- Township: East Nissouri, Embro & West Zorra
- Branch: Michigan Calvary, Northern Army
- Date of birth: January 2, 1846
- Where born: Township of Inverness, Megantic County, Quebec
- Date of death: August 15, 1925
- Burial location: North Embro Cemetery, West Zorra Township, Oxford County, Ontario, Canada
- Wars Served: American Civil War
- Years of service: January 26, 1864 - March 10, 1866
- Country enlisted with: United States
James Slater was born on January 2, 1846 in the Township of Inverness, Megantic County, Quebec. He was the fourth child of Henry Slater and his wife, Mary Steele. About 1855 James moved with his family to East Nissouri Township, Oxford County, Ontario. James grew to be five feet, ten inches tall and had hazel eyes and brown hair.
About 1863 James visited his older brother, Robert, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While there he enlisted in G. Company, 5th Regiment, Michigan Calvary Volunteers on January 26, 1864. His commanding officer was Captain Hare. In the summer of 1864 he contracted intermittent malarial fever. He was treated for this in Fredericton, Baltimore, and Annapolis, Maryland. The army apparently had no records of this illness because he was not with his regiment when this occurred. He was serving in the "Dismounted Battalion". On June 13, 1865 James was transferred to Company K, First Michigan Cavalry Regiment by order of General Dodge. Then, on October 31, 1865 he was transferred to Company E, First Michigan Regiment. After peace was signed at Appomatox the Wolverines (as the Michigan regiments were called) were sent to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to harry hostile tribes on the Great Plains. James contracted black fever and was mustered out of his Company at Camp Douglas, Salt Lake City, Utah on March 10, 1866. The records show that he bought his carbine and also kept his sabre. James received a pension from the U.S. Government for his service in the Civil War and just before his death had made an application for an increase.
After James was discharged from the army he returned to East Nissouri and went back to school to complete his education. On May 30, 1868 he married Catherine Allen, a daughter of Jacob D. and Maria Allen who lived in Thamesford, and later in St. Marys. Catherine was a teacher before her marriage.
James received a second class teacher's certificate, then later, a first class professional certificate in 1870. He taught in several schools in West Nissouri and in Oxford County. In 1881 he gave up teaching and moved to a farm on lot 24 concession 6, on the seventh line of West Zorra. Here, he ran a dairy farm and was active in the operation of the local cheese factory. He died on August 15, 1925 and both he and his wife Catherine (1848-1902) are buried in the North Embro Cemetery.