Adams County

8th & Maine | Quincy, IL

Original St. Peter Church site, currently Quincy City Hall.

There’s a plague on the northeast corner of building.

Here’s a little history from 1862-1872. Upon arrival in Quincy, 9-year old Augustine attended St. Boniface School intermittently while working at Harris Tobacco Factory. His family attended the 2,000-member church which was predominantly German. Young Gus learned the German language from attending the church, however, he was forced to leave school due to prejudice. The Toltons began attending St. Peter’s Church, where *Fr. Peter McGirr welcomed them and took steps to ensure that Augustine would do well in his parish school. Augustine studied at St. Peter for the next several years for 3-4 months at a time, working the remainder of each year at the tobacco factory. At 16 Augustine received his First Communion at the Church of St. Peter on the Feast of Corpus Christi. He graduated from St. Peter at the age of 18.

*Father McGirr remained a key advocate in the fair treatment and furtherment of Augustine well into Augustine’s priesthood.

 

Drive the 5 Tolton Sites

Easy & educational snapshot of the first African-American priest in the U.S. {self-guided driving tour}