Carver, Jonathan, 1710–80, American explorer, b. Weymouth, Mass. He served in the French and Indian War and in 1766 was hired by Robert Rogers to undertake a journey to some of the Western tribes. He journeyed to the Mississippi and up that river to a point several days' journey above the present site of Minneapolis. In the spring of 1767 he returned to Prairie du Chien, in what is now Wisconsin, where by Rogers's orders he joined the expedition to search out the "Western Ocean." When their journey northwestward was prevented by war between the Sioux and Chippewa, they ascended the Chippewa River and crossed to Lake Superior, the coast of which they followed to Grand Portage. Carver went to London in 1769 with the intention of publishing a narrative of his travels and of pressing claims for compensation for his services, for Rogers, having exceeded his authority in employing Carver, could not pay him. After nine years of struggle and poverty, Carver published the first edition of his Travels through the Interior Parts of North America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768 (1778). The popularity of this book, the first English account of the upper Great Lakes and Mississippi region, is attested by the 32 editions, or more, through which it passed.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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