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Rene Menard

Missionary, b. at Paris, 1604; d. about Aug. 10, 1661

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Menard, RENE, missionary, b. at Paris, 1604; d. about August 10, 1661, in what is now Wisconsin. After the usual course of studies he set out from Dieppe in the beginning of May, 1640. Arriving at Quebec he was assigned to work among the Hurons, laboring first, however, among the Nippisriens. After the destruction of the Huron missions he went to Three Rivers, and on May 17 started for the Iroquois country. He was sent to the Cayugas, where for the first two months he was brutally treated, but after that he won the affection of the savages. When the Iroquois missions were interrupted, he again went to Three Rivers, but in 1659 started with 300 Ottowas for the Far West. He was then fifty-five years of age. In all probability the post he endeavored to establish was at Keweenaw, one hundred leagues west of Sault Ste. Marie. The story of his sufferings there forms one of the most pathetic pages of the “Relations”. From Keweenaw he set out to reach the Dacotahs, who, according to a letter written by him in July, 1661, lived three hundred leagues farther on. With him was a single Frenchman, not Guerin the famous “Donne”, but an armorer or blacksmith. They became separated in the forests, and Menard was never heard of again. He was probably murdered at the first rapid of the Menominee.


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