Love As An African American Last Name

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 30687 black Americans with Love as their last name. That represented 37% of the total of 82,873 entries.

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

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.

2,959 people named Love were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 428 as mixed.

There was a total of 13,148 people with the name.

Love 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 7,318 people with the last name Love as black within a total of 24,664 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 10,603 people named Love as black within a total of 38,436.

Historic Black Figures With The Love Surname

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

Nat Love

  • Born: 1854
  • From: Davidson County, Tennessee
  • Died: 1921

Nat Love was born into slavery in Tennessee. His family became sharecroppers after the Civil War. Nat work with his family and on a neighboring farm and learned how to train wild horses. At sixteen, he headed west to Texas where he found work as a cowboy.

Love moved on to work on a ranch in Arizona. He recounted in his autobiography the outlaws Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid while driving cattle across the prairies. He earned his nickname “Deadwood Dick” from riding broncos at a rodeo in Deadwood in 1876.

Love retired as a cowboy and settled down with a wife in Denver. But with a love for traveling, he joined the railroads as a Pullman Porter in 1890. Love wrote an autobiography about his cowboy days in 1907.

Love In Black Military Records

Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Love 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 Love was in August 1867. Milton Love was a Sergeant in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in August 1867 at Camp Grierson.

One of the later entries was in January 1912. Robert R. Love was a 1st Lieutenant 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.

James Love

One of the earliest entries for Love was for James Love from Iberville Par., Louisiana. He enlisted in October 2 1864 at Gen. Price/Donaldsonville LA when he was aged 33.

The record shows that James was assigned on April 1 1865 to the ship Fairy.

His occupation before enlisting was as a Farmer. 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.

Thomas Love graduated from the Tuskegee Institute in March 1946. He qualified as a fighter pilot. Thomas was from Ardmore, Pennsylvania.