Somerset, Wisconsin: 125 pioneer families and Canadian connection: 125th year
[Rosalie Parnell's book on Somerset, Wisconsin], pp. 11-64 PDF (24.6 MB)
build a parochial school and convent combined on the church grounds, along by the cemetery with just enough room between the two buildings for a driveway and clearance. The fathers had to use horses to get around. The barns were built in the back (the present garage) of the church. They had to come through the school yard from the road, directly straight past the buildings. The first priest house was built in 1874. A two story frame house, it was a trifle closer to the street than the present one. Reverend Father Wirtz was the first resident pastor. The little church at "La Pomme de Terre" was left idle till about 1888 or 1889. It was then wrecked and the salvaged lumber was used to build the first parochial school to the north of the church, close to the burial grounds. It was completed in 1890. It was a two room school and convent combined. Burial grounds were dug up at Saint Vincent's and transferred to the present grounds by the first St. Anne's parish church at Somerset. "Yes, this dear old sister school built in 1888, opened in 1890 ." Half of the building was reserved for the nuns' quarters, a small chapel and music room. The first three nuns to come to reside there and teach were Sister Mary Joseph, Sister Delphine and Sister Josephine. Sister Mary Joseph died only a few years ago. The others lived to a ripe old age. The school part was divided into two large rooms - we thought they were large at that time. Double seats and long benches were ussually occupied. English, French, Christian doctrine and music were taught with a large enrollment always. The primary room of the public school in the village was being conducted in one of the classrooms of the old Sister's school on the church hill, which was not in use just then. The new one was com- pleted and operating. Improvements were made by dividing the rooms differently and building on the North side of the building. The building was used thus for a few years and then the new separate building was built. The first older part of the building was the second school built in the village of Somerset. The very first build- ing was located next to La Grandeur Store, Where the Post Office is today. The schoolhouse was moved a trifle across the street to the eastjust enough to allow enough room for the store and the enclosed stairway on the east side of the building leading to the hall up- stairs. Vanasse's Hall was the only place there for many years. Many jolly times were held there even after the hall above the hardware store was used in the Fred. Parnell's building, now Plourde's hardware. This particular little building was occupied by many different fami- lies. Edgar Johnson remodeled same after he moved to town from River Dale, and had a very cozy, comfortable little home for several years. It was sold a few years ago and moved away to an unknown place. St. Anne's first school was sold to Joseph Plourde,Sr. He tore it down and built the flat located next to the town hall, on the south of the village. It was known as the "Sunshine Parlors" for a long time. Mrs. Joe Rivard, Miles Rivard's mother, had started the ice cream parlor and restaurant there, and it has always continued to operate. Then it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gus Beyle, and they operated same and resided in the upstairs apartment.
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