Thursday, February 25, 2010

Father Marquette and the Chicago Portage

The old Chicago portage was used by the Indians in travelling by canoe from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi and then to the Gulf of Mexico, long before any white man had visited the site of the present city on the shore of Lake Michigan. The portage connected the Chicago River, then flowing into Lake Michigan, with the Des Plaines River, flowing into the Illinois River, which in turn discharges into the Mississippi opposite a point not far from St. Louis. It is probable that the first white men to visit the city of Chicago were Father Marquette (1637-1675) and Louis Joliet, though La Salle may have used the portage at an earlier date in the course of one of his journeys of exploration. It is certain, however, that La Salle established a fort at Starved Rock, some miles south of the present city of Chicago, in 1682; and it is in the journal of one of La Salle's followers, Joutel, that we find the first explanation of the name "Chicago." Joutel says that Chicago took its name from the profusion of garlic growing in the surrounding woods.

Joutel and his party were in Chicago in March, 1688, when lack of provision forced them to rely on whatever they could find in the woods. It appears that Providence furnished them with a "kind of manna" to eat with their meal. This seems to have been maple sap. They also procured in the woods garlic and other plants. The name Chicago may have come from the Indian word ske-kog-ong, wild onion place.

After the departure of Father Marquette several other mission settlements were attempted at Chicago, but these were all abandoned in 1700 and for almost a century Chicago ceased to be a place of residence for white men.

1 comment:

  1. When original source documents are examined, the Marquette/Jolliet Expedition of Discovery never happened. If one bases their conclusions that it did happen, not on the original documents, but on Shea, Delanglez, Hamilton and Campeau, one will say it did happen. Those four writers all had in common that they were all of the same religious order as Jacques Marquette. If they were judges in a case about this, wouldn't we request they recuse themselves?

    There are no government documents of the period that mention Marquette's name, and Jolliet never mentioned Marquette's name. The original Marquette narrative published in 1681 was not by Marquette, but rather notes taken by Claude Dablon from Jolliet on August 1, 1674. And the three important Marquette support documents, the Marquette Map, the St. Mary Narrative, and the Journal of the Second Voyage, all three "discovered" in the 1840's, are not authentic.

    They were "seeded" into the record to inflate the story of their brethren missionaries two centuries earlier. You can begin by searching "Marquette Map Hoax." For Jesuits at the Mississippi, but not credited, see "Ellington Stone."