Gregory As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 14,219 black Americans with Gregory as their last name. That represented 16% of the total of 91,384 entries.

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

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.

1,844 people named Gregory were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 282 as mixed.

There was a total of 14,931 people with the name.

Gregory 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 3,377 people with the last name Gregory as black within a total of 25,115 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 4,673 people named Gregory as black within a total of 46,801.

Historic Black Figures With The Gregory Surname

Here are some notable African Americans in history with Gregory as their last name.

James Monroe Gregory

  • Born: 1849
  • From: Lexington, Virginia
  • Died: 1915

While James Gregory attended Oberlin College in Ohio in 1865, he worked for the Freedman’s Aid Society to help freed slaves. He went on to study at Howard University.

When he graduated in classical studies in 1972, he and his two fellow students were the first graduating class at Howard. Gregory started teaching Latin at Howard that year and became Professor of Latin in 1875. He was the Dean during the 1880s.

Gregory also campaigned for the desegregation of Washington schools. He worked with Frederick Douglass and many other Civil Rights leaders. Gregory was appointed to the board of Washington’s public schools despite fierce opposition by the Democratic Party.

After a dispute over finances at Howard, Gregory moved to New Jersey in 1897. He became principal of Borden Training School for eighteen years which earned a renowned reputation under his tenure.

Aside from being an outstanding educator, James Gregory also left a family legacy. His grandson was Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood transfusion technologies. And I doubt he would ever have believed that his great-grandson, Frederick Gregory (next section), would fly into space!

Frederick Gregory

  • Born: 1941
  • From: Washington D.C.

Frederick Gregory’s maternal uncle was Dr. Charles Drew who pioneered blood banks. His great-grandfather was the educator James Gregory. Frederick graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in engineering in 1964 and flew as a rescue pilot in the Vietnam War.

He became a test pilot in 1970 and applied for the astronaut program in 1976. He was selected two years later. Gregory was part of the launch support for the first and second space shuttle flights in 1981.

His first space flight was as pilot on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1985. His second flight was as commander on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1989. His final flight was on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1991. He went on to become Deputy Administrator of NASA.

Gregory In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Gregory surname from military service.

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 Gregory was in June 1873. Robert Gregory was a Private in the U.S. Ninth Cavalry. He was stationed in June 1873 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

One of the later entries was in August 1914. Oscar H. Gregory was a Private in the U.S. Tenth 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.

Aaron Gregory

One of the earliest entries for Gregory was for Aaron Gregory from New York, New York. He enlisted in January 17 1865 at New York when he was aged 23.

The record shows that Aaron was assigned on January 1 1900 to the ship .

His occupation before enlisting was as a Cartman. His naval rank was Landsman.

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

Gregory In The Freedmen’s Bureau Records

The Freedmen’s Bureau was established after the Civil War to help newly freed African Americans. You can read more in our article on researching the Freedmen archives.

There are over 2,230 records for Gregory in the archives. Here are some of the first names:

  • Lydia
  • Martha
  • Samuel
  • Silas