My interest in the 5th Regiment Cavalry was spurred by my discovery that my great-great grandfather, Samuel Truehart, served in the unit during the Civil War. The internet data source that enabled my research was the National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Project, which maintains a database containing information about each of the 230,000 soldiers who served in the United States Colored Troops and brief regimental histories.


Samuel Truehart was born to Peter and Maria Truehart (Trueheart) in Shelby County, Kentucky in 1843. According to family oral history, Peter Truehart, a cooper (barrelmaker) and a freeman, bought his wife out of slavery.  Peter, Maria and their many other children moved to Jeffersonville, Indiana after the war.

According the the muster roles of the 5th USCC, Samuel Truehart was a slave in Frankfort, Kentucky before volunteering to serve the Union cause. It is believed that he married Mary Elliot, also of Frankfort, just prior to enlisting in the service in the late summer of 1864. At the time, Mary, a slave reportedly born in Baltimore, was a cook at a boarding house in Frankfort. According to family oral history, she ran away from her owner to marry Samuel.

Samuel Truehart enrolled in the Union Army on September 11, 1864 at age twenty-one and was mustered into Company E of the 5th Regiment Cavalry of the United Stated Colored Troops on September 12, 1864 at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. According to Company E's Descriptive Book, he was 5' 7" tall, with black hair and black eyes and was a farmer at the time of his enlistment. The name of his owner at the time of enlistment was Lewis Young.  Based on the date of his enlistment, it is surmised that he participated in both Burbridge' s (9/64-10/64) and Stoneman's (12/64) raids on Saltville. According to his compiled service record, Samuel Truehart was hospitalized at the Convalescent Camp, U.S.A. Hospital at Camp Nelson for an unknown reason from October 14, 1864 until he returned to active duty in December 1864. Truehart was mustered out on March 16, l866 in Helena, Arkansas.

After the war, Samuel and Mary Truehart had five children in Frankfort: Emma Deen Truehart, born Feb. 20, 1867; Ann May Bell (Annabelle) Truehart, born Dec. 25, 1869; Margaret Eleanor Truehart, born July 16, 1870; William Henry Truehart, born April 3, 1872; and Samuel Thomas Truehart born, April 12, 1874.  Margaret Eleanor Truehart died before her first birthday.


William Henry & Samuel Thomas Truehart


Mary & Emma Deen Truehart Covington (boy believed to be Emma's son)

About ten years after the end of the Civil War, Samuel Truehart moved his family to western Kansas to take possession and farm a forty-acre plot of land granted to him by the United States Government. Their move was part of a July, 1877 migration of Black "exodusters" from Kentucky, who established a settlement in Graham County, Kansas, which they named Nicodemus (now a National Historic Site). Once in Kansas, Truehart purchased an additional 120 acres in Graham County, but settled his family in Atchison, Kansas, as Mary refused to live on the remote farm in western Kansas (the farm, located seven miles from Nicodemus, is still intact and owned by their descendants). Together, Sam and Mary raised their four children to adulthood.

Nicodemus Town Hal
Nicodemus, Town Hall (photo taken July 2005)

Nicodemus School
Nicodemus School (photo taken July 2005)


Truehart Family (l-r Clarence D. Mack, Annabelle Truehart Mack, Mary Elliot Truehart, Samuel Thomas Truehart, Emma Deen Truehart Covington, Samuel Truehart & William Henry Truehart)


Emma Deen Truehart, Clarence Mack & Annabelle Truehart Mack


William Henry Truehart, Audra Truehart McCullough (Delany), Samuel Thomas Truehart, Mary Elliott Truehart & Phyllis McCullough (Brown)

Samuel Truehart died in Atchison on August 12, 1897, leaving his wife and four adult children. He had only one grandchild who lived to adulthood, Audra Truehart, born to Samuel Thomas Truehart on July 16, 1904. Audra also had only one child, Phyllis McCullough (Brown), who has four sons (Steven, David, Richard, and Gary Brown) and nine grandchildren (Anya, Marcus, Nicole, Christopher, Jason, Sasha, Taylor, Alexandra & Ryan Brown).


Truehart Family Grave Site
Mount Vernon Cemetery, Atchison, Kansas


Jason Samuel & Sasha Nyeri Brown at 
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Washington, DC
 September 2002


Jason Samuel, Phyllis and David Brown Joined by Reenactors Representing the 54th Massachusetts Infantry
 Pvt. Gerald Wellington, Cpl. Norm Hill, Cpl. Charles Rawlins & Sgt. Bill Radcliff
Saltville, Virginia  - October 2, 1999 


Sasha Nyeri and Jason Samuel Brown Light Luminaries Honoring the Fallen Men 
of the 5th and 6th USCC at the Seventh Annual Memorial & Remembrance Service 
Saltville, VA - October 2, 2004
Photo Credit: Bill Archer

David Brown ad Frank Smith
David Brown with Frank Smith, Founder and Director
 of the African American Civil War Memorial & Museum (May 2005)

David & Phyllis Brown on Truehart Farm

David & Phyllis Brown on Truehart Farm in Graham County, Kansas
(July 2005)

Remains of Sam Truehart's dugout residence on farm

Home