The Freshour Cylinders
Copyright 2010 Speer Morgan
A perfect mystery.
In this suspenseful literary mystery, Speer Morgan takes us back to the events surrounding the discovery and destruction of the Spiro Mound in the 1930s, the most significant pre-Columbian temple mound every found in North America. Weaving history with the compelling story of murder, broken hearts, and greed, Morgan gives us one of the most engrossing, sexy, and suspenseful reads of the year.
Chapter 1: Editor's Note
I first heard of the recordings in a telephone call from Betsy Hillen, an old friend with whom I grew up in Fort Smith and who still lives there today. Her husband, Marshal Hillen, a bank executive, had discovered the boxes of wax cylinders while cleaning out a superannuated vault in the Mercantile Bank. After inquiring among others on the bank's staff about the cylinders, with no luck, Mr. Hillen decided to throw them away. He had actually moved them to the front sidewalk to be hauled off when the only longtime employee he had not questioned, a janitor named Darius Jones, recognized the cylinders and told him that the previous bank president (deceased) had promised Mr. Tom Freshour that bank officials would put them in the right hands when the time came.
Unable to get any further information about the recordings and not having a Dictaphone on which to listen to them, Marshal Hillen took the boxes home and stored them in his garage. This was in 1988, and the boxes sat there, largely forgotten, until 1996, when Betsy did "the mother of all cleanings" and promptly sent the cylinders to me. As she put it, I was the only historian she knew.