“A colored child born April 1, 1854, son of Peter Tolton and Martha Chisley, property of Stephen Elliott.”
That’s all his baptismal record says. Ten years after Tolton's baptism, his father had gone to fight for the Union Army and was presumed dead in the Civil War. His heroic mother then risked her life to escape slavery. With her three young children, Martha Tolton crossed the Mississippi in a boat with one oar.
After dodging Confederate bullets, she and her children then ran all the way to the town of Quincy, in the free state of Illinois. There they made a home, and Tolton grew in the Catholic Faith and in the conviction that God was calling him to be a priest.
Constantly the victim of racial prejudice, he was cast out of the local Catholic school and eventually, he went on to study for the priesthood in Rome. He was ordained on April 24, 1886 in the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, with the intention of heading for Africa as a missionary. However, God had other plans and Fr. Tolton was sent back into the hostile environment of his own hometown of Quincy, Illinois.
Dinner Theater - $6 Admission
Price includes Show & Spaghetti Dinner