Cherry As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 12,718 black Americans with Cherry as their last name. That represented 35% of the total of 35,877 entries.

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

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.

1,146 people named Cherry were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 97 as mixed.

There was a total of 5,074 people with the name.

Cherry 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 2,291 people with the last name Cherry as black within a total of 8,985 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 4,531 people named Cherry as black within a total of 17,965.

Historic Black Figures With The Cherry Surname

Here is a notable African American in history with Cherry as their last name.

Gwendolyn Cherry

  • Born: 1923
  • From: Miami, Florida
  • Died: 1979

Gwen Sawyer’s father was one of the first black doctors in Miami. Gwen taught high school science for several years after graduating from college.

She then studied law at Florida A&M and qualified as an attorney. She married James Cherry, her second husband, in 1961.

When Gwen Cherry was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1970, she was the first black woman in Florida to secure the position. She served four terms as a state legislator.

During her tenure as a legislator, Cherry introduced the state’s Martin Luther King Day and the Equal Rights Amendment.

Cherry In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Cherry surname from military service.

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 Cherry was in August 1898. Jasper A. Cherry was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in August 1898 at Montauk Point, New York.

Another entry was in February 1899. Ernest Cherry was a Private in the U.S. 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.

Black Civil War Sailors

The National Parks Service has a free archive of African American sailors during the Civil War.

The information includes their age, height, rank, occupation, and where and when they enlisted. It also includes every ship that they served on.

You can search the database on the National Parks website.

John Cherry

One of the earliest entries for Cherry was for John Cherry from New York City. He enlisted in August 1863 at New York when he was aged 22.

The record shows that John was assigned on March 1864 to the ship Commander Read.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Laborer. His naval rank was Landsman.

“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.

Thomas Cherry

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Point Lookout in May 1864. Thomas was aged 30 and was from Baltimore, Maryland.

He was assigned to the ship William Bacon on June 1865.

His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.

“1st Class Boy” was a rank generally given to seamen in training, who performed various manual tasks and duties aboard a ship under supervision. This could prepare them for promotion to the rank of ordinary seaman.