzer) Custer, who lived in Berks county about five miles from Pottstown. When a young man Aaron Ludwig Custer removed to New Holland, Lancaster county, where he engaged in mercantile life in a general country store and married there. Mrs. Custer was born in Lancaster county. The couple had seven children, three of whom are now living, as follows: Rose A., wife of Samuel R. Ellis; Carrie K., widow of Jacob Hartranft; and Horace A. Custer, all residents of Pottstown.

Aaron L. Custer (father) went to Pottstown many years ago and was postmaster of that place in the ‘40s. Later he engaged in the bookselling business with Abner Evans, under the firm name of Evans & Custer. Both are now deceased and have been succeeded in the business by their sons. This was the first bookstore of the place. Mr. Custer also served as notary public for the Pottstown Bank. He was one of the public spirited citizens of Pottstown and took a deep and helpful interest in all matters pertaining to the general welfare. Aaron Custer died in 1881, aged seventy-seven years. His wife survived him until 1892 and was eighty-four years of age at the time of her death. Both she and her husband were buried in Pottstown cemetery. Both of them were Lutherans, in religious faith. He was secretary of the school board for a number of years and also secretary of the board of vestrymen of the Lutheran Church of the Transfiguration.

Jonathan Custer (grandfather) lived in Berks county and died there in middle life, leaving a family of seven sons and three daughters. He was a farmer by occupation. Mr. Custer was of Swedish descent and belonged to the same family as General Custer, who perished in a fight with Indians in the west. The name was originally spelled Koster.

The maternal grandfather, Kinzer, was a native of Lancaster county and was of German descent. He owned a large farm and was a man of considerable prominence, holding several public offices. He and his wife died advanced in years, leaving a large family.

Horace A. Custer has lived in Pottstown all his life. He attended the public schools and the Hill school at Pottstown, took a position in the store with his father, and succeeded him in the business after his death. He has been at his present location No. 231 High street, for thirty five years. He was one of the original members of the Goodwill Fire Company and its first secretary, and he served as one of the building committee for the erection of the fine new building of the Goodwill Company on Hanover and Queen streets.

In 1863 he enlisted in Company F, Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Emergency Regiment, and served during the Gettysburg campaign. He afterwards enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Ninety-seventh Regiment, serving five months. He was discharged at the expiration of his term of service. Mr. Custer was in the ranks. After the war he returned to the book business in which he is still engaged.

On September 24, 1874, he married Miss Elizabeth Shaffer of Reading, daughter of Jacob and Mary (Baum) Shaffer. They had one son, Clarence, who died at the age of twenty years. They reside at No. 350 Walnut street.

Mr. Custer is a member of the Lutheran church, and his wife of the Methodist Episcopal church. He is also a member of the vestry. Mr. Custer is also a member of Stichter Lodge, No. 254, Free and Accepted Masons, of Pottstown Chapter, and of Nativity Commandery. He has been a Mason since 1867. Mr. Custer was one of the charter members of Graham Post, Grand Army of the Republic. He is a member of the Benevolent Order of Elks.

Politically he is a Republican and was burgess of Pottstown one term, from March 4, 1900, to March 4, 1903. In view of the large Democratic majority in that borough, this is a strong proof of his popularity. He was also a member of the board of school directors for eleven years. His father also served as burgess of Pottstown many years ago and theirs is the only case on record where father and son have filled the same office.

* * * *

This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.