The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 10,441 black Americans with Conner as their last name. That represented 16% of the total of 64,572 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Conner.
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.
1,241 people named Conner were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 274 as mixed.
There was a total of 21,803 people with the name.
Conner 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 2,509 people with the last name Conner as black within a total of 23,620 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 3,078 people named Conner as black within a total of 30,195.
Historic Black Figures With The Conner Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Conner as their last name.
George Sherman Conner
- Born: 1864
- From: Blount County, Tennessee
- Died: 1939
George Conner was born to free black parents who encouraged his education. His father had been enslaved but purchased his own freedom. George’s parents raised their family on a farm in East Tennessee.
George became a teacher and taught in Arkansas and Texas for several years. He then entered the Flint Medical College in New Orleans to qualify as a doctor.
He moved with his wife to Waco, Texas, where he opened a practice. He spent twenty years as a physican treating the black and hispanic communities.
Aside from his medical practice, George was an active and influential member of black clubs and organizations, including the masons.
When he spoke at events, he sought to highlight black achievements. His fellow black medical professionals in the county elected him president of their medical association.
Conner In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Conner surname from military service.
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 Conner was in July 1876. Nathan Conner was a Saddler in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in July 1876 at Camp Vincent, New Mexico.
Another entry was in July 1905. Charley Conner was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry.
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.
One of the earliest entries for Conner was for Dempsey Conner from Norfolk, Virginia. He enlisted in July 1863 at Norfolk when he was aged 23.
The record shows that Dempsey was assigned on December 1863 to the ship Young America.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Farmer. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
John H. Conner
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Baltimore in May 1863. John H. was aged 21 and was from Wilmington, Delaware.
He was assigned to the ship Maratanza on March 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter. His naval rank was also Landsman.