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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Père Marquette

Father Jacques Marquette was a Jesuit who came to the area of Michigan in the 1600's through Québec from France. He founded the second oldest city in the US: Sault Ste Marie and then St Ignace, the 3rd oldest city. His influence was far reaching. We have a city and county named after him, a river, a rail trail that goes from Midland to Clare and a community on Lake Michigan. He was the first non-native to explore the Mississippi (with Louis Joliet). In 1677, he died of dysentery at age 37 in Ludington and was buried there, but his followers from St Ignace reburied him in their town near where this statue stands. He was gifted in languages, and learned how to speak with the Huron Indians. He was born on June 1 in Laon, France. Today is his 373rd birthday. St Ignace (which is French for St Ignasius) was his patron saint.

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