Archaeologists unearthed what they believe are remains of a large wooden Christian cross Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto placed atop a hill in 1541 at what is now part of Parkin Archeological State Park in Cross County.
Photo by JESSICA CRAWFORD / Special to the Democrat-Gazette
Archaeologist Jeffery Mitchem holds baldcypress fragments that researchers believe are from the cross.
J̶e̶f̶f̶e̶r̶y̶ Jeffrey Mitchem*, the Parkin park site archaeologist for the Arkansas Archeological Survey, said he will send a 2-foot chunk of baldcypress thought to have been used for the cross more than 500 years ago to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville next week for further testing.
Archaeologists first found a large wooden post at the site in 1966 while covering holes left by looters and surmised it could be de Soto's cross. Carbon-dating conducted then indicated the post was cut from a cypress tree between 1515 and 1663.
The holes were filled a̶n̶d̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶ ̶f̶e̶w̶ ̶y̶e̶a̶r̶s̶. In the 1900s to 1940s,* a lumber company built atop the land, preserving the site along the St. Francis River, Mitchem said.
The Parkin park opened in 1994.
"It's in the ballpark," he said of the carbon-dating results. "We want to do further testing to make sure."
Mitchem learned of the discovery of the potential cross in 1992 -- two years b̶e̶f̶o̶r̶e̶ after* he became the Parkin park's archaeologist -- and began his research, theorizing then that the wood was from de Soto's cross.
"It became my career," he said.
De Soto and his explorers, including several Catholic priests, landed in Florida in 1539 and forged across the southeastern United States seeking gold and other riches. He crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas in June 1541 and traveled to Casqui, an Indian village named after its chief, which is now the site of the state park.
According to four accounts of the journey written by de Soto's voyagers, de Soto ordered several of his men to cut a tall cypress tree and build a massive cross. On July 4, 1541, about 100 men raised the cross, according to the written accounts.
The explorers only stayed in Casqui for two days before leaving. They returned again later that summer for another two days before heading to southeastern Arkansas. De Soto died in May 1542.
The Parkin artifact may be one of only two crosses de Soto placed while in the United States, said Patricia Galloway, a professor of the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, who has studied de Soto's U.S. exploration.
"He may have placed it to impress the natives, but he was traveling with several priests and most of the places he stopped were not friendly," she said. "This [Casqui] may have been one of the few safe spots."
Mitchem said that the Arkansas site may have been one of only a few places de Soto and his men could "relax" and not battle tribes.
Galloway said she was sure de Soto did not convert the Indians there to Christianity, but the natives may have accepted the cross because de Soto's men helped Casqui and his village overcome a warring tribe.
"They would be perfectly happy if he left it there," Galloway said. "It may have been a sign of victory. A sign of the village was not to be messed with."
Mitchem conducted several excavations at Parkin, but none on the largest mound where evidence showed the Casqui chief built his home. Last year, the Archaeological Conservancy, a nonprofit organization in New Mexico that acquires and preserves significant archaeological sites, found a New York foundation to help fund Mitchem's research.
The Elfrieda Frank Foundation in Forest Hills, N.Y., agreed to support Mitchem.
"I told them it was a gamble," Mitchem said. "I said that, so far, everything points the right way and it's a good chance it's de Soto's cross, but we needed more research."
On Monday, Mitchem and his team began work. Survey archaeologist Tim Mulvilhill located the cross's spot, which was marked by UA archaeologists in 1966.
The team then found a section of wooden post Tuesday buried about 2 feet into the soil atop the park's largest mound. Much of the wood was rotted or burned.
A portion of the post was still wrapped in plastic covering, left by archaeologists 50 years ago.
A day later, after clearing the wooden post, Mitchem and his team found the outline of a large posthole about 35 inches in diameter. They also found that the pit reached more than 5 feet below the surface -- another indication that it was the mounting for the cross. Mitchem also found several Indian pot shards.
"The best indication we could have is if the carbon-14 testing says it's from 1541," he said. "But that wood may not be enough to tell.
