Pere Marquette


Jacques Marquette was a French Jesuit missionary who founded the Michigan settlements of Sault St. Marie and St. Ignace. He, along with his companion Louis Joliet, was the first European to visit and map the northernmost portion of the Mississippi River.

Marquette was born in Laon, France, and he became a member of the Society of Jesus at the age of seventeen. He was first sent by his superiors to Quebec, where he served as a missionary to the native peoples. The young Jesuit was later transferred to an area near the Great Lakes, and he founded missions at Sault St. Marie and La Pointe. Here Marquette learned about the grandeur of the Mississippi River, and he requested leave to explore it. Permission was granted, and he and French-Canadian explorer Louis Joliet set out from Lake Michigan. After canoeing up the Fox River, they carried their boats for nearly two miles before arriving at the source of the Mississippi. Joliet returned to Quebec to report their discovery, while Marquette’s party continued forth to the Illinois Territory, remaining with the region’s indigenous people for the winter. After saying a public Mass at the grand Village of the Illinois, he set out for Michigan but passed away en route, his failed health due to a bout of dysentery. He was buried in St. Ignace.

Key events during the life of Jacques Marquette:

Joined the Society of Jesus
Went to Canada as a missionary to the indigenous peoples
Founded missions at Sault St. Marie and La Pointe
Traveled from Lake Michigan to the start of the Mississippi River
Returned to the Illinois territory
Celebrated Mass at the Grand Village of the Illinois
Passed away on the return trip to St. Ignace

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
The Enterprise of Marquette  in  The Adventures of Chevalier de la Salle  by  John S. C. Abbott
Marquette in Iowa  in  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans  by  Edward Eggleston
Down the Mississippi  in  Story of the Thirteen Colonies  by  H. A. Guerber
Friends of the Indians  in  The Men Who Found America  by  Frederick Winthrop Hutchinson
How the Mississippi Was Discovered  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall

Image Links

Marquette and Joliet
 in Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans

Marquette and Joliet come to an Indian Village
 in Story of the Thirteen Colonies

The Indians loved the brave Father Marquette, and called him their friend.
 in The Men Who Found America

Father Marquette on the Mississippi River
 in History of the United States

Marquette and Joliet floating down the Mississippi
 in Builders of Our Country: Book I

Marquette Attacked by the Arkansas Indians
 in Builders of Our Country: Book I

The Burial of Marquette
 in Builders of Our Country: Book I

Short Biography
John Eliot Missionary who worked with the American Indians, and translated the bible into native Indian languages.
Rene La Salle Dauntless adventurer who followed the Mississippi to its mouth, and claimed all for France.