Marquette and Jolliet
End of a Friendship

Following their return from their explorations of the Michissipi (Mississippi) River, Marquette and Jolliet arrived in Green Bay in 1674. They parted company there as Father Marquette was too ill to continue. Their place in history had been sealed, but their partnership would, sadly, come to an early end.

Father Jacques Marquette

In October of 1674, Father Marquette's health had improved enough that he felt he was well enough to return to the Illinois Indians, whom he had met on his voyage to the Mississippi. He and Jolliet had been the first Europeans to visit the docile natives and Marquette was anxious to bring his ministry to them.

To that end, Marquette travelled into the Illinois territory and set up a mission there. However, poor health resurfaced and Marquette felt that he should return to the St. Ignatius (St. Ignace) mission. He was forced to stop in Chicago in December in order to recover.

On March 30, 1675, Father Marquette set out once again for the Illinois territory and stopped in a village near present-day Luddington, Michigan. There, he founded the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin mission. He died there, aged 38, on May 18, 1675. The following year, his remains were exhumed and taken to St. Ignatius where he was given his final burial.

Louis Jolliet

After leaving his friend and partner, Father Jacques Marquette, in Green Bay in 1674, Jolliet continued to Sault Ste. Marie where he spent the winter writing his journals of their voyage down the Mississippi River and copying and drawing maps.

In 1675, he continued his journey to Quebec but his canoe overturned in the Lachine Rapids and his journals, diaries and maps were all lost. An Illinois native given to Jolliet as a slave, along with 2 other Frenchmen, drowned. Jolliet, too, was almost lost, but was rescued 4 hours later by some fishermen. Oddly enough, the copies of his maps and journals which he had left at Sault Ste. Marie were destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, Jolliet was able to reconstruct his maps and journals from memory, but the only genuine account of the trip was through a narrative and map sent to Claude Dablon, a Jesuit missionary stationed in Sault Ste. Marie, by Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette before his death.

Back in Quebec, Jolliet settled into a more subdued lifestyle for a short time where he became one of the more influencial people in the colony. He played the organ in the cathedral in Quebec and was married to Claire-François Bissot. Claire's father was a wealthy fur trader and trafficker along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River and Jolliet was only too happy to return to the fur trade.

In 1676, he tried to get permission to travel westward once more to set up trade relations with the Illinois, but permission was denied. Instead, he was granted permission to trade along the northern shore of the St. Lawrence. As a result, he formed his own company and made a name for himself throughout New France. Within 3 years, he had been granted permission to trade along the southern shore as well, and, by 1680, was granted Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

British presence in Hudson Bay, however, would soon have Louis Jolliet back in his prefered lifestyle of adventurer.


Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet

The Mississippi River
* End of a Friendship *
Jolliet - Hudson Bay & The British
Jolliet - The Final Years