|JAMES WILLIAM CUSTER, a prominent farmer of the town of Dunn, was born near Madison, Jefferson county, Ind., on March 29, 1834. His father, Jesse Custer, a descendant of Daniel Boone, was born near Lexington, Ky., in April, 1800; the mother, née Nancy Spurgen, was born in the same locality in 1804. Of the seven children in the family four are still living–Rual F., Isaac, and Daniel Boone, all living the old home in Indiana, and James William, a resident of Dunn township, and the subject of this sketch.What opportunity James William had for an education came in the schools of Kentucky. When eighteen he started life for himself.
His first employment was cutting saw logs, and it occupied his time until he was twenty. Another year was spent in a lumber mill and in 1855 he came to Wisconsin, working as a farm hand for a year.
After five years spent in working land on shares he was enabled to buy a piece of land one hundred and sixty acres wholly unimproved; today this is one of the best equipped and most successful farms in the vicinity.
Politically he is a man of influence in the councils of the Republican party and for six terms served a town chairman and one term as supervisor.
Mr. Custer for the past seventeen years has been custodian of the school funds.
In religious matters he is a stanch believer in the principals of the Methodist Episcopal church.
On December 11, 1856, he married Gertrude, daughter of Philip and Catherine (Dubois) Vanburen, of Kingston, N.Y. Mrs. Custer was born July 17, 1838, and was educated in the public schools of Kingston. Of thirteen children of the Vanburen family Mrs. Custer is the only one still living. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Custer has been blessed with eight children-John Wesley, born January 3, 1858, married Mary J. Shoultz, and lives in the town of Dunn; Frank, born January 19, 1860, married Louisa Shadel, and now lives in South Madison; Myrtilla Florence born November 29, 1861, married Myron Conry, and lives in Bruce, Wis.; Boone Cary, born December 13, 1863, died February 9, 1883; Jesse, born September 6, 1866, married Jessie Morse and now lives in Olivia, Minn.; James William, Jr., born March 4, 1870, married Lena Palmer, now resides in Delton, Wis., Philip, born February 16, 1873, married Jennie Morse, and now lives on his father’s farm; and George Washington, born October 18, 1876, and lives in the town of Blooming Grove.
Mr. Custer expects to spend the remainder of his days in the midst of the community in which he has attained so prominent a place.
1906 History of Dane County, Wisconsin, p. 214-215.