Richard Fendall Slaughter, lawyer, stockraiser, and state legislator, was born in Maury County, Tennessee, on March 18, 1828. He was the son of William H. and Hannah (Crump) Slaughter. The elder Slaughter immigrated to Texas in 1830 and settled his family in San Augustine County. In 1846 Richard Slaughter joined George T. Wood’s Second Texas Mounted Volunteers and apparently served for three months. Presumably, Slaughter studied law while growing up, as he was admitted to the Texas bar in 1856. On January 13, 1857, he married Anna “Annie” Holman in San Augustine County. This couple had five sons and two daughters. Slaughter established himself as a lawyer and leading citizen in San Augustine County. In 1859 Richard and Annie Slaughter sold an eighty-acre tract of land (which had been part of Annie’s dowry) to Sabine County to facilitate the establishment of the town of Hemphill as the county seat. This sale made Slaughter one of San Augustine County’s wealthier citizens. In 1860 he was worth $7,900 in personal and real estate property.
Slaughter won election, in 1861 and 1863, as representative for San Augustine and Sabine counties to the Ninth and Tenth Texas legislatures, and he chaired the Enrolled Bills Committee during the Tenth legislature. He enlisted in Company C of the Twenty-seventh Texas Cavalry in San Augustine County on March 1, 1862, and was soon promoted to second lieutenant but only served until his discharge on June 1, 1862. He reenlisted on March 20, 1864, and volunteered for service in Company I of the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry. Following the Civil War, Slaughter returned to San Augustine County. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and, from 1865 through 1869, as county and district attorney. In the late 1860s he relocated with his family to Kaufman County, where he continued his law practice. In the 1870 census, Slaughter was worth $2,500 in personal and real estate property. He served as county attorney from 1888 to 1890 and resided in Kaufman County until his death on May 19, 1904. He was buried there at Kaufman Cemetery.