Including some account of American
Protestant relations in France during the
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries


Pastor of the American Church of Paris

65, Quai d'Orsay, Paris

37, Avenue de l'Opéra


Dust cover information

THE Complete Story of the American colony to Paris has not as yet seen written It may never be. Within it are many groups---artistic, diplomatic, educational, professional, social, commercial. These groups have interests in common, but are distinct in their immediate objectives.

In this volume Dr. Cochran has traced the bond that for more than a century has kept these groups from drifting wide apart.

The American Church, according narrative, has played a surprisingly vital part in providing those religious contacts and expressions without which the spirit of such a group would have deteriorated.



THE writer of these annals fully realizes their limited appeal to the general reader. Anticipating this he has not sought an American publisher, trusting to the appreciation of a rather large circle of friends of the American Church of Paris for the distribution of a single edition.

The reader who has had no contact with the life of the American Church of Paris can well afford to skip many a page devoted to the routine activities of a small parish. These perforce were included to preserve continuity, however lacking they may be in dramatic interest. The writer believes, however, that many of the events here recorded are not without genuine historical value.

It should be borne in mind that this spiritual enterprise was one of the first organized contacts of the New World with the Old. It rightly claims to be the pioneer of American churches in Europe. It was born at a time of grave political and social upheaval on both sides of the Atlantic, and was a participant in scenes of flight, siege and terror. The American tourist and the social expatriate of our day were unknown then. The few hundred members of the American colony were generally serious and God-fearing folk, bringing with them to the French capital a sense of self-respect and decorum.

Certain facts relating to the religious contacts between Huguenot and Puritan during the first halt of the nineteenth century are here integrated, we believe, for the first time. To the student of modern church history these reciprocal influences, as here set forth, may be worth noting.

The author is indebted for much of the Huguenot material to the valuable Bibliothèque du Protestantisme Français, of Paris, and to the assistance of its scholarly curator, Rev. Dr. Jacques Pannier. The archives of the temple of the Oratoire have also been searched with gratifying results. Thanks are due to the Rev. Henri Merle d'Aubigné, Dr. Paul Armand-Delille, the Rev. Dr. Chauncey W. Goodrich, Mrs. Ernest W. Shurtleff, and the Rev. Dr. Charles Wood, for their friendly cooperation.

Much of the material in the earlier chapters was compiled by Mr. Stoddard Dewey, dean of American journalists in Paris, to whom the author owes much by way of research, suggestion and criticism.

Paris, May 26th, 1931.








CHAPTER I. "O, Young Mariner" (1729-1804)
CHAPTER II. The Fair Haven of Paris (1804-1835)
CHAPTER III. A Puritan Looks at a King (1835-1839).
CHAPTER IV. Sails of Many Hues (1839-1856).
CHAPTER V. The Launching (1857) .
CHAPTER VI. The Ship finds Herself (1858-1860)
CHAPTER VII. An Overseas Patriot (1860-1864).
CHAPTER VIII. The Great Sea Fight (1864-1868).
CHAPTER IX. Riding out the Storm (1868-1883).
CHAPTER X. Clear Skies and Quiet Waters (1883-1904)
CHAPTER XI. Cloud-burst and Tempest (19041917)
CHAPTER XII. The Americans are Coming! (1917-1923)
CHAPTER XIII. Loosing from Old Moorings (1923-1925)
CHAPTER XIV. Breakers ahead (1926-1928).
CHAPTER XV. Sighting the Harbor (1929-1931).


SECTION I. American Students in the Latin Quarter (1891-1931).
SECTION II. The New Buildings of the American Church.
SECTION III. Gifts in Remembrance.
SECTION IV. List of Endowed Pews.
SECTION V Partial List of Donors.





Informal devotional meetings for Americans are held in the apartment of S.V.S. Wilder, American merchant, 18, rue du Petit-Carreau.

First public worship in English is instituted in Paris by a chaplain of the British Forces in the French Protestant Temple of the Oratoire, during the first Restoration of Bourbon kings. Interrupted by the return of Napoleon from Elba, services are resumed after the battle of Waterloo and continued for over ten years.

