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Jacques Marquette 1637-75 Traveling with his fellow adventurer Louis Jolliet Father Jacques Marquette explored the upper Mississippi River and reported the first accurate data on its course The story of the long and dangerous journey of Marquette and Jolliet is one of the most interesting chapters in the history of the exploration of the New World Jacques Marquette was born on June 1 1637 in Laon France He was the sixth and youngest child of Nicolas and Rose Marquette a prominent in Laon from the 14th century By nature Marquette was a thoughtful gentle person and decided at the age of 17 to become a Jesuit priest He went to Nancy as a novice By 1656 he had passed his novitiate and was studying philosophy For several years he taught at Jesuit schools in northern France All this time he hoped that he would become a missionary overseas In 1666 Marquettes wish was finally granted His superiors sent him to Quebec in New France now Canada There he studied Indian languages and in 1668 he was appointed to a mission among the Ottawa Indians at Sault Ste Marie The first winter 1668-1669 was reasonably comfortable During this time he first met the young Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet Marquette left the mission in September 1669 in order to go to La Pointe mission in the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior During the 18 months he spent there he was visited by a group of Illinois Indians and wanted to establish a mission among them His Indian friends told him of the great river they had crossed to reach him A quarrel with the Sioux Indians forced Marquettes converts to flee to Lake Michigan in 1671 Marquette accompanied them there That summer he founded the mission of St Ignace on the north shore of the Straits of Mackinac Jolliet came to St Ignace in December 1672 The governor of New France Comte de Frontenac had commissioned
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