Coburn As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 1,321 black Americans with Coburn as their last name. That represented 10% of the total of 13,741 entries.

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

We end with a review of early records of black military service in the United States and a look at Coburns in the Freedmen’s Bureau archive.

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.

114 people named Coburn were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 15 as mixed.

There was a total of 3,835 people with the name.

Coburn 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 158 people with the last name Coburn as black within a total of 5,116 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 377 people named Coburn as black within a total of 7,286.

Historic Black Figures With The Coburn Surname

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

John Coburn

  • Born: 1811
  • From: Boston, Massachussetts
  • Died: 1873

John Coburn was a tailor with a successful clothing business in Boston that sold expensive garments like tweeds and cashmere.

Coburn was a committed abolitionist. He supported the abolitionist Liberator newspaper by placing ads for his businesses.

He ran an upmarket gambling house that also served as a hiding place for fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Writers for the Liberator

“The Liberator” was a prominent abolitionist newspaper in the United States during the early to mid-19th century. It was based in Boston, Massachusetts, and was known for its strong stance against slavery.

Several notable black abolitionists wrote for the newspaper or had their speeches and works reprinted. These included:

Coburn In Black Military Records

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

President Lincoln authorized the use of “colored troops” in combat in the Union Army in 1863, although some black units had fought before then.

William Coburn of King and Queen County, Virginia, enlisted in December 1863 when he was eighteen. He served with the 1st U.S. Colored Cavalry.

Guy Coburn was recorded in military records in 1865 as a forty-year-old private in the 104th U.S. Colored Infantry.

Coburn 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 records.

There are over ninety records for Coburns in the archives.

One record is for Ginny Coburn, a ten-year-old orphan who is apprenticed in 1866 to James Coburn as a housekeeper until the age of eighteen. This adult may be an uncle.

Another record is for the residence of James, Adam, and Jane Coburn in Caddo, Louisiana, in 1868.