St. Ann Parish in Stoughton is celebrating 150th anniversary Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Peg Koch, President, St. Ann Pastoral Council   
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

stoughton 150th

STOUGHTON -- St. Ann Parish in Stoughton is turning 150 years old!

In the winter of 1854, Fr. Etschmann (from St. Raphael Parish in Madison) said the first Mass at a private home in Stoughton. The journey to and from Stoughton to conduct services was by handcar.

First church

Sometime between 1865 and 1868, Patrick Nolan, a bachelor living on the east side of Stoughton, suggested the organization of a Catholic church among the Irish settlers in the district. He made the first move, took on the mission to organize and construct Stoughton’s first Catholic church.

Eventually, services were transferred to a hall and held there until 1868, which is when the first church was completed. It was because of the sacrifices and personal efforts of a few (Daniel and John Downey, James McCarthy, John Tracey, Martin Flannigan, Thomas Laughlin, Pat Stanton, and Will Leary's father) that our first church was built.

Lumber was sawed in Milwaukee and carted here by oxen. Much of it was used again almost 70 years later for the first rectory attached to the church. The first pews came by oxen from Janesville.

Subsequent churches

In 1868, Luke Stoughton sold land to the Diocese of Milwaukee for the first wooden framed church at the corner of E. Jefferson and S. Fifth St. Initially the parish was attached as a mission church to Portertown and then to Edgerton.

We have notes stating Father Bulter of Edgerton said Mass in 1877 in this wooden church. The first resident pastor came in 1919.

Before 1931 this frame church burned and a new church was built at the intersection of Jackson and N. Harrison St. This church building was donated by the Joseph McCarthy family.

The cornerstone of the building was laid by the Archbishop Samuel Stritch of Milwaukee on October 11, 1931. The above mentioned information came from the History of Dane County.

This is just the beginning of the long history of St. Ann Parish.


On Sunday, Feb. 24, we will celebrate with a special Mass at 10:30 a.m. with special guests and the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard.

We look forward to celebrating our sesquicentennial anniversary of our beloved St. Ann Parish and will remember all those who have shared, sacrificed, provided their time and treasure for the benefit of all our members today.

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