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Milo Custer Collection Page

Processed by: Brigid R. McBride, March 2009


Contents

  1. Collection Information
  2. Historical Sketch
  3. Photographs
  4. Scope and Content Note
  5. Box and Folder Inventory
Collection Information

Volume: Seven boxes and one box of photographs
Dates: 1843-1993
Restrictions: Some fragile documents. See Librarian/Archivist.
Reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History.
Location: Archives.
Notes:

Other Finding Aids:

Record in National Union Catalog Manuscripts Collection On-Line.
See also Photograph Collection-People; Custer, Milo Collection

Historical Sketch

Milo Custer was born in 1879 to Samuel and Lucinda Parker Custer. Before settling in Bloomington, Custer lived in Heyworth in southern McLean County. He never married, and spent the 1920s and 1930s living with his widowed mother on S. Low St. near Bloomington's Miller Park. There he remained almost until his death, passing away on March 13, 1952 at the age of 73.

Milo attended the Walker School, in Section 22 of Bloomington Township. No further record of him is found until the December 5, 1903. From available records, it appears Custer delivered his first research paper to the McLean County Historical Society (today the Museum of History) in December 1903. He spoke on the archeology of McLean County, and provided biographical sketches of Rev. B.F. Langdon of Lytleville and James T. Miller of Bloomington.

Custer's interest in local history is evident in his many research publications, ranging from Pioneer Preparation and Spinning of Flax and Wool (published in 1912) to Soldiers of the War of 1812 Whose Bounty Land Grants Were Located in McLean County (also 1912).

In 1906 he visited Brown County, Kansas to study the Kickapoo, who had once lived in McLean County. His expenses for this trip were paid by George Perrin Davis, who was president of the McLean County Historical Society at the time. At the Society's meeting on December 1, 1906, he showed photographs and relics of his visit to Kansas, and loaned the society a prayer stick and several photos. The members were mightily impressed. From these visits, Custer drafted a series of manuscripts on subjects such as Kickapoo vocabulary; the religious doctrines of Kannekuk; ceremonial dances; and the government school in Horton, KS, among others.

In 1909, Custer became a paid "custodian" (or curator) of the historical society, a position he held until 1917. Clearly, his earlier work on behalf of the society, capped by is two visits to Kansas, paid off in the form of steady employment. He took charge of the historical society's collections in August 1909, busying himself with organizing displays and conducting tours. At that time, the historical society was housed on the third floor of the McLean County Courthouse (today, that room serves as storage for the Museum's textile collections). As custodian, Custer also headed a fundraising drive aimed at the construction of stand-alone historical society building.

January 1917 marked the passing of both George P. Davis and John H. Burnham, another key figure in the establishment and early years of the historical society. Custer's falling out with the society came at this time, though the reasons for his acrimonious departure remain unknown. We do know that Custer refused to recognize the appointment William B. Carlock as treasurer to replace Burnham. On that basis, Custer then refused to hand over subscription lists, pledges, certificates of deposit, and bank books he held as a member of the society's building fund committee. During the ensuing battle between Custer and the historical society, Custer admitted to burning membership lists and tossing valuable coins from the society's collections into both the lake at Houghton Park (today State Farm Park) and the lake at Miller Park.

He "deeply regretted his acts and said that he could give no reasonable explanation for committing them and asked for leniency." Custer was eventually relieved of custodianship of the collection and he promptly left the Historical Society.

Also during this time, Custer established a competing organization called the Central Illinois Historical Society. Under the auspices of this new society, Custer published a series of pamphlets, including Pioneer Portraits of Central Illinois (1923); Central Illinois Death Notices, 1848-1870 (1924), and Asiatic Cholera in Central Illinois, 1834-1873 (1930).

This collection was deposited in the memory of Roland Behrend, 1976.


Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains materials relating to early McLean County History. There are many scrapbooks and manuscripts written by Milo Custer and much of his family history. The collection dates from the early 1860s to the early 1990s with the bulk of items from the early 1900s.