"Everything about it, though, indicates it is his cross," Mitchem said. "The location, the baldcypress used and the Spanish artifacts we found there. Everything points to the fact that it is what we believe."
Mitchem said he will take the findings to David Stalhe, a tree-ring specialist at UA, on Monday to determine the post's age.
"To me, this is pretty incredible," Mitchem said. "I've been dreaming about doing this my whole career. This is probably related exactly to [de Soto's] expedition."
By Bible Speaks
Your History! - Brother Russell and International Bible Students from Â Arkansas 1913
“Horrifying” is how witnesses have described the latest in a string of executions in the American state of Arkansas. Convicted murderer Kenneth Williams was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Here’s what happened during his execution according to a reporter there.
Following with brother Lett talk in the 2015 Annual Meeting, he goes to mention that brothers in IWW period did not behave so badly, they did what they could or knew how to do. And sure we agree.
But, in spite of the fact this could be said about the brotherhood in general, there is some basic principle to bring up.
· (Luke 12:48) “Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him, and the one who was put in charge of much will have more than usual demanded of him.”
As these words would directly apply to servants with serious responsibility in the congregation (interpretations apart), what would be the degree of responsibility of the bureau of editors at those times, regarding this petition addressed to all congregations in 1918?
As quoted, with some emphasis in a 1967 Watchtower:
*** w67 2/15 pp. 111-112 pars. 27-28 Jehovah Makes Full Might Abound ***
And just as Samson slept on the treacherous Delilah’s knees, so the Samson class’ conciliatory attitude toward languishing apostates finally brought weakening, and a beginning of compromise. That the dedicated witnesses fell into just such a trap in 1918 is shown by an article appearing in The Watch Tower of June 1 of that year. This came out in support of the “day of prayer and supplication” proclaimed by the president of the United States for May 30, 1918, stating: “Let there be praising and thanksgiving to God for the promised glorious outcome of the war . . . and the making of the world safe for the common people.”
28 Worldly compromise resulted in loss of Jehovah’s spirit. The hair of the Samson class was shorn off in a symbolic way, and their “power kept departing” from them.
Now, follows the whole text, only emphasizing the, perhaps, the most embarrassing expressions. (sorry if any type errors)
The Watch Tower, June 1, 1918
MAY 30 FOR PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION
In accordance with the resolution of Congress of April 2nd, and with the proclamation for the President of the United States of May 11, it is suggested that the Lord’s people everywhere make May 30th a day of prayer and supplication. God was graciously pleased to cause this nation to be formed and to grow under the most favorable conditions in the world for the preservation of liberty, civil and religious.
This is the land divinely “shadowed with wings” –overshadowed by the providential watchcare of God’s Word—where God has lifted up an ensign on the mountain (kingdom), and where he has blown the trumpet message of the truth. Here the love of truth has for three hundred years attracted from all quarters of the world people who love God, love the Bible and love religious liberty. Here, practically alone of all the nations, exists in the fundamentals laws of the land the safeguard that so long as the Constitution stands no law may be made nor any governmental action taken prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.
Countless blessings have flowed to devout people through the wise provisions of the laws of the United States, blessings whose influences have been felt to the remotest corners of the earth, wherever even a spark of love for God-given freedom might be fanned into a glow. Here, more perhaps than elsewhere, exits that “present” which shall be brought unto Jehovah (Isaiah 18:7), earth’s oblation (Ezequiel 45:1) to God of that class who, when in the age to come the restitution hosts shall be numbered, shall be found to have been “born in Zion” (Psalm 87:5,6), taken out of the world and given, in a figure, as humanity’s present to their God, to be forever sons and servants of the Most High.
This class love to “assemble themselves together, and so much the more as they see de day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25), and they will be of all people the most ready to embrace an opportunity of gathering in an additional service of prayer and supplication. As says the spirit through the Apostle Paul: “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; and we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (1 Timothy 2:1-3) Let there be praise and thanksgiving to God for the promised glorious outcome of the war, the breaking of the shackles of autocracy, the freeing of captives (Isaiah 61:1) and the making of the world safe for the common people ---blessings all assured by the Word of God to the people of this country and of the whole world of mankind.
