“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Kansas City in Jackson County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Chouteau’s Church (St. Francis Regis)

Saint Francois Regis-“L’Eglise Des Chouteau”

Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, March 5, 2010
1. Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker
Front of Marker in English
Inscription. front of marker in English

The presence of the Catholic Church was established at an early date in the Kansas City area. Sacerdotal artifacts were among the earliest booty captured by the Comanches in the 1690's, apparently from French priests making their way up the Missouri and out across the plains, some of the first travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Fr. Mercier accompanied de Bourgemont past Kawsmouth to the Comanche country in 1723-1724, and the Jesuits had a mission at the Kansa Grand Village, 12 leagues north of the Kaw, in 1727. Fr. Lutz and Fr. Roux, two "little French priests"; ministered briefly to the small French-Catholic enclave here in 1826, and in 1833-1834. Fr. Roux planned the first permanent church for the French parish at Kawsmouth, naming the tiny log church in honor of St. Francis Regis. The structure was built in 1835 at the Southeast corner of 11th and Pennsylvania on 40 arpents of land donated by a French resident, Pierre La Liberte. There still exists today a drawing of the church made in 1840 by Fr. Nicholas Point, and a catechism printed in French. The bell of the church is preserved at St Teresa's Academy. Since many of the parishoners were family members and employees of the Chouteau's trading post, it came to be called "Chouteau's Church". Its most important and long term patroness was Madame
Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, March 5, 2010
2. Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker
Reverse of Marker in French
Berenice Chouteau, widow of Francois Chouteau, the "Grande Dame" of Kansas City. Sacajawea's son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, may have been an early day parishoner. In the church were kept, in Latin and occasionally in French, the first birth, marriage and death records in Kansas City, and the adjacent French cemetery was the first burial ground in Kansas City.

Reverse of marker in French

L’église catholique fut établie très tôt à Kansas City par les Français. Dans le butin capturé par les Commanches dans les années 1690, il y avait des effets sacerdotaux ayant appartenu, semble-t- il, à des prêtres français qui traversaient les plaines parmi les premiers de la piste de Santa Fé. Frère Mercier, un prêtre, accompagna Bourgmont de Kawsmouth au centre du Kansas en 1723-1724. Les Jésuites avaient établi une mission dans le village principal des Kansas en 1727, à 12 lieues au Nord de la rivière Kaw.

Frère Lutz et Frère Roux, deux “petits prêtres français”, desservirent pentant une courte période la petite enclave français catholique ici en 1826 et en 1833-1834, célèbrant le culte à domicile.

Frère Roux établit la première église permanente pour la paroisse française à Kawsmouth; il appeal cette petite église en bois: “Saint François Régis”. L’ église fut construite en 1835 à l’angle Sud-Est de l’intersection
Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, March 5, 2010
3. Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker
Area photo of marker with the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and its Gold Dome in the background.
entre la 11ème. Rue et la rue de Pennsylvanie, sur 40 arpents de terre, don d’un résident français nommé “Pierre la Liberté”. On possède encore aujourd’hui un dessin de l’église effectué en 1840 par Frère Nicolas Point, ainsi qu’un cathéchisme imprimé en français. La cloche de l’église est conservée à l’Académie Sainte Thérèse. Comme l’entreprise commerciale des Chouteau lui fournissait à la fois paroissiens et soutien, l’église fut appelée: “Eglise des Chouteau”. Sa dame patronnesse fut pendant longtemps Madame Bérénice Chouteau, veuve de François Chouteau, la “Grande Dame” de Kansas City.

Le fils de Sacajawea, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, a peut-être été l’un des premiers paroissiens. Les premiers actes de naissance, de marriage et de décès de l’histoire de Kansas City ont été établis dans cette église, en latin et en français, et le cimetière français derrière l’eglise fut le premier cimetière de Kansas City.
Erected by The Chouteau Society & the Mildred Lane Kemper Fund.
Location. 39° 6.06′ N, 94° 35.394′ W. Marker is in Kansas City, Missouri, in Jackson County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Street and West 12th Street, on the right when traveling north on Washington Street. Touch for map.
Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Onions, January 27, 2008
4. Chouteau's Church (St. Francis Regis) Marker
Closeup of the Gold Dome of the Cathedral. This makes for an excellent landmark to find the marker.
Parking in the area will be at a premium during business hours M-F. Marker is at or near this postal address: 416 West 12th Street, Kansas City MO 64105, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Reverend Bernard Donnelly (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old French Cemetery (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Frankel, Frank & Co Building (about 600 feet away); Missouri Interstate Paper Company Building (about 600 feet away); First Meeting of Sertoma International (about 700 feet away); Rothenberg and Schloss Building (about 700 feet away); J. Fitzpatrick Saloon Building (about 800 feet away); Camp Union (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kansas City.
Also see . . .
1. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. This is the "Gold Domed" Cathedral where the marker is located. (Submitted on March 6, 2010, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas.) 

2. Chouteau Society. Link to the Organiztion (now Part of the Jackson County Parks & Recreation) that placed this series of markers. (Submitted on March 6, 2010, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas.) 
Categories. Churches & ReligionNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 6, 2010, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas. This page has been viewed 2,036 times since then and 51 times this year. Last updated on July 26, 2015, by Michael W. Kruse of Kansas City, Missouri. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 6, 2010, by Thomas Onions of Olathe, Kansas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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