The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 13,471 black Americans with Fowler as their last name. That represented 13% of the total of 104,515 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Fowler.
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.
1,612 people named Fowler were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 298 as mixed.
There was a total of 21,258 people with the name.
Fowler 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 3,602 people with the last name Fowler as black within a total of 35,297 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 5,412 people named Fowler as black within a total of 57,590.
Historic Black Figures With The Fowler Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Fowler as their last name.
- Born: 1858
- From: Fort Plain, New York
- Died: 1913
The baseball color line was firmly established in the late 19th century to bar black players from major and minor league baseball.
Several black leagues were formed with professional and semi-professional clubs. Some of the outstanding players were the best of their generation, regardless of color.
The color line was eventually broken by Jackie Robinson in 1945.
In 1872, a 14-year-old Bud Fowler played for a white team in Pennsylvania.
He was one of the first professional black baseball players.
Historic Black Figures With The Fowler Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Fowler as their last name.
- Born: 1881
- From: Fort Worth, Texas
Stephen Fowler attended Industrial College in Texas before getting a teaching position at a black high school in Fort Worth. He also taught bible classes at Forth Worth’s oldest black church where he met his wife, Manet Harrison, who was the organist.
The couple married in 1915 and became highly influential in their community. They raised their five children to place great importance on education.
One daughter was the first black woman to get a PhD in cultural anthropology. When Nelson Rockefeller was Governor of Texas, he appointed their son to his cabinet.
Fowler In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Fowler 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 Fowler was in March 1874. Albert Fowler was a Sergeant in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in March 1874 at Fort Davis, Texas.
Another entry was in November 1913. Willie R. Fowler 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.
William W. Fowler
One of the earliest entries for Fowler was for William W. Fowler from Salem, Massachuchusetts. He enlisted in May 1862 at Boston when he was aged 19.
The record shows that William W. was assigned on October 1864 to the ship Nipsic.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Waiter. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Baltimore in June 1864. James was aged 22 and was from Maryland.
He was assigned to the ship Maratanza on June 1865.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Mariner/Laborer. His naval rank was Ordinary Seaman.
An ordinary seaman in the Navy is an apprentice who serves on the deck.