Box and Folder Inventory
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Box 1: Biographical Information and Custer Family Genealogy
Folder 1:
Biographical Information
1.1.1 “Custer, Milo b 1880 d 1952” finding aid
1.1.2 Custer Collection donated by Mrs. Roland D. Behrends in memory of Roland C. Behrends; list
1.1.3 Milo Custer history
Folder 2:
School Land Sales
1.2.1 “Sale of School Funds” dated March 13, 1834; list of names, lot numbers, and price per acre
Folder 3:
Local Historical Notes
1.3.1 Local Historical Notes, Newspaper Clippings Etc. No. 6 McLean Co. Ill. By Milo Custer Heyworth, Ill, 1907
1.3.2 Transcribed Notebook from Milo Custer; 1909
Folder 4:
McLean County Museum of History
1.3.3 Letter from Milo Custer from W.B. Brigham dated April 19, 1948 regarding errors in information with various Native American tribes in Illinois
1.4.1 McLean County Historical Society proposal and paperwork
1.4.2 “Custer In A Broadside” Article from the Bulletin; photocopy, March 1917
1.4.3 “Custer In A Broadside” Article from the Bulletin; original, March 1917
1.4.4 “Report of Special Committee”
1.4.5 “To the Members of the McLean County Historical Society”
Folder 5:
Second Triennial Report, 1923
1.5.1 Second Triennial Report of the Central Illinois Historical Society; 1923, 8 pgs.; by Milo Custer
Folder 6:
Supplement to Custer Families
1.6.1 Supplement to Custer Families
1 Custer Genealogy; 1944, 149 pgs.; by Milo Custer (3 copies)
2 Adventures in Ancestry; undated, 49 pgs. of text; by C. C. Custer
3 Custer Mitchell Kennamer: Partial Copy; 1944, pgs 69-71; by Milo Custer
4 The Custer Families; 1912, unnumbered; includes newspaper clippings and handwritten notes; by Milo Custer
5 Central Illinois Death Notices 1848-1870; 1924, 26 pgs.; by Milo Custer (7 copies)
6 McLean County, Illinois Marriages, 1831-1841; 1925, 28 pgs.; by Milo Custer (3 copies)
7 The Original Town of Bloomington, Illinois and Its First Proprietors; 1923, 36 pgs.; by Milo Custer (2 copies)
8 Old Popular Songs, undated, 32 pgs.
9 Soldiers of the War of 1812 Whose Bounty Land Grants Were Located in Peoria County, Illinois; 1913, 6 pgs.; by Milo Custer (12 copies)
10 Soldiers of the Revolution and the War of 1812 Buried in McLean County, Illinois; 1912, 60 pgs.; by Milo Custer
11 Soldiers of the War of 1812 Whose Bounty Lands Were Located in Woodford County, Illinois; 1913, 18 pgs.; by Milo Custer (9 copies)
12 Soldiers of the War of 1812 Whose Bounty Land Grants Were Located in McLean County, Illinois; 1912, 40 pgs.; by Milo Custer
13 Pioneer Portraits of Central Illinois; 1923, 36 pgs.; by Milo Custer
14 Central Illinois Obituaries 1871-1880 (Compiled from Old Newspapers and Other Sources; 1912, 24 pgs.; by Milo Custer. With handwritten note.
15 Central Illinois Obituaries 1871-1880 Part Two; 1912, 18 pgs.; by Milo Custer (3 copies)
16 The Name, Bloomington, and the “Ington” Names; 1925, 12 pgs.; by Milo Custer
17 Old Family Records Numbers one, two, and three reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society
18 Old Family Records Number Four; originally compiled and printed by Milo Custer, 1914; reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society
19 Old Family Records Number Five; Originally compiled and printed by Milo Custer 1919; reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society (2 copies)
20 Old Family Records Number Six; originally compiled and printed by Milo Custer 1922; reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society
