Michigan Transportation History


Claude Dablon (February 1618 – May 3, 1697) was a Jesuit missionary, born in Dieppe, France.PersonFrenchCanadianMissionaryMichiganPublicNew France

He joined the Jesuits Jesuitin 1639. He was sent into missionary work in 1655. He accompanied Father Chaumonot on a sojourn among the Onondaga, Iroquois. His account has been published in the Jesuit Relations1 In 1661, Father Druillettes made an exploration to Hudson Bay on which Dablon went along. They set up missions among the indigenous peoples of the region. Druillettes failed in his attempt to discover the Northwest Passage.ExplorerGreat Lakes

In 1668, Dablon joined Claude-Jean Allouez and Jacques Marquette in missions in the Lake Superior region. George Bancroft called these three the "illustrious triumvirate." He and Allouez made a circuit of Lake Superior producing the first good map of the Lake and finding some native copper deposits on the Keewenaw Peninsula,2 about which Dablon was the first European to make this discovery known. (Pierre-Esprit Radisson? and Médard des Groseilliers? also claim to have made this discovery at about the same time.) Following this adventure, The Jesuit order appointed Dablon as Superior of the Western Missions. He and Marquette started the mission at Sault Ste. Marie in 1669 and Dablon established missions among the Fox in Wisconsin.3

The Jesuits appointed Dablon Superior General of all the Canadian Missions in 1671, and he retained that office until 1693, with a six year hiatus between 1680 and 1686. As Superior General headquartered in Quebec, Dablon appointed Claude-Jean Allouez to lead the Catholic services at the 1671 Pageant of the Sault and Marquette to the 1673 Jolliet expedition down the Mississippi River. Upon Marquette's death, Dablon brought Marquette's maps and notes back to Europe. Dablon made many contributions to the Jesuit Relations on account of his interest in the exploration of the Great Lakes region. He died at Quebec in 1697.


1. Claude Dablon, "Portant sur le voyage des pères Joseph Chaumonot et Claude Dablon à Onontagué, pays des Iroquois, 1655, Jesuit Relations 3 (1656), p. 7.

2. Charette.

3. Corrigan.


Spillane, Edward. "Claude Dablon." The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908.

Corrigan, Michael. "Register of the Clergy Laboring in the Archdiocese of New York", Historical Records and Studies, Vol. 1, United States Catholic Historical Society, 1899 p. 23

Charette, Marie-Jean-d’Ars, C.S.C. "Dablon, Claude", Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 1, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–2018.

As always, the DCB has an excellent bibliography that will lead you to more detailed sources.

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "Claude Dablon," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on January 01, 2020, at 07:04 PM EST

Page last modified on January 01, 2020, at 07:04 PM EST