Jacques Marquette

Father Jacques Marquette S.J. (June 1, 1637 – May 18, 1675),[1] sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, [2] was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley.

Jacques Marquette
Pere Marquette closup
1869 portrait of Marquette
BornJune 1, 1637
DiedMay 18, 1675 (aged 37)
Other namesPere Marquette


Jacques Marquette was born in Laon, France, on June 1, 1637. He came of an ancient family distinguished for its civic and military services. Marquette joined the Society of Jesus at age 17.[3] He studied and taught in France for several years, the Jesuits assigned him to New France in 1666 as a missionary to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Arriving at Quebec he was at once signed to Trois-Rivières on the Saint Lawrence, where he assisted Gabriel Druillettes and, as preliminary to further work, devoted himself to the study of the local languages, and became fluent in six different dialects.[4]

In 1668 Father Marquette was moved by his superiors to missions farther up the St. Lawrence River in the western Great Lakes region. That year he helped Gabriel Druillettes found the mission at Sault Ste. Marie in present-day Michigan.[5] Other missions were founded at St. Ignace in 1671 (St. Ignace Mission),[3] and at La Pointe, on Lake Superior near the city of Ashland, Wisconsin. At La Pointe he encountered members of the Illinois tribes, who told him about the important trading route of the Mississippi River. They invited him to teach their people, whose settlements were mostly farther south. Because of wars between the Hurons at La Pointe and the neighboring Lakota people, Father Marquette left the mission and went to the Straits of Mackinac; he informed his superiors about the rumored river and requested permission to explore it.

Pere Marquette
Pere Marquette and the Indians [at the Mississippi River], oil painting (1869) by Wilhelm Lamprecht (1838–1906), at Marquette University[6]

Leave was granted, and in 1673 Marquette joined the expedition of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer. They departed from St. Ignace on May 17, with two canoes and five voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry (Métis).[3] They followed Lake Michigan to Green Bay and up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters. From there, they were told to portage their canoes a distance of slightly less than two miles through marsh and oak plains to the Wisconsin River. Many years later, at that point the town of Portage, Wisconsin was built, named for the ancient path between the two rivers. From the portage, they ventured forth, and on June 17 they entered the Mississippi near present-day Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.

The Joliet-Marquette expedition traveled to within 435 miles (700 km) of the Gulf of Mexico but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By this point they had encountered several natives carrying European trinkets, and they feared an encounter with explorers or colonists from Spain.[7] They followed the Mississippi back to the mouth of the Illinois River, which they learned from local natives provided a shorter route back to the Great Lakes. They reached Lake Michigan near the site of modern-day Chicago, by way of the Chicago Portage. In September Marquette stopped at the mission of St. Francis Xavier, located in present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin, while Jolliet returned to Quebec to relate the news of their discoveries.[8]

Marquette Winter Monument Chicago
Marker commemorating Marquette's wintering location in 1674–75, today in Chicago
Grave of Marquette, St. Ignace, Michigan.

Marquette and his party returned to the Illinois Territory in late 1674, becoming the first Europeans to winter in what would become the city of Chicago. As welcomed guests of the Illinois Confederation, the explorers were feasted en route and fed ceremonial foods such as sagamite.[9]

In the spring of 1675, Marquette traveled westward and celebrated a public mass at the Grand Village of the Illinois near Starved Rock. A bout of dysentery which he had contracted during the Mississippi expedition sapped his health. On the return trip to St. Ignace, he died at age 37 near the modern town of Ludington, Michigan.

A Michigan Historical Marker at this location reads:

Father Jacques Marquette, the great Jesuit missionary and explorer, died and was buried by two French companions somewhere along the Lake Michigan shore on May 18, 1675. He had been returning to his mission at St. Ignace which he had left in 1673 to go exploring in the Mississippi country. The exact location of his death has long been a subject of controversy. A spot close to the southeast slope of this hill, near the ancient outlet of the Pere Marquette River, corresponds with the death site as located by early French accounts and maps and a constant tradition of the past. Marquette's remains were reburied at St. Ignace in 1677.[10]

The Ojibway Museum on State Street in downtown St. Ignace is in a building that was constructed adjacent to Marquette's gravesite during urban development.

Legacy and honors

Father Marquette is memorialized in the names of many towns, geographical locations, parks, a major university, and other institutions:

In addition, statues in Marquette's honor have been erected in several places, including the Prairie du Chien Post Office; Parliament Building, Quebec, Canada; at Marquette University; Detroit, Michigan; and Fort Mackinac, Michigan. Other types of memorials were erected, including those at his birthplace in Laon, France; and St. Mary's Church, Utica, Illinois.

