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Term: Jolliet, Louis 1645 - 1700


(Note: birth date given in original as "ca. Sept. 21, 1645"; death date given as "Summer, 1700".) trader, explorer, cartographer, b. Beauport, near Quebec, Canada. He was educated at the Jesuit college, Quebec, received minor orders in 1662, but later decided not to enter the priesthood. In 1669, in partnership with his brother Adrian and others, he left Montreal for a trading expedition to Sault Ste. Marie where he remained until 1671.

Returning to Quebec, in 1672 Jolliet was appointed by the Intendant of New France to seek a route to the Pacific by way of the Mississippi River. The trip was sanctioned by Governor Frontenac, who granted the privilege of fur trade rights to defray the expenses of the exploration. In Dec., 1672, Jolliet arrived at St. Ignatius mission (St. Ignace, Mich.) with an appointment for Father Marquette to accompany him.

On May 17, 1673, with the Jesuit priest and five Frenchmen, he left the mission and by way of Green Bay and the Fox and Wisconsin rivers entered the Mississippi on June 17. The party followed the river southward to about the present site of Arkansas City, Ark., where they turned back on July 17, convinced that the great river led to the Gulf of Mexico. Returning by way of the Illinois River, Jolliet recognized the possibility of a canal from the Des Plaines to the Chicago River.

The most important original documents related to the 1673 Marquette/Jolliet expedition are given at Turning Points in Wisconsin History (

Again in Quebec, 1674, he sent a map drawn from memory and a report announcing his discovery to Colbert. In 1677 his petition to found a settlement in the Illinois country was denied by Louis XIV, and thereafter he devoted himself to opening fisheries and the fur trade along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. He acquired Mingan Islands in 1679, and in 1680 received the fief of Anticosti Island as a reward for his various discoveries.

In 1694 he explored the coast of Labrador, and in the winter of 1695-1696, as pilot of the ship "Clarente," returned to France where he received an appointment as royal hydrographer, an office that he held until his death. No record has been found of the cause of his death or place of burial. Jolliet had six children: two sons who left descendants (Jean-Baptiste and Charles),  two sons who did not (Louis and Francois), and two daughters (Marie-Genevieve and Claire).  He also had two brothers (Adrien and Zacharie) who left descendants. Rene Jette's ¿Dictionnaire genealogique des familles du Quebec¿ (Les Presses de l¿Universite de Montreal, 1983), pp. 603-604, traces the family from its arrival in French Canada until 1730.

For a discussion of the spelling of his names, see Joliet

View a related article at Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives.

View an account of Joliet and Marquette's discovery of the upper Mississippi at Wisconsin Historical Collections. 

[Source: Dict. Amer. Biog.; E. Gagnon, L. Jolliet (Quebec, 1902); J. Delanglez, Life and Voyages of L. Jolliet (Chicago, 1948); N. Amer. French Regime [on file in Archives, Marquette Univ.]. ]

68 records found

Jackamonis, Ed G. 1939
Jackson, James Albert 1840 - 1921
Jackson, Joseph 1812 - 1881
Jackson, Jr., Robert L. 1936
Jackson, Mortimer Melville 1809 - 1889
Jacobs, Herbert Henry 1864 - 1948
Jacobs, William Henry 1831 - 1882
Jahnke, Franklin M. 1900
James, Ada Lois 1876 - 1952
James, Edwin, 1797-1861 
Janssen, Edward H. 1815 - 1877
Jaronitzky, June 1938
Jarreau, Al 1940 -
Jastrow, Joseph 1863 - 1944
Jauch, Robert 1945
Jefferson, Thomas (descendants in Wisconsin)
Jeffery, Thomas B. 1845 - 1910
Jenkins, James Graham 1834 - 1921
Jenkins, John James 1843 - 1911
Jens, Salome 1935 -
Jensen, Scott R. 1960
Jeskewitz, Suzanne 1942
Jewett, Milo Parker 1808 - 1882
Jews in Wisconsin
Jogues, Fr. Isaac, 1607-1646
Johnson, Alfred Stanley, jr. 1863 - 1932
Johnson, Burdette Jay 1826 - 1902
Johnson, Daniel Harris 1825 - 1900
Johnson, Gary K. 1939
Johnson, Jay W. 1943
Johnson, John Anders 1832 - 1901
Johnson, John, dates unverified
Johnson, Lawrence H. 1908
Johnson, Lester R. 1901
Johnson, Raymond C. 1936
Johnson, Robert I. 1928
Johnson, Samuel Curtis 1833 - 1919
Johnson, Warren S. 1847 - 1911
Johnson, William A. 1922
Johnsrud, Duwayne 1943
Johnston, Kirsten 1967 -
Johnston, Robert Alexander 1846 - 1907
Johnston, Robert G. 1957
Johnston, Rod
Joliet, Louis
Jolliet, Louis 1645 - 1700
Jonas, Charles 1840 - 1896
Jones, Benjamin 1795 - 1881
Jones, Burr W. 1846 - 1935
Jones, Chester Lloyd 1881 - 1941
Jones, George W. (1853 - 1935)
Jones, George Wallace 1804 - 1896
Jones, Granville Duane 1856 - 1924
Jones, James Monroe 1824 - 1898
Jones, Jenkin Lloyd 1843 - 1918
Jones, John Reynolds (1851 - 1928)
Jones, Joseph E. 1914
Jones, Lewis Ralph 1864 - 1945
Jones, Milo Cornelius 1849 - 1919
Jones, Nellie [Sawyer] Kedzie 1858 - 1956
Jones, William Arthur 1844 - 1912
Joss, Addie 1880 - 1911
Juday, Chancey 1871 - 1944
Judd, Truman H. 1817 - 1884
Juneau, Solomon 1793 - 1856
Jung, Phillip 1845 - 1911
Junkermann, Otto C.
Jussen, Edmund 1830-1891

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