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Document Number: AJ-048
Author: Allouez, Claude Jean, 1620-1690?
Title: Father Allouez¿s Journey into Wisconsin, 1669-70
Source: Kellogg, Louise P. (editor). Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1634-1699. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917). Pages 141-160.
Pages/Illustrations: 22 / 0
Citable URL:

Author Note

The Jesuit priest Jean Claude Allouez (1620-1689) was ordained in 1655 and spent seven years in the Canadian settlements on the lower St. Lawrence before his mission in Wisconsin described here. Allouez accompanied a returning Indian trade fleet through the Great Lakes to establish a mission at Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay, near modern Bayfield, Wisconsin, in 1665. Allouez founded the mission at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which would become the headquarters for the Jesuit missions in the upper Great Lakes and the site of the Pageant of 1671 (see AJ-050). He spent the next ten years among the Indians around Green Bay, Wisconsin, building the mission house of St. Francis Xavier at DePere, Wisconsin, before taking over the Illinois mission near modern Peoria after Marquette's death in 1675. During his twenty-four years of service, Father Allouez is said to have instructed over 100,000 Indians and baptized over ten thousand.

Allouez’s Mission to Wisconsin, 1669-70

In the early years of the seventeenth century the French had established trading posts and Jesuit missions among the Algonquian-speaking nations of the eastern Great Lakes. During the 1640s and 1650s, wars with the Iroquois drove those tribes west from their traditional homelands to the forests surrounding Lake Superior, in what today is Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and western Ontario. For two decades the French in Montreal and Quebec had little or no contact with their former allies.

Sent by the Bishop of Quebec to open missions in the upper Great Lakes, Father Allouez left Sault Ste. Marie in November 1669 and canoed from the head of Lake Huron into upper Lake Michigan. Canoeing barefoot and covered with ice, his party followed the southern coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula into Green Bay. He celebrated mass with bands of Indians camped at the Oconto River, then traveled to spend the rest of the winter among the Potawotamie east of the Fox River on Green Bay. After the ice broke in mid-March, Allouez began to travel among the other Indian bands living in Wisconsin, where he reported on their fish weirs and abundant fishing in Kaukauna, Grand Chute, and other rapids on the Fox River in central Wisconsin. On the banks of Lake Winnebago, he observed large flocks of migrating waterfowl, wild rice beds, deer, bears, and beaver in great abundance. Allouez also found camps of migrating Indians displaced by the continuing wars with the Iroquois. He visited Sauk Indians, driven to Wisconsin by the wars, and engaged in a conflict with the Santee Dakota who lived in western Wisconsin and west of the Mississippi River. Allouez continued into the Lake Michigan region in an attempt to convert the Miami and other displaced. spent the remainder of his life instructing Indians throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

Document Note

Allouez’s journal was first published in the Jesuit Relation of 1668, printed by Sebastien Cramoisy in Paris.

Other Internet and Reference Sources

The Cathloic Encyclopedia has a biography of Claude Allouez at:

See also the Background File to AJ-047.

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