Father Jacques Marquette: Missionary to the Indians

American Minute with Bill Federer

Father Jacques Marquette arrived in Quebec from France to be a missionary among the Indians. Governor Frontenac commissioned him to explore the unknown Mississippi River.

In 1673, he traveled with explorer Louis Joliette by canoe from Lake Michigan, across Green Bay, up Fox River to the Wisconsin River and down to the Mississippi, where they floated as far as the Arkansas River, deciding not to go further for fear of Spaniards.

On their return trip up the Illinois River, Father Marquette founded a mission among the Illinois Indians.

Caught by the winter weather on DECEMBER 4, 1674, Father Marquette and two companions erected a rough log cabin near the shore of Lake Michigan. The settlement would afterwards grow into the city of Chicago.

In an account written by Father Dablon of the Society of Jesus, 1678, Marquette met with over 500 chiefs and

explained to them the principal mysteries of our religion, and the end for which he had come to their country; and especially he preached to them Christ crucified, for it was the very eve of the great day on which he died on the cross for them.

In 1895, the State of Wisconsin placed a statue of Father Jacques Marquette in the U.S. Capitol Statuary Hall.

Bill FedererSelf-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.