The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 4,023 black Americans with Dalton as their last name. That represented 8% of the total of 52,184 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Dalton.
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.
489 people named Dalton were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 117 as mixed.
There was a total of 8,341 people with the name.
Dalton 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 1,129 people with the last name Dalton as black within a total of 15,183 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 1,826 people named Dalton as black within a total of 27,996.
Historic Black Figures With The Dalton Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Dalton as their last name.
- Born: 1794
- From: Gloucester, Massachusetts
- Died: 1883
Thomas Dalton worked in Boston as a bootblack and waiter before he set up a successful clothing business. He joined the black freemasons, the Prince Hall Lodge, in 1825 and was Grand Master for several years.
Along with Kwaku Walker Lewis and other members, Dalton helped set up the Massachusetts General Colored Association for the abolitionist cause.
The association joined the New England Anti-Slavery Society (William Lloyd Garrison’s organization) and campaigned against slavery.
Dalton worked with activists like Robert Morris to improve school conditions for black children in Boston.
Dalton In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Dalton 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 Dalton was in July 1872. John Dalton was a Sergeant in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in July 1872 at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.
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 Dalton was for Edward Dalton from New London, Connecticut. He enlisted in July 16 1862 at New London when he was aged 14.
The record shows that Edward was assigned on July 1 1863 to the ship Pensacola.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter/Barber/Servant. His naval rank was 3rd Class Boy.
“3rd Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who were under eighteen when they enlisted.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at New Orleans in September 18 1862. David was aged 39 and was from Burlington, Massachusetts.
He was assigned to the ship Calhoun on December 31 1863.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Barber. His naval rank was Officers Cook.