A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

History: African-American Population in Matawan in 1900

I was curious whether any or all of the 104 blacks from Oklahoma whose pilgrimage to Liberia landed them in Matawan in 1899 remained in the area, so I conducted a brief demographic study of the African-American population of Matawan using the 1880 and 1900 censuses.

The results were inconclusive. While no blacks were found to be living in Matawan in 1900 who were born in Oklahoma or the Indian Territory, it is likely that some of the pilgrims had migrated to Oklahoma from Virginia, the Carolinas, and/or Arkansas. Note for example that the number of black Virginians in town jumped from 3 in 1880 to 102 in 1900. Perhaps local family stories can shed some light on the subject? I'd be interested to hear back from descendants if any are around who know the details.

The 1900 Federal Census for Matawan contains the following numbers of blacks from selected states. I've included results from the 1880 census for some of the states. (Note: The 1900 census showed 3 mulattos in Matawan, all born in NJ (not included in the figure below), while the 1880 census showed no mulattos in Matawan.)
  • 221 from New Jersey (166 in 1880)
  • 102 from Virginia (3 in 1880)
  • 28 from North Carolina (0 in 1880)
  • 17 from Arkansas (0 in 1880)
  • 15 from New York (4 in 1880)
  • 6 from Mississippi (0 in 1880)
  • 4 from Georgia
  • 3 from South Carolina
  • 2 from Maryland
  • 1 from Illinois
  • 1 from Pennsylvania
  • 0 from Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indian Territory, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, or Texas.


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