Jonathan Carver

Jonathan Carver Jonathan Carver (April 13, 1710 – January 31, 1780) was a colonial American military officer, explorer and writer. After his exploration of the northern Mississippi valley and western Great Lakes region, he published a widely read account of his expedition, ''Travels through America in the Years 1766, 1767, and 1768'' (1778).

Carver was born in Weymouth, Province of Massachusetts Bay on April 13, 1710, the son of David and Hannah Dyer Carver. His father was modestly wealthy and was elected to various public positions in Weymouth and Canterbury. The family moved to Canterbury, Connecticut when Carver was still a young child. The details of his education are unknown but he was literate, taught himself surveying and cartography, and may have studied medicine at one time. He also apprenticed as a cobbler. On October 20, 1746 he married Abigail Robins and they eventually had five children together. Around 1748, Carver moved his young family to Montague, Massachusetts, at the time a small frontier settlement where he served as a selectman.

In 1755 Carver joined the Massachusetts colonial militia at the start of the French and Indian War. In 1757, Carver, a friend of Robert Rogers, enlisted with Burke's Rangers. Burke's Rangers would in 1758 become a part of Rogers' Rangers. During the war he studied surveying and mapping techniques. He was successful in the military and eventually became captain of a Massachusetts regiment in 1761. Two years later he quit the army with a determination to explore the new territories acquired by the British as a result of the war.

Initially Carver was unable to find a sponsor for his proposed explorations but in 1766, Robert Rogers contracted Carver to lead an expedition to find a western water route to the Pacific Ocean, the Northwest Passage. There was a great incentive to discover this route. The king and Parliament had promised a vast prize in gold for any such discovery. The eastern route to the Pacific was around the Cape of Good Hope. That route was both lengthy and contested by competing European powers.

In 1766-67 he explored parts of present-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, mainly along the upper Mississippi River. When he returned east, however, his efforts were not recognized. He sailed to England in 1769, seeking recompense, and remained there for the rest of his life. In 1778 he published a book on his travels, which became very successful. He died in 1780.

Following his death, some of his heirs claimed to that he had obtained a land grant from two Sioux chiefs for a large area of eastern Wisconsin during his voyage; however, the grant was legally invalid and may have been a later fraud.

Carver, Minnesota, Carver County, Minnesota and Jonathan Association in Chaska, Minnesota were named in honor of Jonathan Carver for his exploration and mapping of the region. Provided by Wikipedia