History of SS Joseph & Edward


In 2004, a new community was formed when SS. Joseph & Edward Parish in Walsh was established through the merger of St. Joseph Parish in Walsh and St. Edward Parish in Wagner.  The two communities were linked in 2001, along with St. Mary Parish in Peshtigo, prior to officially being merged in 2004, when the St. Edward Church building and property was sold.  The parish retains and utilizes the church site in Walsh.  SS. Joseph & Edward has responsibility for the two parish cemeteries of St. Joseph and St. Edward.  This parish currently remains linked with St. Mary - Peshtigo.


In the late 1800's, prior to a church being built, the Catholic community in the area was looking for ways to celebrate Mass. Around 1880 a town hall was built to serve the various needs of the community (a meeting place, a school, and a place for religious services).  Fr. Joseph Fox (who would later become Bishop Fox) came once a month from Marinette to celebrate Mass.

In 1893 Our Lady of Lourdes in Marinette established a mission at Walsh.  In 1894 a church was built.  This mission church was used by the different ethnic settlements of the area.  Depending on which priest came to hear confessions and celebrate Mass, people of various languages could be served (English, French, German and Polish).  In 1906 the first rectory was built and a resident pastor was instilled. In 1907 the church was struck by lightning, but repaired.

On June 18, 1944 the church was struck by lightning again, burning to the ground this time.  In 1945 a new church was built, being dedicated in 1946.  It has a seating capacity of 256.


The first Mass in Wagner was celebrated at the home of Joseph Wagner, the town's first settler.  Later Masses were held in various locations.

In 1905 St. Cecilia Church was established.  In 1911 fire struck.  In 1917-18 the Wagner church was rebuilt. The church was re-named and the community of St. Edward was incorporated in August, 1918.

The church was assisted with religious education by the nuns from Marinette.  In 1956, lay instructors took over religious education for the parish.

In 1977 the Franciscans came to serve the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Edward.