Tuesday, April 3, 2007

What's In A Name?

I have been going to Petit Jean State Park since I was a child. One of my favorite things to do when I was younger was to visit the site of Petit Jean's grave. I doubt that this is really a grave. In fact, the entire story is probably not true. There are several legends of Petit Jean, but this has always been my favorite:

"The Legend of Petit Jean, and how the mountain received its name, begins in the 1700's with the story of a young French Nobleman, Chavet, who lived during the period of the French exploration of the New World. He requested permission to explore a part of the Louisiana Territory, and for a grant to claim part of the land. The King granted Chavet's approval.
Chavet was engaged to be married to a beautiful young girl from Paris named Adrienne Dumont. When told of his plans, she asked that they be married right away so she could accompany him. Thinking of the hardship and danger on the journey, Chavet refused her request, telling her upon his return if the country was good and safe, they would be married and go to the New World.
Adrienne refused to accept his answer, and disguised herself as a boy and applied to the captain of Chavet's ship for a position as a cabin boy, calling herself Jean. The girl must have been incredibly clever in her disguise, for it is said that not even Chavet recognized her. The sailors called her Petit Jean, which is French for Little John.
The ocean was crossed in early spring; the vessel ascended the Mississippi River to the Arkansas River, to the foot of the mountain. The Indians on the mountain came to the river and greeted Chavet and invited the sailors to spend time on the mountain. Chavet, Petit Jean, and the sailors spent the summer atop Petit Jean Mtn. until fall approached and they began preparations for their voyage back to France. The ship was readied and boarded the evening before departure.
That night, Petit Jean became ill with a sickness that was strange to Chavet and his sailors. It was marked with fever, convulsions, delirium, and finally coma. Her condition was so grave at daylight that the departure was delayed. During the illness, Petit Jean's identity was, of course, discovered. The girl confessed her deception to Chavet and begged his forgiveness. She requested that if she died, to be carried back to the mountaintop that she had spent her last days on, and be buried at a spot overlooking the river below. The Indians made a stretcher out of deerskins and bore her up the mountain. At sundown, she died.
Many years later a low mound of earth was found at the point we now call Petit Jean's Grave. Her legend is said to give the mountain and the overlook an enchanting and delightful quality that draws visitor's back again and again." Quoted from Petite Jean State Park Website.
I hope you have enjoyed this story!

Have a great day.


"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24


  1. Rosemary this is such an interesting story. Your photo is gorgeous! It seems that I've been away for months and I've missed you. I'm still busy unpacking but will blog on my breaks. xoxo

  2. How beautiful and yet so tragic is the story of Petit Jean, which you have transcribed so beautifully too.

    Such a wonderful scenic view - thank you for sharing both the story and photo.


  3. What a interesting story, I must visit there someday, looks very nice and it could be her grave, I hope she got her last wish! Very nice photo too Rosemary! Thanks for sharing the story with us!

  4. That was a nice story Rosemary, gotta wonder if maybe their might be some truth to it.
    I would love to see a picture of your cabin sometime, perhaps taken from outside?
    Richard will be home from work soon, so off to get some things ready for dinner.

  5. I love intereating nibs such as your story. I truly enoyed that post.

    Take care,

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this. What a beautiful story it is. Again thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for sharing a bit of your local history! It's so cool to not only get to know you but also about where you call home.

    Please keep us in your prayers; had to take my middle son in to the doctor today. He's got mono!


  8. Thanks for sharing a bit of history! Love it, true or not it's a beautiful site!

  9. Rosemary,
    I will wait until you get your porch, don't you just love porches?We had a huge porch on the farm I grew up on, I really miss it. I have a porch and deck now, but not the same.
    I put one of my redwork quilts on my site today that Richard's aunts, mother , and Grandmother made in the 1930's, if you get time take a look.
    So windy here today, last evening Richard and I sat out on the porch, well not tonight, I think there will be a fire in the fireplace.

  10. Oh I love such stories!!! Thank you so much for posting it, for us to read.


  11. I Love to hear the legends, stories, and history that accompany the many beautiful areas of this great country of ours!
    Have a blessed Easter RoseMary! With hugs to you! Claudia O.

  12. That was a very interesting story!