1864 : Elizabeth Clift Bacon Marries George Armstrong Custer

February 9, 2018 all-day

George Armstrong Custer and Elizabeth Bacon Custer, courtesy of the Library of Congress

George Armstrong Custer, the famous Army general who grew up in Monroe, married Monroe native Elizabeth Clift Bacon on February 9, 1864.

Bacon, known as Libbie, was the only surviving daughter of an important local judge who initially opposed the marriage, according to the book “Elizabeth Bacon Custer and the Making of a Myth” by Shirley Leckie. The couple had met at a party in November 1862.

Once married, Elizabeth Custer tried when possible to stay with her husband during encampments and posts. After she was widowed at age 34, she worked tirelessly to polish her husband’s posthumous reputation. Her constant portrayal of him as a war hero and national martyr angered his detractors, yet many reserved their criticism of him until after her death in 1933.

For the full article, see Zlati Meyer, “This week in Michigan history: George Custer marries Monroe native Elizabeth Bacon”, Detroit Free Press, February 9, 2014.

Bill Loomis, “Custer and Michigan: A mutual love affair”, Detroit News, March 6, 2016.