The 2010 U.S. Census recorded 6,319 black Americans with Plummer as their last name. That represented 25% of the total of 25,596 entries.
This article tracks their numbers in the census since the Civil War. We also look at historic African American people named Plummer.
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.
555 people named Plummer were recorded in the 1870 census as black and 107 as mixed.
There was a total of 5,896 people with the name.
Plummer 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 1,164 people with the last name Plummer as black within a total of 9,350 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 1,742 people named Plummer as black within a total of 13,750.
Historic Black Figures With The Plummer Surname
Here are some notable African Americans in history with Plummer as their last name.
- Born: 1844
- From: Bowie, Maryland
- Died: 1905
Henry Vinton Plummer was born enslaved in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and was separated from his father when he was sold at the age of seven. When he was eighteen, he searched for his father and the two men escaped with Henry’s grandmother to Washington D.C.
After serving in the Navy during the Civil War, Henry went to New Orleans to find one of his sisters. He was successful and he also found a wife, Julia Lomax.
Henry became a pastor and was appointed chaplain of the 9th Cavalry, one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments. He was the sole African American officer in the Army at the time.
Plummer encouraged black soldiers to defend themselves against abuse, which was a controversial stance. He was drummed out of the Army in 1894 on dubious charges.
110 years later, after a campaign to clear his name, the Governor of Maryland overturned Plummer’s court-martial.
Jewel Plummer Cobb
- Born: 1924
- From: Chicago, Illinois
- Died: 2017
Jewel Plummer’s father was the first black medical student to graduate from Cornell University’s medical school. His father in turn had become a pharmacist after gaining his freedom from slavery.
Jewel made the most of these educational riches. She studied biology at Talladega College and gained her PhD from New York in cell physiology in 1950.
Her many academic positions include being the first black Dean at Connecticut College. She became President of California State University in 1981. Cobb’s research on melanin and skin damage greatly contributed to cancer research.
Plummer In Black Military Records
Military records are a rich resource of information for family history research. Here are examples of the Plummer 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 Plummer was in June 1872. Joseph T. Plummer was a Private in the U.S. Tenth Cavalry. He was stationed in June 1872 at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.
One of the later entries was in February 1902. Solomon Plummer was a Sergeant 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 Plummer was for Joseph Plummer from New Orleans, Louisiana. He enlisted in September 13 1862 at New Orleans when he was aged 19.
The record shows that Joseph was assigned on January 1 1865 to the ship Wabash.
His occupation before enlisting was as a Laborer. His naval rank was Landsman.
“Landsman” was the lowest rank at the time and was given to recruits with little sea experience.