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Petit Jean Grave Site, Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas, photos

Petit Jean Grave Site, Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas, photo

The grave site of Petit Jean on Petit Jean Mountain, in Petit Jean State Park, south west of Morrilton, Arkansas. While it is highly unlikely that the person of Petit Jean ever existed, the legend is a popular tale of the region. See the additional photos below.

Historic marker near the grave of Petit Jean on Petit Jean Mountain, Arkansas.

The historic marker near the purported grave of Petit Jean. The text of the sign reads as follows:

"The Legend of Petit Jean. One of the most captivating legends in Arkansas folklore is the romantic tale of the mountain's namesake. According to local legend, during the 18th century, a French nobleman named Chavet was granted an expedition to explore uncharted regions of the new world. Adrienne DuMont, Chavet's beautiful fiancee, tried to convince him to allow her to join him on his quest. Knowing the hardship and danger of the journey, and that with rare exceptions women were not permitted on board ships, Chavet refused.

Undaunted, Adrienne came up with a daring plan: She would disguise herself as a young man and attempt to work as a ship hand. She cut her hair, went in disguise, and landed a post as the ship's cabin boy. Her fellow sailors liked the quiet, little cabin boy and gave him the name Petit Jean (Little John). Petit Jean kept to herself, and her true identity remained a secret. Not even Chavet recognized her.

Chavet's ship crossed the Atlantic Ocean and eventually made the journey up the Mississippi River, then further into the wilderness up the Arkansas River. The crew arrived at the foot of this mountain and was welcomed by American Indians to stay for the summer. As autumn drew near, the ship's crew prepared to continue their journey.

Petit Jean suddenly became gravely ill with fever. While she was in a helpless estate, her attendants discovered that Petit Jean was a woman. Shortly thereafter, Chavet discovered that the woman was none other than his beloved fiancee.

Petit Jean asked Chavet to forgive her for her deception. During their brief reunion, her condition grew worse. Her final request, knowing that death was near, was to be buried high upon the beautiful point of this mountain overlooking the river. Chavet and the ship's crew buried Petit Jean here and named the mountain in memory of her.

Legend has it that the spirit of Petit Jean hovers over the mountain, giving it an air of strange enchantment."

See the additional photo below.

The Arkansas River as seen from the top of Petit Jean Mountain in Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas.

The Arkansas River as seen from the top of Petit Jean Mountain in Petit Jean State Park. The grave of Petit Jean is located between boulders just past the right edge of this photo. Petit Jean Mountain is in Conway County, Arkansas.

View an historic 1889 map of Conway County, Arkansas

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