Jacques Marquette, Jesuit priest, missionary, explorer (b at Laon, France 10 June 1637; d at the mouth of a river later called the Père Marquette R, Mich 18 May 1675). Contemporaries regarded Marquette as a gifted linguist who founded the St-Ignace Mission and opened the Illinois country to missionaries. In the popular mind he is inextricably bound to Louis JOLLIET and the discovery of the Mississippi.
Father Marquette was ordained on 7 Mar 1666 and sailed for New France, where he served at Sault Ste Marie and at the mission to the Huron and Ottawa at Chequamegon (SW shore, Lk Superior) before he founded the mission of St-Ignace on the Straits of Mackinac. Late in 1672 Marquette received orders from his superior, Father Dablon, to accompany Louis Jolliet. The expedition departed St-Ignace for the Mississippi on 17 May 1673 and reached 33°40´ N lat near the mouth of the Arkansas R by mid-July. On Sept 30 they returned to the mission of St-Francis-Xavier (DePere, Wis) by way of the Illinois R and Lk Michigan. Exhausted and ill from the Mississippi voyage, Marquette journeyed back to the Illinois late in 1674 and opened the mission of La Conception among the Kaskaskia (an Illinois tribe). By spring 1675 he was too ill to continue his work and departed for St-Ignace but died on the NE shore of Lk Michigan.