St. Peter’s Catholic Church (Brush Creek Church) | Ralls County, Missouri
St. Peter's Catholic Church, also known as Brush Creek Church, is a historic Roman Catholic church located near Rensselaer, Ralls County, Missouri.
The church was built about 1862, is a one-story, rectangular limestone building with limestone and sandstone ornamentation. It is topped by a gable roof with belfry.
The church is located near Brush Creek, where August Tolton who was born into a life of slavery, was baptized into the Catholic faith. The story of Father Tolton will be told in another article, for his story and legacy is a most remarkable one. His family would go on to escape from Missouri and live in Quincy, Illinois where he would further his education.
Father Augustus Tolton was the first African American Catholic Priest in the United States. Tolton first ministered to his home parish in Quincy, Illinois and was later assigned to a parish in Chicago.
Located on the grounds behind the church is a graveyard of many slaves from the area. Many graves are simply marked “Unknown”. The graveyard was a stark reminder of of our history as Americans.
For more information on the life of Augustus Tolton, "The Slave Who Became the First African-American Priest", is a phenomenal book which provides insight into his life and all that he overcame to become the inspirational individual he is today.