1675 : Father Marquette Dies Along Sunset Side of Michigan

May 18, 2022 all-day

Father Jacques Marquette, better known as Pere Marquette, was reburied on June 8, 1677, according to American-Indian funeral customs.

The French-born Jesuit priest — who explored the Mississippi River and the shores of Lake Michigan, founded St. Ignace and ministered to Indians — died somewhere along the Lake Michigan coast at age 37 on May 18, 1675, and was buried there.

However, two years later, Kiskakons and Iroquois disinterred him and put his cleaned bones in the sun to dry before putting them in a birch-bark box. They transported Marquette’s remains in a convoy of 30 canoes to St. Ignace, where two priests rowed out to meet them. The pair asked the Native Americans to confirm it was Marquette, and then they recited the “De Profundis” psalm, according to Reuben Gold Thwaites’ book, “Father Marquette.”

After the funeral rites, Marquette was lowered into a small vault in the middle of the church, the book says, “where it rests as the guardian angel of our (Ottawas) mission, The savages often come to pray over his tomb.”

Source : Zlati Meyer, “This week in Michigan history: Pere Marquette’s remains are reburied”, Detroit Free Press, June 2, 2013.

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