Steck, Francis Borgia

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Historian; b. St. Louis, Mo., July 11, 1884; d. Quincy, Ill., July 5, 1962. He was the son of Bernard and Mary (Schwietering) Steck and was baptized Henry. After early education in the parochial schools of St. Louis and five years at St. Joseph Seminary, Teutopolis, Ill., he entered the Franciscan Order in 1904, receiving the name Francis Borgia, and was ordained in 1911. During the six years (191319) he taught at St. Joseph Seminary in Teutopolis, he wrote The Franciscans and the Protestant Revolution in England (1920) and Glories of the Franciscan Order (1920). From 1924 to 1927 he pursued doctoral studies in history at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and wrote The JollietMarquette Expedition, 1673 (1928, published originally as a doctoral dissertation 1927). In 1933 he joined the faculty of Catholic University and for the next 14 years taught courses in Spanish American History. Failing health caused his retirement in 1947 to Quincy College, where he continued his scholarly pursuits. He translated from the Spanish Motolinia's History of the Indians in New Spain (1951) and wrote Essays Relating to the Jolliet-Marquette Expedition, 1673 (1953) and Marquette Legends (1960) (see marquette, jacques).

In Marquette Legends Steck, contrary to the commonly held tradition, maintained that Marquette was not the leader of the Jolliet expedition down the Mississippi River in 1673; the Narrative of this expedition was not written by Marquette, but by Claude Dablon, SJ, in 1678 (three years after Marquette's death); the Journal of the Second Voyage (to the Illinois country in 167475) was not written by Marquette and was not known to exist before 1844; the Narrative of the 1673 expedition and the Journal of the Second Voyage to the Illinois country were not among the manuscripts preserved at the Hotel-Dieu in Quebec and returned to the Jesuits at Montreal in 1844; the Kaskaskia Mission was not founded by Marquette in 1675, but by Claude Allouez, SJ, in 1673; and finally that the priesthood of Marquette must be considered doubtful.

[a. reyling]