The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 14,177 black Americans with Cross as their last name. That represented 18% of the total of 77,557 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Cross.
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.
1,605 people named Cross were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 295 as mixed.
There was a total of 13,977 people with the name.
Cross 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 3,784 people with the last name Cross as black within a total of 25,545 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 5,237 people named Cross as black within a total of 41,033.
Historic Black Figures With The Cross Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Cross as their last name.
- Born: 1826
- From: Louden County, Virginia
- Died: 1897
Thomas Cross was born enslaved in Virginia. He moved to Ohio in 1851 where he married a year later. Thomas seved in the Union Army during the Civil War and returned to Ohio in 1865.
In 1869, Thomas moved his family to Michigan where he bought a farm near Remus in Mecosta County. He paid the price of a horse for forty acres.
Thomas and his wife Catherine had twelve children. They are part of the history of “Old Settler” families in Michigan. Some of their descendants are still in the area.
Cross In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Cross surname from different military services:
- Buffalo soldiers
- Black civil war sailors
- Tuskegee airmen
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 Cross was in June 1876. Jerry Cross was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in June 1876 at Fort Union.
Another entry was in July 1912. Early H Cross was a Saddler Sergeant in the U.S. Tenth 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 Cross was for Joseph Cross from Loudon County, Virginia. He enlisted in March 1862 at Washington when he was aged 33.
The record shows that Joseph was assigned on October 1864 to the ship Don.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter. His naval rank was Wardroom Steward.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at New Orleans in September 1864. Henry was aged 29 and was from Lebanon, Connecticut.
He was assigned to the ship South Carolina on September 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Porter. His naval rank was Steerage Cook.
The Tuskegee Airmen were military personnel who served at the Tuskegee Army Airfield or related programs.
Nearly one thousand black pilots graduated from the Tuskegee Institute. They flew single-engine fighter planes or twin-engine bombers. 352 fought in combat.
William Cross graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in October 1943. He qualified as a fighter pilot. William was from Cleveland, Ohio.