The Legler Branch of the Chicago Public Library displays "Wilderness, Winter River Scene," a restored mural by Midwestern artist R. Fayerweather Babcock. The mural depicts Father Jacques Marquette and Native Americans trading by a river. Commissioned for Legler Branch in 1934, the mural was funded by the Works Projects Administration.[15]

Stamp US 1898 1c Trans-Miss
Marquette Trans-Mississippi
1898 issue
Marquette 1968 Issue-6c
Marquette explorer 300th
1968 issue

Marquette was honored on the one-cent Trans-Mississippi Exposition issue, which shows him on the Mississippi River[16] and by a 6-cent stamp issued September 20, 1968. It was the 300th anniversary of his establishing the oldest permanent settlement in Michigan at Sault Sainte Marie.[17]

Photo gallery


Sketch of Father Marquette

Marquette and jolliet map 1681

Ca. 1681 map of Marquette and Jolliet's 1673 expedition

Marquette's Death - Michigan Historical Marker

Michigan Historical Marker: "Marquette's Death"

Jacques Marquette Memorial in Laon France 2007-12-01

Memorial to Marquette in his birthplace of Laon, France


Statue of Marquette in Detroit, Michigan

Pere Marquette Mackinac 2007

Statue of Marquette at Fort Mackinac


Statue of Marquette in Marquette, Michigan


Statue of Marquette in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Pere Marquette Memorial - Utica, IL

Pere Marquette Memorial in Utica, IL

See also


  1. ^ "Jacques Marquette". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  2. ^ Melody, John. "Archdiocese of Chicago" The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 23 February 2012
  3. ^ a b c ""Jacques Marquette", Biography". biography.com.
  4. ^ Spalding, Henry. "Jacques Marquette, S.J." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 15 February 2019
  5. ^ Monet, J., “Marquette, Jacques", Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003
  6. ^ The painting was rendered as an engraving on a US commemorative postage stamp, 1898 (Illustration)
  7. ^ Catton, Bruce (1984). Michigan: A History, p. 14. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-30175-3
  8. ^ Campbell, T.J., "James Marquette", Pioneer priests of North America, 1642-1710, Vol. 3, Fordham University Press, 1910
  9. ^ "Odd Wisconsin Archive: Beer and Sweet Corn". wisconsinhistory.org. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
  10. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers". michmarkers.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-31. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
  11. ^ "Bibliography on Marquette County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  12. ^ "Focus on our history: How county was named". Ludington Daily News. October 3, 1987. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Term: Marquette, Jacques 1637 – 1675". wisconsinhistory.org. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013.
  14. ^ "Home | Marquette Transportation Company". marquettetrans.com. Marquette Transportation Company LLC. 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  15. ^ Chicago Public Library. About Legler Branch.
  16. ^ Haimann, Alexander T., "Arago: people, postage & the post. 1-cent Marquette on the Mississippi". National Postal Museum. Accessed May 2, 2017.
  17. ^ Tessa Sabol. "Trans-Mississippi Exposition Commemorative Stamp Issue and National Identity at the Turn of the Twentieth Century". National Postal Museum. Accessed May 2, 2017.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Jacques Marquette, S.J." . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

External links

1674 in France

Events from the year 1674 in France.

Ex Stasis (sculpture)

Ex Stasis is a public art work created by American artist Richard Lippold and located on the campus of Marquette University in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The abstract sculpture is a series of angular metallic planes set on a concrete pedestal. It is located near Marquette's Haggerty Museum of Art, but used to be the centerpiece of the west courtyard of the Alumni Memorial Union.

Father Marquette National Memorial

Father Marquette National Memorial pays tribute to the life and work of Jacques Marquette, French priest and explorer. The memorial is located in Straits State Park near St. Ignace in the modern-day U.S. state of Michigan, where he founded a Jesuit mission in 1671 and was buried in 1678. The associated Father Marquette Museum building was destroyed in a fire on March 9, 2000.

Jacques Marquette (Trentanove)

Jacques Marquette is a statue by Gaetano Trentanove of Jacques Marquette, the most well known version being the 1896 marble one installed in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol in Washington D.C..

Jacques Marquette (sculpture)

Jacques Marquette is a public art work by artist Ronald Knepper. It is located on the campus of Marquette University west of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Louis Jolliet

Louis Jolliet (September 21, 1645 – last seen May 1700) was a French Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America. Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, a Catholic priest and missionary, were the first non-Natives to explore and map the Mississippi River in 1673.

Mitchigamea language

Mitchigamea or Michigamea is a language spoken by Mitchigamea people.

In 1673, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet used a Mitchigamea man, who only spoke Illinois poorly, as a translator between the Illinois-speaking French, and the Siouan-speaking Quapaw. Jean Bernard Bossu provides two sentences from the mid-18th century which, according to John Koontz, indicate that Michigamea was a Siouan language of the Mississippi Valley branch.

Mother Teresa Monument

The Mother Teresa Monument is a public art work by artist Guatam Pal. It is located on the west side of the St. Joan of Arc Chapel on the Marquette University campus in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The sculpture depicts Mother Teresa dressed in a sari and holding an infant. The sculpture commemorates Mother Teresa's 1981 visit to Marquette, when she was awarded the Pere Marquette Discovery Award. The sculpture was dedicated on October 6, 2009 as part of a weeklong celebration of the "Centennial of Women at Marquette."

