Text from the book

A Pictorial History

by Robert E. Sterling

G. Bradley Publishing, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri

Look for these other titles of books about Joliet by Robert E. Sterling:

Joliet Transportation
and Industry
, A Pictorial History
- Volume 1

Sterling has also published a two-volume Pictorial History of Will County.

Louis Jolliet
This impressive Statue of Louis Joliet stood in the St. Louis Plaza near the Palace of Manfacturers, at Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Louis Jolliet was born in French Canada in 1645, the third son of a Quebec wagonmaker and wheekwright. His father died when Louis was six years old, and when he was seventeen Louis Jolliet entered the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus. After three years, Jolliet left the Jesuits and began following in the footsteps of his older brother, Lucien, who was a successful trader and "voyageur." If Lucien had not disappeared on a mission through Iroquois territory, he, rather than Louis, would probably have been selected to lead the expedition to the Mississippi River.

Read more about Louis Jolliet
in the Hall of Fame


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Jolliet's acclaim as an explorer was diminished somewhat when his records and maps were destroyed at the end of his trip. Anxious to reach Montreal without further delay, Jolliet decided to shoot the rapids of Lachine on the St. Lawrence instead of portaging around them. His canoe was upset, all records of the mission were lost, and he barely escaped with his life. Although he later produced another report and map from memory, much of the detail was missing. Thus, Marquette's journal became the accepted authority on the trip. However, Jolliet did impart his name to a mound along the Des Plaines River and ultimately to the city of Joliet nearby.