People of Detroit:
Father François Dollier de Casson
François Dollier de Casson was born in 1620. In early adulthood, he was a cavalry officer. In September, 1666, Dollier came to Canada where he aided in a battle against the Mohawks. Sometime later, Dollier gave up the military in order to pursue preisthood. He became a Sulpitian priest of the Diocese of Nantes, Brittany.
At some point after 1666 and before 1668, Dollier served as chaplain at Fort Ste. Anne near Lake Champlain. In the winter of 1668-69, he lived with the Nipissing where he was told of large numbers of Natives living around Lake Superior. Determined to find these people, Dollier went to Montreal in the following summer to organize a journey to the Lake Superior area.
In Montreal, Dollier met Father René Brehant de Galinée, who joined him in his quest to find the Lake Superior Natives. The men were encouraged to join La Salle who was headed in the same direction. The men set sail on July 6, 1669. Along the way, on September 24, 1669, they met Louis Joliet, who was also on his way to Lake Superior to search for copper mines. La Salle had taken ill and was forced to give up his mission, so the missionares joined Joliet's team. In March of 1670, after wintering in what is now Norfolk County, Ontario, the two priests continued on through Lake Erie to the Detroit River and north to lake St. Clair. I do not know whether or not Joliet was still with them at this point, or if/when they arrived in the Lake Superior area.
In passing through the Detroit area, somewhere near the mouth of the River Rouge, the priests found a rock formation carved into sculpture by Native Americans. Believing it to be an idol and thus a sacrilege, the priests used their hatchets to destroy it.
Father Dollier is still being researched, please check back for updates.