The first St. Peter Church was built in 1866; prior to this the German Catholics in Ashton were ministered to in their homes by priests from Martinsville, Cross Plains, and Roxbury. The first resident pastor of the parish was Father M. Dreisenrieder, who was appointed by Bishop John Martin Henni of Milwaukee in 1868. St. Peter’s would remain a part of the Diocese of Milwaukee and later Archdiocese of Milwaukee, until it became a part of the Diocese of Madison upon its founding in 1946.
Fr. Alois Kieser served as pastor of the parish for 20 years during the parish’s early days.
By 1900, the original church was no longer large enough for the growing congregation. Father Francis Ruhmann was named Pastor in October of 1898, and he oversaw the construction of the new, larger, present day church. Parishioners quarried the limestone to build the church themselves in the winter of 1900. During Construction, the old church was moved to the cemetery. A team of horses with metal scoops excavated the basement. The new church only took a year to build and was noted in one newspaper as “one of the most beautiful rural churches in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the State.” The cost of the church was $24,000, and in 1901 when it was dedicated, there was $1000 left in the parish treasury to use toward an organ.
April 29, 1902
The present St. Peter’s Church was dedicated.
In 1905, a rectory was built in addition to a new convent and school building, which was served by the Franciscan Sisters of Charity of Manitowoc until 1987. This school building was located in what is now the parish parking lot.
In 1966, a new four room brick school was built behind the church. This is the current school building.
In 1991, the new rectory and parish center, or “connector,” were built. And in 1994, St. Peter’s repaired and restored its beautiful church, including the stained glass windows and pews. The murals behind the altar were also restored a few years later.
St. Peter’s held a reunion to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school’s founding.