updated 8/19/2006 2:20:36 PM ET 2006-08-19T18:20:36

A copy of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's life insurance policy is on display at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park here.

The replica of the $5,000 New York Life Insurance policy was taken out on June 4, 1874, about two years before he died at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

New York Life Insurance Co. presented the replica of the insurance policy to park officials on Thursday, along with a $5,000 donation to the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

The replica policy is at the Custer House, on Custer's desk.

"I think people are going to get a kick out of that," said Tracy Potter, executive director of Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

Custer's wife, Libbie, was the beneficiary of his policy.

"When General Custer rode out to Little Bighorn, he left his Gatling guns behind, but he remembered to check for his life insurance," Potter said.

A fine investment
The policy would be worth about $500,000 today.

On June 25, 1876, the Oglala Sioux war chief Crazy Horse led the attack by hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors against Custer's 7th Cavalry, killing Custer and more than 200 of his soldiers. The Battle of the Little Big Horn took place about two miles south of what is now Crow Agency, Mont.

Potter said several of Custer's officers had life insurance policies ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

"Apparently, the officers who took out $10,000 policies didn't have quite as much confidence in Custer as he had in himself," Potter said.

The insurance company "paid out a lot of money," he said.

Fred Sievert, the insurance company's president, visited the state park and Custer's house earlier this summer, Potter said.

When Sievert left, he was determined to find the life insurance policy for Custer, Potter said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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