Father Peter John De Smet (Oklahoma Western Biographies Series): Jesuit in the Westby Robert C. Carriker
When Peter John De Smet was thirteen, his father predicted that he would be a soldier or a great traveler. Indeed, after joining the Jesuit order and leaving his native Belgium for America, the younger De Smet became both. Clad in the black robe of his priestly order and armed only with a crucifix, for more than a quarter of a century Father De Smet relentlessly tramped the American frontier to bring peace and religion to the tribes of the upper Missouri River country.
In this biography, Robert Carriker describes De Smet's love for the great American West and the native tribes who lived there, the Potawatomis, Flatheads, Coeur d'Alenes, Kalispels, Blackfeet, Yankton Sioux, and others to whom the Jesuit Father carried Christianity. Soon the man called Black Robe became known throughout the mountains and plains as a man of peace and a friend of all Indians.
De Smet felt most at home on the frontier, where he maintained his reputation as an affable companion on the trail, whether seated in a canoe or astride a mule, until his death in 1873. Within this book is abundant evidence to support the conclusion of De Smet's contemporaries on two continents that he was the best known, and most indispensable Catholic missionary in America.
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