Our Namesake

Marquette Council is named after is Father Jacques Marquette, also known as Père Marquette. (Père is the French word for father.)

He was a Jesuit missionary, who explored the Mississippi River in the 17th century along with Louis Joliet.

Father Marquette was the first European to see and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.

He was born in France in 1637, and after becoming a priest and joining the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits assigned in him 1666 to the New World to be a missionary to the Native Americans. He established several missions in areas now known as Michigan and Wisconsin.

In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Joliet, a French-Canadian fur trader and explorer, were chosen to lead an expedition to find the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Despite sharing a goal to find the river, the two men had different ambitions. Joliet, an experienced mapmaker and geographer, was focused on the finding the mouth of the Mississippi River, while Father Marquette wanted to spread the word of God among the people he encountered on the way there.

They traveled down the Mississippi River and made it to the mouth of the Arkansas River—within 435 miles of the Gulf of Mexico. But fearing they would encounter and be captured by Spanish colonists and Spanish explorers, they decided to return home.

Father Marquette died in 1675 at the age of 37, just two weeks shy of his 38th birthday.