He entered Ohio Wesleyan University but left in 1861 to serve in the Civil War. He was business agent at Constantinople of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (1867-72). From 1875 to 1892 he was the correspondent in Constantinople of the New York Tribune.
He was ordained a minister in 1880, and returned to the United States after resigning his commission as a missionary in 1901. He edited Report of the Ecumenical Conference on Foreign Missions (1900) and the Encyclopedia of Missions (1904). He wrote: