Covington As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 12,229 black Americans with Covington as their last name. That represented 45% of the total of 27,068 entries.

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

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.

1,307 people named Covington were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 193 as mixed.

There was a total of 3,837 people with the name.

Covington 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 2,766 people with the last name Covington as black within a total of 7,340 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 4,657 people named Covington as black within a total of 13,172.

Historic Black Figures With The Covington Surname

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

Floyd Covington

  • Born: 1901
  • From: Denver, Colorado
  • Died: 1989

Floyd Covington grew up in Seattle and attended Washburn College in Kansas. He earned a masters in sociology and economics in 1928 from the University of Pittsburgh.

He moved to Los Angeles where he took an administrative position with the YMCA. He spent nineteen years with the organization and also was a director for the city’s Urban League in the 1930s and 40s.

He worked tirelessly to persuade white-owned businesses to employ black workers. He also advocated for housing equality and voting rights.

Covington In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Covington 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 Covington was in October 1867. Samuel Covington was a Sergeant in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in October 1867 at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.

Another entry was in October 1914. Melvin C. Covington 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.

Evans Covington

One of the earliest entries for Covington was for Evans Covington from Baltimore, Maryland. He enlisted in July 1860 at Boston when he was aged 35.

The record shows that Evans was assigned on December 1862 to the ship Richmond. His naval rank was Landsman.

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

James Covington

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Commerce MS in January 1865. James was aged 11 and was from July 1863.

He was assigned to the ship Nymph on January 1865.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Laborer. His naval rank was 2nd Class Boy.

“2nd 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 1st class boy and then to ordinary seaman.