Slaughter was born in Virginia, but his family moved to Callaway County, Missouri in 1835 and later settled in St. Louis. In 1846, Slaughter volunteered to serve in the Mexican–American War; during his service, he was captured by the Navajo and escaped by riding 125 miles (201 km) to Albuquerque on a mule. After he was discharged in 1847, Slaughter returned to St. Louis until 1849, when he came to California during the Gold Rush. Slaughter worked as a miner, sheep farmer, and blacksmith; he became successful, particularly in the sheep business, and purchased a piece of quality grazing land in San Bernardino County from Raymondo Yorba. The plot included the Yorba-Slaughter Adobe, a historic adobe house where Slaughter lived with his family.
After moving to San Bernardino County, Slaughter entered politics as a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected to the California State Assembly in 1870 to represent San Bernardino County and served in the 1871–72 session of the state legislature. After his legislative service, Slaughter served as postmaster of Rincon, a trustee on the local school board, and San Bernardino County Supervisor.
- City of San Bernarino, California-Fenton Mercer Slaughter
- "Slaughter, Fenton M.". An Illustrated History of Southern California – San Bernardino Biographies. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/scripts/data/database.cgi?file=Data&report=SingleArticle&ArticleID=0027682. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- "The Yorba and Slaughter Families Adobe". San Bernardino County Museum. http://www.sbcounty.gov/museum/branches/yorba.htm. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- JoinCalifornia.com-F. M. Slaughter
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