Jacques Marquette Jesuit Missionary from France discovering Michigan’s St. Ignace


Jacques Marquette was born on the 10th of June, 1637 at Leon. This Jesuit Missionary from France became a part of the Society of Jesus when he was only 17 years old. He is well known for the base that he had set up at Sault Ste. Marie and for discovering Michigan’s St. Ignace.

Louis Joliet

Together with Louis Joliet, he became America’s first native to discover the Mississippi River’s northern area and the two of them even mapped the region. It was in 1666 that he was sent to Quebec in order to propagate his religion among the natives of the area.

Jacques Marquette

Later he was sent to St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to continue his work. It was during this time that he established a mission in Sault Ste. Marie and also at places like La Pointe. It was here that he started interacting with the local tribes and learned about the Mississippi River from them.

The natives wanted him to preach the religion to their people. However, due to unsafe and adverse situations, Jacques Marquette had to leave for Strait of Mackinac during this time.

Jacques Marquette Route

It was only in 1673 that Louis Jolliet joined Marquette and they started their journey in May of that year. They sailed across the Fox River following the route that passed through the Michigan Lake and the Green Bay.

Jacques Marquette Route
Jacques Marquette Route

It was from here that they traveled to river Wisconsin and finally reached the Mississippi River on the 17th of June the same year. Jacques Marquette returned to Illinois by the latter part of 1674 after spending the winter in Chicago he started towards the west and took a halt around the Starved Rock.

Jacques Marquette Facts

Unfortunately, the illnesses that he had suffered during his journey began to take a toll on his general health and started weakening him.

He, unfortunately, could not make it back to St. Ignace and passed away on his way back near Michigan’s Ludington town. His grave is in St. Ignace and he lives on through his name which has been used in his honor in many places.

The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi
The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition on the Upper Mississippi

Some such examples are, the Marquette University located in Milwaukee in Michigan, Father Marquette National Memorial at St. Ignace and the Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois.

He is forever respected for the work that he did and the way he spread his religion far and wide and served his nation and his religion with complete dedication.

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