1816 A few American residents in Paris obtain the use of the Oratoire on Monday evenings for "American meetings." A separate room is constructed for their use which comes to be known as the "Upper Room," now the Consistory of the Oratoire. Americans hold public worship here on Sundays until 1830. The Rev. Mark Wilks, English Independent, becomes pastor of this group officially known as "the American Congregation."
1818 The American Congregation assist their French brethren in organizing religious societies among the French Protestants, the first being the French Bible Society.
1821 The Rev. John Summerfield, noted Methodist evangelist, preaches in the "Upper Room" for some time, in addition to the ministrations of visiting American preachers and of the Rev. Jonas King for three years.

Jonas King goes out to Syria as the first missionary of the French Society of Foreign Missions. S.V.S Wilder returns to America.

The first Church building for public religious services in English in Paris is erected by the Rev. Lewis Way, a Church of England chaplain. This was the Way Chapel, at the corner of the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and rue Marbeuf. It was privately owned by the Way family until 1880. In addition there was the official Church of England Congregation meeting at the Oratoire. The Presbyterian Church of Scotland met in the "Upper Room" later.

1825 Bishop Luscombe, a retired Bishop of the Church of England, begins his chaplaincy of over twenty years at the British Embassy.
1828 The American Congregation, with the adherence of the French evangelical movement known as "the Awakening," prepares the way for removal to a separate meeting place, their missionary and educational societies having prospered through strong Franco-American cooperation.

A lecture room in the Galerie de Fer, Boulevard des Italiens, is rented by the above named Franco-American group. A few months later an unused school, abandoned by the Saint-Simonian socialists in the rue Taitbout, is taken over. Here are maintained separate Sunday services and schools, evangelical English and Scots joining later. This arrangement continues for ten years, the headquarters being known as "Chapelle Taitbout." This Chapelle is recognized by the civil authorities only as a religious lecture room occupied by French and Americans, no baptisms, marriages, funerals or other religious ceremonies being permitted.

From 1830 to 1847 Colonel Thorn had American Episcopal services in his own private chapel.

1835 The Rev. Robert Baird comes from America to open his mission work in the rue Sainte Anne, preaching in the Chapelle Taitbout and working in close cooperation with pastor Mark Wilks among the French societies supported jointly by American missionary organizations and those of the French.
1837 The Rev. Dr. Edward N. Kirk makes his first visit to Paris and is presented to General Lewis Cass, United States minister to France, by Dr. Baird. Kirk begins American meetings at the Baird headquarters in the rue Sainte Anne, having preached with success in both English and French at the Chapelle Taitbout. Hopes are entertained at this time of starting an American chapel with an American pastor in charge. Kirk returns to America.
1838 Baird returns to the United States, transforms the French Association of New York into the Foreign Evangelical Society which in turn is merged into the "American and Foreign Christian Union" in 1843. Baird spends nine more years in Europe, continuing his activities in the American Congregation of the Chapelle Taitbout.
1840 The Rev. Ezra Eastman Adams, chaplain at Havre for American seamen, preaches for the American Congregation at the Chapelle Taitbout.
1846 Dr. Kirk spends several months in Europe, preaching for a part of his time at Chapelle Taitbout. The Rev. Mark Wilks continues as pastor.
1847 Bishop Luscombe had built a Church of England Chapel in the rue d'Aguesseau which was his private property. This he sells to a chaplain of the Church of England. This Chapel is largely attended by American Episcopalians.
1851 The American Congregation at the Chapelle Taitbout is ministered to by Baptist missionaries, the Rev. Erastus Willard and the Rev. Mr. Devan. Mr. Adams, from Havre, takes active part in the Chapelle Taitbout activities until the death of the Rev. Mark Wilks in 1855.
1854 The Rev. Mr. Shedlock, Independent Congregationalist, opens in the rue Saint-Honoré a chapel for the evangelicals who had worshipped with Mark Wilks. He endeavors to purchase property in the rue de Berri, but fails through lack of funds. This was the property eventually purchased for the first American Church in Paris.
1856 Dr. Thomas W. Evans, the famous dentist to the French Court, takes an option on the Chapel in the rue d'Aguesseau. This transaction being opposed by the English members of the congregation, Dr. Evans gives up the option. The building is eventually sold to a Church of England society and becomes the British Embassy Church.
1857 Dr. Kirk purchases No. 21 rue de Berri, and arranges for the building of the first Church built and owned by Americans in Paris.

Chapter One