Father Augustus Tolton

His Life and Times

The Chicago Tribune Story

Martha Jane Chisley, (Father Tolton’s mother), moves to Missouri from Kentucky as
a young slave.


Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery, returns to the South and becomes one of the main "conductors" on the Underground Railroad.


Martha Jane Chisley, 18, marries
Peter Paul Tolton in St. Peter Church,
Brush Creek Missouri.


Freedwoman Sojourner Truth, a compelling speaker for abolitionism, gives her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech in Akron, Ohio.



Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel about the horrors of slavery, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, is published and sells 300,000 copies in the first year.

Charles Tolton is born to
Martha and Peter Tolton.



Augustus Tolton is born to Martha
and Peter Tolton in Missouri on April 1.


Booker T. Washington, educator, author, orator and political leader is born in Hale’s Ford, Virginia on
April 5.


In the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court decides that African Americans are not U.S. citizens, and that Congress has no power to restrict slavery in any federal territory.

Anne Tolton is born to Martha and Peter Tolton.


The last ship to bring slaves to the United States, the Clothildre, arrived in Mobil Bay, Alabama.


Civil War begins with firing on Fort Sumter in South Carolina on
April 14.

Martha Tolton escapes with
her children to Quincy, Illinois.


Mary Jane Patterson graduates from Oberlin College in Ohio and becomes the first black woman to graduate from an American college.

At the age of 9, Augustus Tolton begins working in a Quincy tobacco factory and his brother Charles dies at age 10.


President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation legally frees all slaves in the Confederacy.

Augustus Tolton entered St. Boniface School and left a month later because parish and staff were being threatened and harassed by his presence.


Civil War ends on April 26.

Augustus Tolton enrolled in
St. Peter School, Quincy.




The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 21, granting citizenship to any person born or naturalized in the United States.

Confirmed in St. Peter Church at age 16 and likely received his First Communion.



Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi becomes the first African American elected to the U.S. Senate.


Chicago Fire.

Graduated from St. Peter School at age 18.



Tutoring begins in preparation for the seminary.



Augusts Tolton enrolls in St.
Francis College, now Quincy
University. Receives special
instruction because he was
far advanced over the
other students.


Departs for Rome on February 15 to enter
the seminary at the
Collegium Urbanum de Propaganda Fide. Expects to become a missionary priest in Africa.


Census of 1880 showed the U.S. population at 50 million with a Black population of 6.5 million (13%).


Lower level of St. Mary’s Church in Chicago becomes Chicago’s first Negro parish. Mass celebrated there until 1889.

Augustus Tolton ordained
at St. John Lateran
Basilica in Rome on April
24 and told he would
return as a missionary to
his home country of the
United States in Quincy.


Fr. August ToldtonFirst Mass at St. Peter’s
Basilica in Rome on April 25.


First Mass with
Franciscan Sisters in
Hoboken, New Jersey
on July 7.


Celebrates his first Mass in Quincy
at St. Boniface Church on July 18
and becomes pastor of
St. Joseph Church.


Chicago’s Haymarket Riot occurred on May 4 on Des Plaines Street north of Randolph Street.

Father Tolton begins his ministry
in Chicago on December 19.


Jane Addams establishes Hull House in Chicago. 

St. Monica Church opens in a storefront in the 2200 block of South Indiana Avenue.


Dr. Daniel Hale Williams establishes Provident Hospital and Medical Center in Chicago, the oldest black-owned hospital in the U.S.

Dedication of St. Monica Church on January 14.

Chicago Tribune Story




Plessy vs. Ferguson
US Supreme Court in a vote of 7 to 1 upholds the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation under the doctrine of "separate but equal".

Father Tolton dies at
Mercy Hospital in
Chicago on July 9.
He was 43.

Funeral at St. Monica Church, 36th and
Dearborn Street
on July 12.

Funeral at St. Peter Church in Quincy on July 13.

Articles on the death of Father Tolton in
The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Daily News.


Timeline of Tolton's Canonization