Norristown Times Herald
Augustus John Tolton, the second of three children, was born into slavery on April 1,1854 in Brush Creek, Missouri. He was baptized as Catholic since the Eliot family, the owners of the plantation, were Catholics. His mother, Martha Jane Chisley, had been given as a wedding present to the Eliot family, on whose plantation she met and married Augustus’ father, Peter Paul Tolton. When Augustus was seven years old, his father died fighting in the Civil War defending the cause that all men are created equal. That same year, the Tolton family escaped from slavery by the Underground Railroad to Quincy, Illinois. After the family arrived there, Augustus and his brothers and sisters were enrolled in St. Boniface Catholic School where they were taunted and insulted for being black. The pressure was so great that Martha Jane Chisley took her children out of school and Augustus John Tolton started to work in a tobacco factory.