The Bullitt County History Museum

Reason Northern
African American Soldier

by Daniel Buxton

Reason, known as Reese, was born a slave in Bullitt County on May 10, 1845 to Edmund Northern and Sarah Sharp. Reese's father was a slave and belonged to Richard P. Simmons on March 24, 1845 was valued at $200. He was sold to Nicholas Simmons for $201 after the death of Richard Simmons. According to Reese's Freedman's Bank record Reese was owned by George Simmons.

Civil War

According to records Reese enlisted in the Company C, 122nd Infantry Regiment U.S. Colored Troops, Union Army on October 17, 1864 in Louisville, Kentucky. At this time this is all the hard facts we have about Reese's service. The following is the history of his Company and Regiment.

This unit served in defense of Portsmouth, VA until February, 1865 and fought in siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond, VA from February to April 1865. This unit served the department of Virginia until June 1865. The unit then moved to Brazos Santiago, Texas and was there June and July 1865. The unit then served at Brownsville and at other various points on the Rio Grande until February 1866. The soldiers mustered out on February 8, 1865.

According to records Reese had a scar from a gun shot wound in his side and a scar on his throat these may have been injuries suffered in battle during the war.

After the War

Reese came back to Bullitt County, Kentucky and settled on Buffalo Run Creek south of the Salt River. According to census records Reese and his wife Mary married about 1862 before the war. In August of 1870 when the census was taken Reese and his wife had a son named Thomas. Thomas was born on December 28, 1861. According to the 1880 census Thomas' surname was Rogers. I believe based on his date of birth and census record he may have been Mary's child from a previous relationship. Reese and Alonzo Robards bought 22 and ½ acres from John L. Crigler and his wife Elizabeth on December 23, 1870. On October 31, 1873 the Bullitt County Court gave Reason Northern the right to solemnize marriage. On August 14, 1884 Alonzo Robards sold his share of the property to Reese Northern and his wife. On the same day Reese took out a mortgage on this property from William Simmons. The mortgage was paid off on March 3, 1891. Around this time Reese allowed a school to be built and started on his property it was called Coperas Hollow School. W.C. Herps the county surveyor sold Reese and his wife about 10 acres of land for 10 dollars on September 28, 1901. On April 19, 1902 Reese sold ¼ acre of land to the Afro-American Charitable Institution Society. It is not known if Reese was a part of this society or not. The trustees of The Coperas Run Colored Church bought ¼ acre of land from Reese and his wife on May 24, 1912. Reese was a minister. It is unknown at this time if he was the minster of this church or involved in its founding. Reese and his wife made the decision to move into the city, so on November 26, 1915 he and his wife bought property in the city from C.P. Troutman and Ada his wife. The next day, on November 27, 1915, Reese and his wife sold their property in the country to Ella B. Shaw. Reese served as a minister at several churches. He was said to be one of the best men in the county. Most people called him Uncle Reese. Reese died on July 7, 1924 and was buried in the Hall African American Cemetery on Highway 44 West. His wife died on May 18, 1931 and was buried in there as well.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jan 2024 . Page URL: