Akron, Ohio residents didn’t fully appreciate Alvin Smith’s life story until it was nearing its end. As he approached 100 years old, he became a local celebrity.
The white-haired gentleman, the city’s last living Civil War veteran, regaled visitors with his vivid recollections of growing up as a slave in Kentucky, escaping to freedom in Ohio and joining the Union Army to help free his family.
The third oldest of 18 children, Smith was born Oct. 15, 1843, in a cabin on the estate of slave owner Prudence Wallingford near Mount Carmel in Fleming County, Kentucky.
Akron Beacon Journal article