Gamble As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 12,452 black Americans with Gamble as their last name. That represented 37% of the total of 34,005 entries.

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

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.

755 people named Gamble were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 89 as mixed.

There was a total of 5,250 people with the name.

Gamble 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 2,339 people with the last name Gamble as black within a total of 9,811 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 4,571 people named Gamble as black within a total of 17,502.

Historic Black Figures With The Gamble Surname

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

Lucy Gamble

  • Born: 1875
  • From: Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Died: 1956

Lucinda Gamble moved from Mobile to Omaha, Nebraska, as a child and gradated as a teacher in 1895. She became Omaha’s first black teacher that year.

She retired from teaching when she married Reverend John Williams in 1901. As well as raising a family, she was strongly involved in the local black community.

She was secretary of the town’s NAACP chapter and was on the board of several local African American organizations.

One of her daughters was the first African American to graduate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Gamble In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Gamble surname from different military services:

  • Buffalo soldiers
  • Black civil war sailors
  • Tuskegee airmen

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 Gamble was in June 1898. Linneous Gamble was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in June 1898 at Port Tampa, Florida.

Another entry was in March 1908. Sandy Gamble was a Private in the U.S. Ninth 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.

John Gamble

One of the earliest entries for Gamble was for John Gamble from Baltimore, Maryland. He enlisted in March 1863 at when he was aged 50.

The record shows that John was assigned on January 1864 to the ship Sangamon.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Steward/Cook. His naval rank was Wardroom Steward.

William Gamble

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Vicksburg in July 1862. William was aged 28 and was from St. Charles, Missouri.

He was assigned to the ship Great Western on March 1864.

His occupation before enlisting was as a House Servant. His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.

“1st 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 ordinary seaman.

Tuskegee Airmen

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.

Howard Gamble graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in December 1943. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Howard was from Charleston, West Virginia.