Custer Lives!

Brown-Pusey House

I discovered the Brown-Pusey house a couple of years ago while researching General George Armstrong Custer’s post Civil War assignment to Kentucky. In July 2009 I made a trek to Elizabethtown, KY and visited it.

The house, initially known as the Hill House, was built in 1825 by John Y. Hill. In 1840 additions were made to the house and it became a boarding house. Two brother doctors, William A. Pusey and Alfred Brown Pusey, purchased the house in 1922. They restored the house, which had belonged to their aunt Rebecca Hill.

The house is quite easy to find and well marked at 128 North Main Street. It’s open to public viewing Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM. After examining the spotless exterior I ventured inside and found it to be very clean and well maintained. I was met and greeted by a very friendly and helpful lady who got me started.

I made my way to the Pusey Room Museum. If you are over six feet tall like me, duck! The doorway wasn’t very tall. Professional and family memorabilia from the Pusey family of physicians is displayed. Civil War artifacts are also on display. There’s a section devoted to General Custer who resided in the house from 1871-1873. Among the General Custer items displayed are an original newspaper interview with Libbie Custer and a photo of General Custer bearing her autograph. General Custer wrote in several letters that he enjoyed staying here. Sadly the room that the Custer family resided in no longer exits, having been torn down. Two bricks from the Samuel L. Patten house are displayed. Thomas Lincoln, father of President Abraham Lincoln, married Sarah Bush Johnston in the Patten house on December 2, 1819.

A corner cabinet in the dining room was crafted by Thomas Lincoln. The cabinet was crafted for the Hoskinson family, relatives of Thomas Lincoln. The cabinet was donated to the house in 1998 for public display. You can tour unguided and take your time looking over the various period furnished rooms. I really liked the living room. The bedrooms were small compared to most of today’s large master bedrooms.

If you desire to do some research, the Genealogy Library contains nearly complete Hardin County tax records, census records, marriage licenses, wills, deeds, death certificates, and many other documents. There is a $5 fee per day to access the records.

Behind the Brown-Pusey House is the Cunningham Garden. The garden was established by Sallie Cunningham Pusey as a memorial to her family. The garden contains a covered pagoda, terraced flower beds, decorative shrubbery, dogwoods, and large trees. I conducted my interview with Mr. Charlie Skees, the Costumed Walking Tour’s General Custer in the garden.

Some community programs put on here are themed murder mysteries, Halloween festivities, Santa workshops, and genealogy workshops. Each Wednesday in March the History Theatre conducts a presentation on historical events in Elizabethtown where students can interact with famous local and national personalities from the past. General Custer is one of the characters portrayed.

The Cunningham Garden and Brown-Pusey House can be rented for private functions. Children will get bored pretty quickly here I’m afraid. It’s a great spot for grownups however. You men who are Civil War buffs can share this one with your wives or girlfriends, there’s plenty to see for both of you. In addition there are tons of other attractions within five minutes walking distance of the grounds.

 The Kentucky Historical Society marker.

 The Brown-Pusey House.

 The Pusey Room Museum.

Part of the General Custer exhibit.

An original newspaper interview with Elizabeth (Libbie) Bacon Custer.

Bricks from the house where Sarah Bush Johnston married Thomas Lincoln.

The cabinet in the right corner was made by President Abraham Lincoln's father.

 The living room.

This room can be rented for private functions. The Cunningham garden is behind it.

The master bedroom.

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