Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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TALTON, Augustus, clergyman, born in Ralls county, Missouri, in 1854. He is the first colored Roman Catholic priest in the United States. He was born in slavery and suffered many hardships in his childhood, but at length escaped with his parents, reaching Quincy, Illinois, in 1861. In childhood he showed an aptitude for learning, and in his days of bondage it was no unusual thing for him. to sit up half the night painfully spelling his way through such books as came within his reach. He was employed in a tobacco-factory in Quincy, but still continued his night studies under the auspices of the professors in St. Francis's college. In 1873, when he left the tobacco-factory, by doing odd jobs, he was able to spend part of the day in the college. He set out for Rome on 15 February, 1880, and, entering one of the colleges of the Propaganda on 12 March, spent two years in studying philosophy and four in going through the theological curriculum, and attracted the favorable notice of his superiors. He was ordained priest on 24 April, 1886, and returned to Quincy, Illinois, where he was appointed pastor of a white congregation.
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