Elizabeth Clift Bacon Custer (April 8, 1842 - April 4, 1933) was the wife of General George Armstrong Custer. She spent most of their marriage in relatively close proximity to him despite his numerous military campaigns as a commanding officer in the United States Cavalry. After his death, she became an outspoken advocate for her husband's legacy through her popular books and lectures. Largely as a result of her endless campaigning on his behalf, Custer's iconic portrayal as the gallant fallen hero amid the glory of 'Custer's Last Stand' was a canon of American history for almost a century after his death.
Elizabeth "Libbie" Bacon was born in Monroe, Michigan, in 1842, the daughter of a wealthy and influential judge. Tragedy marked much of her childhood, with her three siblings and mother all dying before Elizabeth's thirteenth year. As the only one of the judge's children that would live to adulthood, her father doted on her. Elizabeth was both beautiful and intelligent, graduating from a girls' seminary in June 1862 at the head of her class. Her father hoped she would make a good marriage with a man from her own elevated social status, and she rejected several suitors.
She met her future husband in fall 1862, in the midst of the American Civil War. Custer later wrote that he fell deeply in love as of their first formal meeting. She eventually returned these feelings, but her father refused to allow Custer into the Bacon home or to permit her to meet Custer outside of it, much less get married, as Custer proposed in the final week of 1862. Custer was from a poor, undistinguished family, and the Judge hoped Libbie would have better than the life of an army wife. After Custer, just prior to the Battle of Gettysburg (where he played a significant role), was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General, Judge Bacon finally relented and they were married on February 9, 1864.