=============================end of quote
It’s easy one century later to criticize this behavior. Well, according the aforementioned word from brother Lett, the brothers could not be punished because they did the best they could. Right. But according Jesus words, the brothers overseeing the work had greater responsibility, hadn’t they?
If this is correct, perhaps it explains what happened later, you know. The seven brothers, mainly the directors, were imprisoned. Curious this fact contained in the next quotation:
*** w87 6/15 pp. 15-16 pars. 4-5 Testing and Sifting in Modern Times ***
The clergy and the governments brought great pressure to bear on Jehovah’s anointed servants. Falsely accused of sedition, the anointed remnant attempted to make their innocence clear publicly. However, on May 7, 1918, warrants were issued for the arrest of eight members of the management and editorial staff of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, including the president, J. F. Rutherford. Their trial began Monday, June 3. On June 20 the jury returned a verdict of guilty on four counts. Then on July 4, 1918, these dedicated Christian men were taken by train to prison in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
The same nation they praised so much imprisoned them. And did you note when, exactly, start their trip to prison? Yes, on July 4. Surely, they had so much to ponder, sitting in the train, while the fireworks exploded around them.
By Guest Nicole
By Guest Nicole
By The Librarian
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By Jack Ryan
FRANKLIN COUNTY (KFSM) — An Area Agency on Aging transportation van driver was booked into the Franklin County Jail Wednesday (June 22) on suspicion of failing to stop the rape of a 9-year-old boy.
Jordan Byrd, 71, is facing charges of felony permitting of child abuse and a misdemeanor for failing to report the child abuse, according to his probable cause affidavit.
The affidavit states a 14-year-old boy raped and sodomized the 9-year-old boy in March while the two were the only passengers on the van driven by Byrd from their alternative schools in Fort Smith and the incident was captured on surveillance video.
The video shows the first sexual assault begins at 3:53 p.m. and lasts for six minutes, according to the affidavit. The suspect forces the victim to perform oral sex and the victim could be heard loudly saying it hurts, the affidavit states. Byrd could be seen looking up several times during the assault, but does not say anything or try to intervene, according to the affidavit.
The second sexual assault, during which the suspect sodomizes the victim, can also be seen on the video, the affidavit states. The victim can be heard screaming in pain, but again, Byrd looks up several times during the assault and does not say or do anything to stop it, according to the affidavit. Only once the screaming gets worse does Byrd ask what is going on and the suspect tells him that he hit the victim, but Byrd does not stop the van to separate the suspect from the victim, the affidavit states.
The assault stops after Byrd asks what is happening and eventually the suspect is dropped off by the van, according to the affidavit. When the van stops to drop off the victim, the victim asks Byrd if he saw what the suspect did to him, to which Byrd replies “huh” and does not say anything else, but does wave at the victim’s parents as he drives away, the affidavit states.
A supervisor at the Area Agency on Aging told investigators Byrd did not report the incident to the agency and she had heard about it through someone else, according to the affidavit.
Several days later, investigators interviewed Byrd, who told them he did not see the first sexual assault, but did see the second sexual assault, the affidavit states. He said he knew what was happening and described the suspect and victim as having a “relationship,” according to the affidavit.
The victim’s family is now suing the Area Agency on Aging of Western Arkansas and Valley Behavioral Health System, according to Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen who filed the lawsuit in Sebastian County Circuit Court.
McCutchen said the 14-year-old is also being criminally investigated.
Valley Behavioral Health System in Fort Smith provides mental health care for children and adults. According to the lawsuit, the suspect was a patient at Valley Behavioral health at the time of the sexual assaults.
The lawsuit states the treatment facility officials knew the 14-year-old patient would masturbate in public places and posed a threat of causing permanent physical and emotional harm, including rape and/or sexual abuse to others who were minors. It states the treatment facility had an obligation to tell the transport officials of the patients condition, but did not.
The lawsuit also states the 14-year-old suspect is related to Byrd, who has since resigned from his position.
The victim’s family is seeing damages upwards of $75,000 for the victim’s medical treatment past and present.
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Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. states that he is 100% sure of the driver being a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses