Lauren & Tyson - Petit Jean Arkansas Destination Engagement Session
Dec 15, 2017 | By: Create Portraiture
Lauren & Tyson live in Texarkana and we had originally planned out our engagement session for the middle of November. Well work plans changed Lauren's schedule and we ended up having to push it back a few weeks to December. Thank goodness the south has some sunny and 70 degree weather on December 2nd! I left around 5 am headed out with my best friend and her daughter as my sidekicks for the day. We had a blast on our road trip to Petit Jean Mountain in western Arkansas. Lauren and I had been plotting and planning for several months to fin the perfect location. I stumbled across some images of Petit Jean on instagram and knew we had to go there.
We got to explore and adventure for a bit before Lauren and Tyson arrived, upon arrival we got to the top of the mountain to meet 100 plus motorcycles enjoying lunch. I can't promise that I didn't have a small moment of panic but all was well because they were just stopping for a bit to eat and they were long gone before it was time to shoot. We explored all of the high points on the park but didn't have enough time to hike several of the trail which I plan on making a trip back for!
The story of Petit Jean is a sad but quite romantic tale. I'm attaching it at the bottom of the page if you are a history lover like I am. I could go on and on forever and I am so thankful that I am able to adventure and share with you all.
The Legend of Petit Jean, and how the mountain received its name, begins in the 1700s 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, 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 cabin 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 Mountain 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 death, and the legend that followed, is said to give the mountain and the overlook an enchanting quality that draws visitors back again, and again.