Recognizing the need for an African-American burial ground in the Harrisburg area, Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church purchased the ground the cemetery occupies in 1817, a year after the congregation was established. The location was formally named Lincoln Cemetery in 1827. In the years leading up to the Civil War, the congregation at Wesley Union was active in the Underground Railroad, which cut through the area. Lincoln Cemetery is the burial ground for several notable members of the Harrisburg community. African-American war correspondent T. Morris Chester is buried here, as is abolitionist, educator, and newspaper publisher William Howard Day. The graves of numerous Civil War veterans lie here as well, including Harrisburg’s last surviving veteran, Ephraim Slaughter. Slaughter died in 1943 and had served in both the 37th regiment of the United States Colored Troops and the 3rd N.C. Colored Infantry.