The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
The Pilot of La Salle’s Griffon
Publication:
The Northern Mariner / Le marin du nord (St. John's, NL), Jul 2013, p. 213-238


Description
Creator:
Calnan, Joe, Author
Media Type:
Text
Item Type:
Articles
Description:
The French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle (1643-1687) had a small rigged sailing coaster built in 1679 to travel between the Niagara River and Lake Michigan. La Salle hired a qualified and experienced pilot to conduct the vessel on these waters, but within nine months of starting on the Great Lakes, the pilot had lost two boats entrusted to him and disappeared with the crew. The loss of La Salle's Griffon was chronicled by Louis Hennepin, the missionary, and became one of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes. Today, the pilot has gained notoriety as a great Danish heretic, in a bad mood, seven feet tall, named Luke Dare; But whether this character has its foundation in primary sources or in folklore has never been clearly established. By systematically examining the origins of the information we have about the pilot in both primary and secondary documents, this paper attempts to separate folklore from verifiable sources and shed light on a more accurate picture of the pilot of La Salle's Griffon.
Date of Publication:
Jul 2013
Date Of Event:
1678-79
Subject(s):
Language of Item:
English
Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 42.454166 Longitude: -81.121388
Copyright Statement:
Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rights holder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Copyright Holder:
Canadian Nautical Research Society
Recommended Citation:
The Northern Mariner/le marin du nord, XXIII No. 3, (July 2013), 213-238
Contact
Canadian Nautical Research Society
The Pilot of La Salle’s Griffon
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The Pilot of La Salle’s Griffon


The French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle (1643-1687) had a small rigged sailing coaster built in 1679 to travel between the Niagara River and Lake Michigan. La Salle hired a qualified and experienced pilot to conduct the vessel on these waters, but within nine months of starting on the Great Lakes, the pilot had lost two boats entrusted to him and disappeared with the crew. The loss of La Salle's Griffon was chronicled by Louis Hennepin, the missionary, and became one of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes. Today, the pilot has gained notoriety as a great Danish heretic, in a bad mood, seven feet tall, named Luke Dare; But whether this character has its foundation in primary sources or in folklore has never been clearly established. By systematically examining the origins of the information we have about the pilot in both primary and secondary documents, this paper attempts to separate folklore from verifiable sources and shed light on a more accurate picture of the pilot of La Salle's Griffon.