21 Old Family Records Numbers Seven and Eight; reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society (2 copies)
22 Old Family Records No. 7; 1922, 24 pgs.; by Milo Custer (2 copies)
23 Asiatic Cholera In Central Illinois 1834-1873; 1930, 50 pgs; by Milo Custer
24 Descendants of Archealeous Parker; 1913, 12 pgs.; by Milo Custer (2 copies)
25 Custer’s Topical Index to Duis; undated, 44 pgs; compiled by Milo Custer
26 An Open Letter from the Rev. Henry M. Field, D.D. to Col. Robert G. Ingersoll; undated, 55 pgs. unknown author
27 Library Catalogue of the McLean County Historical Society; 1915, 27 pgs.
28 The Reverend Alexander Miller of Virginia and some of his Descendants; 1910, 35 pgs.; by Milo Custer
Box 2:Scrapbooks I
2.1 “Newspaper Clippings of E.M. Prince 1898-1899, etc. No. One. 1909;” 98 pgs.; newspaper clippings with an index at front of book.
2.2 Volume I Number 4; Made by Milo Custer;” 101 pgs.; newspaper clippings with an index at front of book.
2.3 “Volume I, No. 6 1898-1899;” 61 pgs.; newspaper clippings with an index in front of book.
Box 3: Scrapbooks II
3.1 “Newspaper Clippings 1899 Vol. I No. 2 by Milo Custer;” index at front of scrapbook.
3.2 "Newspaper Clippings saved by E.M. Prince 1898-1899, etc. No. Six;” 1909
Box 4: Scrapbooks III
4.1 “Newspaper Clippings Vol. I No. 5 1898-1899;” 93 pgs.; index at front of book.
4.2 Scrapbook containing newspaper clippings of birthdays, anniversaries, and obituaries from 1909
4.3 “Newspaper Clippings on Genealogical Subjects; scrapbook published during the month of November, 1909” collected by Milo Custer, Bloomington, ILL; contains newspaper clippings of obituaries, birthdays, anniversaries of Bloomington citizens
Box 5: Miscellaneous Manuscripts- (Coming soon)
COMING SOON!
Box 6: Kickapoo (Coming soon)
COMING SOON!
Box 7: Genealogical Manuscripts (Coming soon)
COMING SOON!
Box 8: Duplicate Manuscripts
1 “A Few Family Records No. 7.” Compiled and printed by Milo Custer, Bloomington, Illinois; 1922
2 “McLean County, Illinois Marriages, 1831-1841.” Compiled and printed by Milo Custer, Bloomington, Illinois; 1925 (3 copies)
3 “Central Illinois Death Notices, 1848-1870.” Compiled and printed by Milo Custer, Bloomington, Illinois; 1924 (7 copies)
4 “Soldiers of the War of 1812 Whose Bounty Land Grants Were Located in Woodford County, Illinois.” Milo Custer Bloomington, Illinois; 1913 (8 copies)
5 “The Original Town of Bloomington, Illinois, and Its First Proprietors.” Compiled and printed by Milo Custer, Bloomington, Illinois; 1923 (2 copies)
6 “Central Illinois Obituaries 1871-1880 (Compiled from Old Newspapers and Other Sources).” By Milo Custer Bloomington, Illinois; 1912
7 “1871-1880 Central Illinois Obituaries; Part Two N-Z.” by Milo Custer (2 copies; one in white envelope)
8 “Archelaus R. Parker, and Descendants.” by Milo Custer
9 Reprints, “Central Illinois Death Notices 1848-1870.” Compiled and printed by Milo Custer Bloomington, Illinois; 1924 (4 copies)
10 “Old Family Records Numbers Seven and Eight.” Reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society
11 “Old Family Records, Number Five.” Originally compiled and printed by Milo Custer 1919; Reprinted by the Bloomington-Normal Genealogical Society 1969
12 “The Reverend Alexander Miller of Virginia and some of his Descendants” by Milo Custer
13 Custer Genealogies; 1944, 149 pgs.; by Milo Custer (2 copies)