top of page

Jack Reese


At about twenty-one years old, Jack Reese was the youngest member of Nat Turner’s inner circle. Jack's sister was suppossedly married to Hark Moore, and it was Hark who recruited Jack into the revolt.


Who were Jack's owners?

Jack Reese's first master was Joseph Reese Sr., but he quickly came under the ownership of Reese’s younger son, William Reese. The Reese family moved back to Cabin Pond during the late 1820s. Jack was hired out to a neighbor named Jordan Barnes in 1831. By the summer of 1831, Barnes had allowed Jack to return to the Reese farm and visit his master.


What did Jack do during the revolt?

In the summer of 1831, Jack Reese was recruited into the rebellion by Hark. He would particpate in the rebellion with serious trepidation.


  • “Thomas C. Jones being sworn as a witness says that when the prisoner was brought here in custody he was delivered to him and made the following voluntary confession—That on Sunday preceeding the insurrection Hark one of the insurgents came to him and asked him if he would go with him—Hark took the prisoner to a place where several other negroes were assembled and a dinner prepared—that they explained to him the witness that they intended to rise and kill all the white people that the prisoner one of the company objected and said their number was too few. Hark replied and said as they went on and killed the whites the blacks would join them”

- Trial of Jack Reese, September 5, 1831



  • “Jack, I knew, was only a tool in the hands of Hark.”

- Thomas R. Gray, The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1831


  • “Moses a slave being sworn and charged as a witness for the Commonwealth doth say that the prisoner came to the house of the witness’s master, Mr. Joseph Travis, on Sunday night preceeding the murder of Mr. Travis & family—complained of being sick and wanted to go home but said Hark would not let him go… the witness says Jack went off with the negroes who came to Mr. Travis’ & murdered him and family—the negroes went from Mr. Travis’ to Salathiel Francis and Mrs. Reese—they made the prisoner go with them.”

- Trial of Jack Reese, September 5, 1831



What happened to Jack?

Jack Reese would end up being captured during the rebellion and sentenced to death.


Information about Jack Reese was retrieved from David F. Allmendinger, “The Inner Circle,” in Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2014), 98-99.





bottom of page