This Needs to Stop

Historians must stop giving… credence to rumors of controversial historical figures fathering children with women they allegedly oppressed.  This has become standard operating procedure for writers wishing to gain notoriety in the historical profession.  Latch on to rumors, oral tradition, slander- and give it legitimacy through politically correct currents flowing through society.  Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings garner most of the headlines, but historical revisionists continue to use this accusation to sully the reputations of prominent Americans.  George Armstrong Custer has come to symbolize the evils of American Indian policy; revisionists want to force Indian love children on to his tarnished historical resume’.

A dynamic duo

George loved Libbie Custer… from the moment they were introduced in 1862.  Her family was not impressed with the young cavalryman home on leave (a drunken courting call led to his oath of sobriety.)  His promotion to General at the age of 23 changed Judge Daniel Bacon’s mind and he gave the couple his permission.  The Custers were wed on February 9, 1864.  She stayed as close to her “Autie” as possible throughout the rest of the Civil War and then followed him wherever the army took them.  The two had a fiery love affair which comes through in their playful letters.  Libbie wanted children badly and blamed herself for their inability to conceive.  In fact, George was to blame for their childlessness.  Custer contracted gonorrhea while a cadet at West Point.  The Academy’s medical records show he was treated for it.  The disease more than likely sterilized him.  Custer would never father children…yet historical revisionism can produce immaculate conceptions.

Always by his side

Custer did not father a child with… the Cheyenne woman Monahseetah.  Revisionists base the claim on Cheyenne oral tradition, which is notoriously unreliable, and the testimony of Captain Frederick Benteen, the most vocal Custer critic of them all.  She did have two children after meeting Custer, but the father could not have been George Armstrong.  There is no direct evidence, none.  There is speculation in the form of tall tales found in Indian oral tradition.  There is slander found in the acidic letters from Benteen.  Custer holds a contentious place in American history.  Revisionists are trying to gain the upper hand in the debate with the most unsavory of tactics.



Filed under Ephemera

5 responses to “This Needs to Stop

  1. Good point. Unfortunately history is often…. revisionist, isn’t it?

  2. You make a good point. Another incident like this would be the efforts to prove Lincoln was gay or bisexual. Too often modern historians set out to prove a political agenda and ignore everything that doesn’t fit that agenda or they view historical figures through moderns mores. I think part of it stems from the fact that since so many modern politicians, celebs, military leaders, etc. are flawed, it’s easier to tear down historical figures rather than insist on better from the living.

  3. History of Capitalism

    Annoying/bad history (like the speculation about Lincoln’s sexuality mentioned above) put aside… are you insinuating that there isn’t DNA evidence (recognized even by Jefferson’s descendants) that he got Sally Hemings pregnant, or are you just saying that because of that incident people have decided to go forth and prove similar points about many other historical figures?

    • The Jefferson Memorial Foundation, which operates Monticello, has embraced the DNA results and gone the extra mile by insisting that Jefferson fathered all her children. This blog rejects that line of reasoning on the basis of reasonable doubt.

      Please see the blog post Riddle Me That, for the full explanation of the mess the DNA testing has created.

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