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Ephraim Slaughter: A journey of overcoming challenges | Black History Keystones

Dauphin County's last surviving Civil War veteran still remembered more than 75 years after his passing

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Ephraim Slaughter, the last surviving Civil War veteran in Dauphin County, was more than just a war hero. He's also a man deeply rooted within the Harrisburg community. 

Slaughter was born into slavery in 1846 in North Carolina to the H.D. Slaughter family. He escaped at 17, during the Civil War, and in 1864 joined the 37th United States Colored Troops in a fight for freedom and equality. 

When the Civil War came to an end in 1865, it was then when the legacy of Harrisburg and Slaughter began to intertwine. 

He moved to Harrisburg and began working at the historic Lochiel Hotel. Through his hard work and determination, Slaughter eventually became a landowner and co-founded the AME Zion Church on N 6th Street. 

He was an active member of the congregation and a part of the David Stevens Legion Post 520. 

In 1943, Slaughter passed away at 97 and was buried with full military honors at the Lincoln Cemetery in Penbrook, Dauphin County. 

Despite more than 75 years after his passing, his name lives on to this day. 

In 2015, the National Civil War Museum created an exhibit with a life-size statue of Slaughter to honor his triumphant journey and inspire those who may not know his path of overcoming challenges. 

Credit: WPMT
Slaughter's statue inside the National Civil War museum in honor of his triumphant journey.

The Harrisburg American Legion Post 733 is also named after Slaughter. 

Credit: WPMT

The last surviving Civil War veteran in Dauphin County may now be gone, but the name Ephraim Slaughter will surely live on forever.

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