The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 30414 black Americans with Montgomery as their last name. That represented 26% of the total of 115,953 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Montgomery.
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.
3,728 people named Montgomery were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 420 as mixed.
There was a total of 21,536 people with the name.
Montgomery 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 7,356 people with the last name Montgomery as black within a total of 37,803 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 11,716 people named Montgomery as black within a total of 62,505.
Historic Black Figures With The Montgomery Surname
Here is a notable African American in history with Montgomery as their last name.
- Born: 1847
- From: Vicksburg, Mississippi
- Died: 1924
Isaiah Montgomery was born into slavery on a plantation at Davis Bend, near Vicksburg, Mississippi. His parents, both African-born, taught him to read and write. When the Union forces occupied New Orleans in 1862, the Montgomerys fled to Ohio.
After the Civil War, they returned to Davis Bend to farm. Isaiah’s father, Benjamin, believed that the future for African Americans in the South could be secured by an isolationist self-sufficient colony.
When Benjamin died in 1877, Isaiah continued to work for his father’s vision. He founded Mound Bayou ten years later as a black farming colony in Northwest Mississippi. This was relatively successful until falling cotton prices and a hostile political climate took sway.
Because Montgomery sought to secure the welfare of his community by endorsing vote-suppression of black voters, he was roundly criticized by other black leaders like T. Thomas Fortune and Frederick Douglass.
However, others believed in Mound Bayou. Charles Banks, a successful black businessman in the early twentieth century, founded a bank there.
Montgomery In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Montgomery 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 Montgomery was in February 1867. Salman Montgomery was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in February 1867 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
One of the later entries was in February 1913. Gilbert Montgomery 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.
One of the earliest entries for Montgomery was for Richard Montgomery from Little River, South Carolina. He enlisted in June 1862 at Off Wilmington, North Carolina when he was aged 19.
The record shows that Richard was assigned on March 1864 to the ship New Berne.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Fisherman. His naval rank was 1st Class Boy.
“1st Class Boy” was the rank given to young men who enlisted when they were under eighteen.
One of the later entries was for a sailor who enlisted at Palmyra Bend in July 1863. William was aged 20 and was from Hurricane, Mississippi.
He was assigned to the ship Carondelet on December 1863.
His naval rank was Ordinary Seaman.
An ordinary seaman in the Navy is an apprentice who serves on the deck.