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Historic Diaries: Marquette and Joliet

May 17, 1673: Setting Out

Editor's Note:

Marquette's Lake of the Illinois is Lake Michigan, and the Bay des Puants is Green Bay; information on the origin of these names will come in subsequent entries. The explorers left the Strait of Mackinac and hugged the northwestern shore of Lake Michigan, paddling roughly parallel to Michigan Route 2 past the modern towns of Manistique and Escanaba toward Marinette.

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Marquette's Journal: "Accordingly, on the 17th day of May, 1673, we started from the mission of St. Ignace at Michilimakinac, where I then was. The joy that we felt at being selected for this expedition animated our courage, and rendered the labor of paddling from morning to night agreeable to us. ... I placed our voyage under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Immaculate, promising her that, if she granted us the favor of discovering the great river, I would give it the name of the Conception, and that I would also make the first mission that I should establish among those new peoples, bear the same name. This I have actually done, among the Ilinois. ... With all these precautions, we joyfully plied our paddles on a portion of Lake Huron, on that of the Illinois, and the Bay des Puants."

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