(June 1, 1637 – May 18, 1675), sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French-American Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste.
Marie, and later founded St.
In 1673, Father Marquette, with Louis Jolliet, an explorer born near Quebec City, was the first European to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley.
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.
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 assigned 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.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.
Other missions were founded at St.
Ignace in 1671 (St.
Ignace Mission), 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.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:
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.
Marquette County, Michigan; Marquette County, Wisconsin
Several communities, including: Marquette, Michigan; Marquette, Wisconsin; Marquette, Iowa; Marquette, Illinois; Marquette Heights, Illinois; Pere Marquette Charter Township, Michigan; and Marquette, Manitoba
Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marquette Island in Lake Huron
Lake Marquette in Minnesota; Marquette Lake in Quebec
Marquette River in Quebec; Pere Marquette River in Michigan
Pere Marquette Park in Milwaukee, WI
Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, Illinois
Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois
Pere Marquette Beach, a public beach in Muskegon, Michigan
Pere Marquette State Forest, in Michigan
The Pere Marquette Railway
"Cité Marquette", former US-City-Base (1956–1966) built by Americans based on the NATO Air Force Base in Couvron (38th Bombardment Wing), Laon, France (his birthplace).
Marquette Transportation Company, a towboat company using a silhouette of the Pere in his canoe as their emblem.
Marquette Building in Chicago; Marquette Building in Detroit; Marquette Building in St.
Louis; Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria, Illinois
Father Marquette is memorialized by various statues, monuments and historical markers:
Father Marquette National Memorial near St.
Chicago Portage National Historic Site, along with Louis Jolliet, near Lyons, Illinois
Statues have been erected to Marquette various locations, including at: Detroit, Michigan; Fort Mackinac, Michigan; Marquette, Michigan; Milwaukee, at Marquette University; Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, Utica, Illinois; Laon, France; the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol; the Quebec Parliament Building
The Legler Branch of the Chicago Public Library displays "Wilderness, Winter River Scene," a restored mural by Midwestern artist R.
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.
Father Marquette has been honored twice on postage stamps issued by the United States:
A one-cent stamp in 1898, part of Trans-Mississippi Issue, which shows him on the Mississippi River;
A 6-cent stamp issued September 20, 1968, marking the 300th anniversary of his establishing the Jesuit mission at Sault Ste.
Author: Wilhelm Lamprecht (German 1838-1906)
Source: The original hangs in the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I took a photograph on Sept. 19, 2009.
License: CC-PD-Mark PD US expired