Pere Jacques Marquette (Queoff)

Pere Jacques Marquette is a public art work by American artist Tom Queoff, located in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The bronze figure depicts the Jesuit missionary standing with cross in hand. It is located in Pere Marquette Park near the Milwaukee County Historical Society and Riverwalk.

Pere Marquette (Amtrak train)

The Pere Marquette is a passenger train operated by Amtrak as part of its Michigan Services on the 176-mile (283 km) route between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois. It is funded in part by the Michigan Department of Transportation and is train 370 eastbound and train 371 westbound.The train is named for a named train of the defunct Pere Marquette Railway, and in turn for Pere Marquette, Michigan, an early name for Ludington. The town was named for Father Jacques Marquette, a French explorer of the Great Lakes region.

Pere Marquette Railway

The Pere Marquette Railway (reporting mark PM) operated in the Great Lakes region of the United States and southern parts of Ontario in Canada. It had trackage in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and the Canadian province of Ontario. Its primary connections included Buffalo; Toledo; and Chicago.

The company was named after Père (French for Father) Jacques Marquette S.J. (1637–1675), a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste Marie.

Pere Marquette River

The Pere Marquette River is a river in Michigan in the United States. The main stream of this river is 63.9 miles (102.8 km) long, running from Lake County south of Baldwin into the Pere Marquette Lake, and from there into Lake Michigan.This river is named after the French Roman Catholic missionary Jacques Marquette, who explored the Great Lakes and Mississippi River areas during the mid-17th century. He died in the vicinity of the river in spring 1675 on his way from Chicago to the French fort at Mackinaw.

Pere Marquette State Forest

The Pere Marquette State Forest encompasses lands in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, on the western side of the state. Counties within the Pere Marquette are: Leelanau, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Oceana, Newaygo and Mecosta.

There are several trail-ways in the Pere Marquette, the longest of which are the Muncie Lake Pathway, at 11.5 miles (18.5 km) in length; the VASA Pathway, at 16.7 miles (26.9 km); and the Cadillac Pathway, at 11.3 miles (18.2 km). The trails are well suited to biking, hiking and cross country skiing.

The North Country Trail includes 65 miles (105 km) within the Pere Marquette, and over 1,500 miles (2,400 km) in Michigan as a whole.

It is named after French explorer Jacques Marquette, who founded the first European settlement of Michigan in 1668.

Portage, Wisconsin

Portage is a city in and the county seat of Columbia County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 10,662 at the 2010 census making it the largest city in Columbia County. The city is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Portage was named for the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway, a portage between the Fox River and the Wisconsin River, which was recognized by Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet during their discovery of a route to the Mississippi River in 1673. The city's slogan is "Where the North Begins."

Rainbow Machine

Rainbow Machine is a public art work by American artist Joseph Burlini, formerly located on the campus of Marquette University in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ruins X

Ruins X is a public art work created by American artist Ernest Carl Shaw and located at the Haggerty Museum of Art on the campus of Marquette University in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The abstract sculpture is part of a series of works in which the artist explores concepts of weight, balance, and order. It is located between Marquette's Haggerty Museum of Art and Helfaer Theatre.


Sagamité is a Native American stew made from hominy or Indian corn and grease (from animal fat). Additional ingredients may include vegetables, wild rice, brown sugar, beans, smoked fish or animal brains.

Caddo sagamité was thick soup made from corn flour, that had previously been parched and ground into a fine meal. Beans and acorn flour could be added. The Caddos served the stew in large earthenware pots, for crowds during ceremonies.Sagamité was used in ceremonies to celebrate welcomed guests by tribes such as the Peoria, Huron, Osage, and early Caddo tribes of Arkansas. According to the Illinois State Museum, the Peoria fed sagamité to explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet during the explorers’ 1673 journey to the Mississippi River.

Wisconsin River

The Wisconsin River is a tributary of the Mississippi River in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. At approximately 430 miles (692 km) long, it is the state's longest river. The river's name, first recorded in 1673 by Jacques Marquette as "Meskousing", is rooted in the Algonquian languages used by the area's American Indian tribes, but its original meaning is obscure. French explorers who followed in the wake of Marquette later modified the name to "Ouisconsin", and so it appears on Guillaume de L'Isle's map (Paris, 1718). This was simplified to "Wisconsin" in the early 19th century before being applied to Wisconsin Territory and finally the state of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin River originates in the forests of the North Woods Lake District of northern Wisconsin, in Lac Vieux Desert near the border of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It flows south across the glacial plain of central Wisconsin, passing through Wausau, Stevens Point, and Wisconsin Rapids. In southern Wisconsin it encounters the terminal moraine formed during the last ice age, where it forms the Dells of the Wisconsin River. North of Madison at Portage, the river turns to the west, flowing through Wisconsin's hilly Western Upland and joining the Mississippi approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Prairie du Chien.

The highest waterfall on the river is Grandfather Falls in Lincoln County.

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