Garrett As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 27,065 black Americans with Garrett as their last name. That represented 24% of the total of 110,697 entries.

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

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.

2,709 people named Garrett were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 436 as mixed.

There was a total of 13,251 people with the name.

Garrett 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 5,858 people with the last name Garrett as black within a total of 27,820 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 9,363 people named Garrett as black within a total of 52,094.

Historic Black Figures With The Garrett Surname

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

John Garrett

  • Died: 1895

John Garrett was one of a small number of African American U.S. Marshalls to serve in Indian Territory at the turn of the 19th century.

Garrett rode to a grocery story in the Creek Nation in 1895 to stop an armed robbery by the notorious Rufus Buck gang. He was killed by a bullet to the chest.

The gang was executed in Fort Smith for his murder.

Garrett In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Garrett 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 Garrett was in September 1867. George Garrett was a Recruit in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in September 1867 at Fort Riley, Kansas; Galesburg, Illinois.

Another entry was in November 1909. Clarene Garrett 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.

Thomas E. Garrett

One of the earliest entries for Garrett was for Thomas E. Garrett from Annapolis, Maryland. He enlisted in June 1863 at New York when he was aged 26.

The record shows that Thomas E. was assigned on March 1864 to the ship Roanoke.

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.

Jonas Garrett

One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Monroe, LA in April 1864. Jonas was aged 24 and was from Monroe, Louisiana.

He was assigned to the ship Fitch on July 1865.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Fieldhand/Laborer. His naval rank was Landsman.

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

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.

Alfred Garrett graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in October 1945. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Alfred was from Fort Worth, Texas.