Erastus Tousey was born on 9 October 1798 in New York to Zerah and Anna Tousey. The family moved from New York to Boone County by 1805, when Zerah and his brothers established a ferry crossing to Lawrenceburg at Second Creek.
In 1822, Erastus built a federalist style home within Burlington, where he and his wife Catherine McHenry (1805-1895) raised four known children: Ann Eliza (1822-1865); Juliet S. (1825-1888); Mary F. (1829-1856); and Charles E. (1839-1882). Ann Eliza married Benjamin F. Stevenson in May 1843.
Although a slaveholder, in 1849, Erastus Tousey was listed as a Friend of Emancipation in the Covington Journal, along with 47 other Boone Countians.