Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The picture on the left is not a rock. But there are many rocks in the graveyard below. We drove back about four miles to search for evidence that the graveyard had some connection with De Soto.
Larry and Charles talked about two Spanish bodies and/or two Spanish crosses found in this area. But we, in the car, did not know of any connection.
Yet this cemetery is near the location where the Americans were finally able to turn back De Soto’s advance. How could they accomplish what over 2, 500 Americans could not do a Mavila, AL?
For one thing, the Ozark Americans may have been able to use fire. The region was had a prolonged drought. The time was either late July or August. The Americans in the Ozarks were accustomed to using fire to clear the underbrush. Fire or fear of fire would have discouraged De Soto’s men. Also, fire would have destroyed provisions.
The Ozark trees would have enabled the American archers to get closer and to escape run downs by horses. This hide and run ability would have discouraged De Soto’s men from forays by small groups. Thus De Soto’s forces may not have been able speed out to graze their horses.
However the event happened, the Americans turned back a vicious invader somewhere near this spot. I regret that we, as a people, often lose sight of the valiant people who resisted vicious invaders. Why does it seem more important to mention that “De Soto stepped here” than to erect a monument to the 2,500 Americans who fought to the last man in blazing Mavila?
When the cemetery was named 140 years ago there may have been some reason why the cemetery was named for De Soto. I am not about to suggest they change the name, but I would like to see a small plaque on that thong tree. I think the plaque should read:
“Near this spot in 1541, Americans turned back the most destructive invader on the North American Continent.”