Abbott As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 2,578 black Americans with Abbott as their last name. That represented 5% of the total of 52,739 entries.

This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Abbot.

We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States.

After The Civil War

The 1870 census was the first survey after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1850 and 1860, only free African Americans were recorded in the census. The many enslaved were omitted.

From 1870 onwards, all black Americans were included.

398 people named Abbott were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 77 as mixed.

There was a total of 12,387 people with the name.

Abbott In The 1900 And 1940 Census

The mixed category was dropped from the census in 1900, so we just need to look at the black numbers this time.

The 1900 census recorded 628 people with the last name Abbott as black within a total of 19,892 that year.

By the way, the mixed category returned in the 1910 and 1920 censuses. It was dropped again in 1930, but replaced with extra categories for colored and non-white in a way that seems confusing now.

This changed again in 1940 and we can simply focus on one black category.

The 1940 census recorded 885 people named Abbott as black within a total of 29,980.

Historic Black Figures With The Abbott Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Abbott as their last name.

Cleveland Abbott

  • Born: 1894
  • From: Yankton, South Dakota
  • Died: 1955

Cleveland Abbott excelled in athletics at Watertown High School (16 letters) and South Dakota State University (14 letters).

After serving as an officer in WW1, Abbott taught at the Kansas Vocational School in Topeka, Kansas.

In 1923, he accepted a position as Athletic Director and Professor at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He coached the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers for 32 seasons.

Abbott was also a pioneer in track and field. He coached the first African-American Olympic champion, Alice Coachman (1948 high jump), and the second, Mildred McDaniel (1956 high jump).

I don’t usually cover notable figures in sports or music on this website as those are the two areas where African Americans have often got their due recognition.

But Cleveland Abbott is here because of his achievements as an educator. Perry Wallace was another outstanding athlete who became a lawyer and an educator.

Robert Abbott

  • Born: 1870
  • From: St. Simons Island, Georgia
  • Died: 1940

Robert Abbott earned a law degree from Kent College of Law in Chicago. Despite facing racial discrimination that impeded his law career, his passion for social change led him to establish a newspaper.

He founded the Chicago Defender in 1905, which became one of the most influential Black newspapers in American history.

The Chicago Defender played a pivotal role in the Great Migration, as it encouraged and informed African Americans in the South about opportunities in the North.

Through his powerful editorials and the newspaper’s wide circulation, Abbott sought to address racial injustices, advocate for civil rights, and promote social and economic progress for African Americans.

He was posthumously inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Hall of Fame in 2009, honoring his lifetime achievements and contributions to the field of journalism.

Here are just a few other notable black journalists in the Hall Of Fame:

Abbott In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of for family history research. Here are examples of the Abbott surname from several different military services.

Buffalo Soldiers

Five regiments for black soldiers were formed during the Civil War. They were known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Their records are part of the national archive of military monthly returns. The information includes the year and place of birth, where they enlisted, their occupation, and their height.

One of the earliest military entries for Abbott was in February 1868. Wesley Abbott was a Private in the Tenth Cavalry..

One of the later entries was in January 1914. James E Abbott was a First Lieutenant in the Tenth Cavalry.

If you are researching military ancestors, there is a free index of these records on and

You have to create an account on either website, but you do not need to pay for the Buffalo Soldiers archive.

World War One

Emmett J. Scott was the black co-founder of a Texas newspaper in 1893 to serve the African American community.

When World War One loomed, he was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to work for the Secretary of War. After the war, he wrote about the service of black soldiers.

Cleve L. Abbott is listed as a First Lieutenant in the Officer Reserves Corp (O.R.C). He came from Watertown, South Dakota.

Abbott was assigned to Camp Meade near Middletown in Pennsylvania.