With industry and determination as dominant qualities, Frank D. Custer has made steady progress in the business world, being now the owner of a valuable fruit farm near Bartlesville and also having oil wells on his property. He was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, the boyhood home of General Lew Wallace of military and literary fame, on the 6th of August, 1855. Three of his brothers served in the Civil war and one of these, A. R. Custer, is now living retired in Bartlesville with his family.
Frank D. Custer acquired his education in the public schools of Thornton, Indiana, and when seventeen years of age became connected with the mercantile establishment of his friend, Billy Emmett, but at the end of a year he resumed his studies. Owing to ill health he was advised by his friend, Dr. Jack Davis, who was greatly interested in his welfare, to go to a higher altitude and he, accordingly, went to Ottawa, Kansas, reaching that place on the 3d of January, 1878. The climate there proved very beneficial and at the termination of a year he was completely restored to health. For ten years he remained a resident of that locality, following agricultural pursuits, and came to Indian Territory at the end of that period, locating at the head of Coon creek in 1884. Having a thorough knowledge of the breeding and care of horses, hogs and cattle, he engaged in the handling of thoroughbred stock, having some fine Norman horses, but lost the greater part of them through Spanish fever, although he was fairly successful in the raising of hogs. He then gave up farming and went to Coffeyville, Kansas, where for five years he devoted his attention to merchandising. His brother, J. C. Custer, who had been associated with him in business until that time, then went to Arkansas, where he specialized in the growing of apples, becoming the owner of a fine orchard, but owing to failing health he left that state and returned to the farm in Oklahoma, here passing away as a victim of Bright’s disease. The subject of this review now resides on this farm. After leaving Coffeyville, Frank D. Custer came to Bartlesville and became the pioneer truck gardener of this locality, while six years later he purchased his present farm of ten acres, situated two miles northwest of the town, on the Mound road, on which he has made his home for eleven years. He is specializing in the growing of fruit and has made a close study of soil and climatic conditions here, conducting his horticultural operations along scientific lines, and he also raises poultry for the market. He has added many improvements to his place, on which there are three oil wells, which greatly increase its value.
Mr. Custer is unmarried. He has ever been a stanch supporter of the cause of temperance, becoming connected with prohibition interests at Ottawa, Kansas, when but twenty-three years of age. His study of the political situation has led him to become a supporter of the Republican Party and he is an active worker in its ranks, being sent as a delegate to the Republican state convention of Kansas which nominated Mr. St. John for the third term for governor. He was defeated, however, and subsequently was nominated for President of the United States on the temperance ticket, and it was through this ticket that James G. Blaine, the Republican candidate for that office, met defeat. In operating his farm Mr. Custer follows the most progressive methods, keeping abreast of the times in every way, and he is recognized as one of the successful agriculturists of Washington County, where he has long made his home, his many admirable traits of character winning for him the unqualified respect and esteem of an extensive circle of friends.