Author: John Ruston Pagan


John Custis (ca. 1629–1696)

John Custis was a member of the governor’s Council (1677–1692) and the founder of the Custis family in Virginia. He was raised in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, and moved to the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 1649 or 1650. Custis became wealthy through land speculation, tobacco planting, and facilitating trade between Virginia and the Netherlands and its colonies. Early in the 1670s he built a mansion in Northampton County and named it Arlington; the house was the namesake of Arlington House, the nineteenth-century home of the Washington and Custis families. Custis supported Governor Sir William Berkeley during Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677) and was appointed to the governor’s Council in 1677. He retired in 1692 and died in 1696.