Leaving Quincy

Rev. Augustus Tolton, pastor St. Monica’s Church, Chicago, Illinois, 1889-1897.
Image courtesy of Quincy University, Brenner Library, Tolton Collection.

On Oct. 27, 1889, Father Tolton announced that he would say his last Mass in Quincy the following Sunday. He travelled to Chicago a few days later and was unable to return as scheduled, so Mass was cancelled. He returned to Quincy November 6th and spent his last week in the city preparing for his permanent removal to Chicago.

Prior to leaving the city, Father Tolton was given $75 as a “token of the esteem in which he was held by his many white friends in the city.”

Father Tolton wrote to a friend about the occasion, saying, “Catholics will love and respect a priest regardless of nationality; at least that is the spirit of those people in the Gem City who knew me for 29 years or more. Never will they forget the happy hours spent in the little St. Joseph Church. I wish them all the blessings than can be bestowed upon them, for that charitable spirit that they have always shown toward me and the colored children.”

It is unfortunate that Weis’ jealousy drove Father Tolton from Quincy, because it seems that he was well liked and respected in the city. In November 1889, the St. Rose Society held a fair where attendees voted for the most popular priest in Quincy. It is interesting to note that Father Tolton came in second with 201.5 votes and Father Weis did not place in the top three.

Father Tolton left Quincy for good in December 1889. In 1888, Sister Herlinde, who had run St. Joseph’s School since it opened, was no longer able to walk to the school and was assigned to a mission in the east. She was replaced by Sister Fintana Duemon, but Father Tolton’s departure to Chicago meant that the parish and school were officially closed.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 10:48