Chappell As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 4,644 black Americans with Chappell as their last name. That represented 20% of the total of 23,634 entries.

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

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 onward, all black Americans were included.

697 people named Chappell were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 82 as mixed.

There was a total of 2,952 people with the name.

Chappell 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 1,024 people with the last name Chappell as black within a total of 6,020 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 1,286 people named Chappell as black within a total of 11,131.

Historic Black Figures With The Chappell Surname

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

Willa Chappell Brown

  • Born: 1906
  • From: Glasgow, Kentucky
  • Died: 1992

Willa Brown was the first African American woman to secure a pilot’s license (1938). She co-founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics to train black pilots. Nearly two hundred became Tuskegee Airmen, the famed black flying unit in WWII.

She was a strong advocate for the integration of the Army Air Corps. Brown became the first black officer in the Civil Air Patrol when appointed Lieutenant in 1942.

Chappell In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Some of the earliest for African Americans date back to the Civil War.

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 Chappell was in May 1885. Andrew Chappell was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in May 1885 at Fort Lowell.

One of the later entries was in March 1905. William Chappell was a Private in the U.S. Ninth 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.

Chappell In The Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau was established after the Civil War to help newly freed African Americans. You can read more in our article on researching the Freedmen archives.

There are over 30 records for Chappell in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Amelia
  • Buete
  • Hannah
  • Vector