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Parish History (1853-1905)

Parish History (1853 - 1905)
Rev. Joseph Patchowski, .J., a priest from Corpus Christi, Newport, was the first to offer Holy Masses at the homes of Frank Bezold and Joseph Goetz.  The first church and school were built of logs and were constructed under the supervision of Father Voll.  There is a Baptismal record signed by him in 1853, which states that he baptized a person, "in the Church of St. Peter."  Succeeding Father Voll were Fathers Schaudenback, Schweiger, Schulte and Spitzelberger.

In September of 1857, the first full-time Catholic school was opened and conducted in German.  The first teacher was Mr. Silbersack, a member of the parish.  At this time the Pastor of Four Mile held Masses once a month.

In August of 1864, Bishop Carrell appointed a recently ordained priest, Rev. John Stephany, who was a native of Phortz, Rheinpfalz and Bavaria, as the first resident pastor.  Shortly after assuming the pastorate, Father Stephany began the building of a brick church to replace the log church, which had become too small to accomodate all the members.  Mr. McCardy owned the property upon which the church was built.  He donated 10 acres for the purpose of building a church, school and rectory for the few Catholic families who had settled here primarily from Germany.  Mr. Frank Bezold, a member of the parish and a stone mason, laid the foundation for the first church.  The new brick church was brought to completion under the direction of the Benedictine Fathers in 1866.   Rev. Gabriel Guerster, O.S.B., blessed the new brick church under the patronage of Sts. Peter and Paul in the spring of 1867.  The parish was no longer known as St. Peter Mission.

From the records it seems that in 1874 Reverend William Cassander built a new priest house.  Between 1877 and 1881, Reverend Meiwes built a new school.  Reverend Clement Keller was the pastor from 1888 to 1905.  He began the construction of a new and larger brick church.  The cornerstone was laid on August 17, 1898.  A year later, Bishop Maes dedicated the church and blessed the bell.  Mr. and Mrs. William Schack were the first couple to be married in this church.  Father Keller was also responsible for initiating the building of a new rectory.

Move on to Part 2: 1906-1972