Marquette Map Page


Rewriting the Earliest Cartographic History
of the Heartland of North America

Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter
for the Chicago Tribune, the late William Mullen:

       Carl and I have communicated numerous times about this research, by phone, email, and in person. Between assignments for the Chicago Tribune, I've been carefully reviewing 17 nth century documents and what later historians have had to say about them - at times in consultation with Professor Weber.
     Using his core work in this area, my intention is to publish a piece about French colonial America, inquiring into some of the inaccuracies that have long been considered established fact regarding the foundational histories of the regions of the Mississippi Valley, the Illinois Valley and the Chicago area. In my evaluation, and in that of some distinguished experts, his pursuit of historical truth has resulted in some very unusual discoveries. They will merit some basic revisions in the historical record.

The Jacques Marquette Map is Not an Authentic 17th Century Document

A map was discovered into history in 1844. It was immediately heralded as a long-lost map by Jacques Marquette. Francis Borgia Steck, in 1959, questioned the authenticity of the map based on the absence on the map of Marquette's own mission, which should be at letter C., below.

I was the first to put the Marquette Map online. It was about 20 years ago, after I had been studying the material for a few years. The version in the link is a sepia version I put up that is less muddy looking.

In 2005 I presented my three point Marquette Map Hoax Thesis to the Chicago Map Society. The following year I presented it to a history conference in Springfield, Illinois. The thesis is simple.

1. Marquette had no map-making training,

2. Marquette is associated with no other maps, and yet,

3. Marquette drew a map with the Illinois River, with its three-sides-of-an-octagon shape, accurately delineated nearly a century-and-a-half in in anticipation of any professional cartographer.

Put another way: if someone never had any training in map making, and they were associated with no other maps, could they draw a map with an accurately depicted Illinois River (as with three sides of an octagon), nearly a century-and-a-half earlier than even the most experienced cartographer?

Three basic problems casting doubt on the 1673-74 origin of the map, and its authorship by Marquette.


A. Detail of Illinois River on Marquette Map, above left, with three sides of an octagon contour. Above right, John Melish Map of 1818 with three sides of an octagon figure.  Apparently, Melish was the first to draw this shape on a popular map.

B. Detail comparison of Marquette Map, left, with 1703 Delisle, right. The apparent earliest "elbowing out" of the Mississippi in map history was on Delisle. This suggests the Marquette Map was not made by Marquette.


C. There should be a place name, St. Xavier, on Marquette's Map, left. It was the mission Marquette was supposed to be at when he drew the map.

A closer look at Marquette's Map, where there should be St. Xavier, there is instead, the Indian tribe, P8TE8TAMI (Potawatomi), with some inverted "v"'shapes above, indicating dwellings.