Clemons As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 11,497 black Americans with Clemons as their last name. That represented 43% of the total of 27,022 entries.

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

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.

303 people named Clemons were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 36 as mixed.

There was a total of 1,831 people with the name.

Clemons 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 1,074 people with the last name Clemons as black within a total of 3,801 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 2,858 people named Clemons as black within a total of 9,182.

Historic Black Figures With The Clemons Surname

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

Clarence Clemons

  • Born: 1942
  • From: Norfolk County, Virginia
  • Died: 2011

Clarence Clemons grew up as the grandson of a Baptist preacher and was surrounded by gospel music. He also played saxophone in a jazz band at high school.

A talented college footballer, he also tried out for the Dallas Cowboys. Clemons met Bruce Springsteen in 1971 and joined his rock band, the E Street Band. His playing was a consistent and prominent feature on Springsteen albums.

Clemons also played with Aretha Franklin and Jackson Browne.

Clemons In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Clemons 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 Clemons was in February 1902. Charles W. Clemons was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in February 1902 at Pototan, Panay, Philippine Islands.

Another entry was in May 1914. Earnest C. Clemons 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.

Clemons 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 50 records for Clemons in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Albert
  • Edmund
  • Margaret
  • Rocksey Ann