Zebulon Pike

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Zebulon Pike
ZebulonPikeByPeale.jpg
Zebulon Pike by Charles Willson Peale, 1808
Born
Zebulon Montgomery Pike

January 5, 1779
DiedApril 27, 1813(1813-04-27) (aged 34)
Outside Fort York, York, Upper Canada
Cause of deathKilled in action
Resting placeMilitary Cemetery, Sackets Harbor, New York
NationalityAmerican
OccupationGeneral, explorer
Spouse(s)Clarissa Harlow Brown
Parent(s)Zebulon Pike Sr.

Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813) was an American brigadier general and explorer. Pikes Peak in Colorado is named after him. As a U.S. Army officer, President Thomas Jefferson asked him to lead two journeys through the new Louisiana Purchase territory. The first was in 1805-06 to explore the upper northern parts of the Mississippi River. The second journey was in 1806-07 to explore the Southwest to the edges of the northern Spanish-colonial settlements of New Mexico and Texas. Pike's journeys happened at the same time as other journeys that happened while Thomas Jefferson was president. This include the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) and the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition up the Red River (1806).[1]

Pike's second journey crossed the Rocky Mountains into what is now southern Colorado. He was captured by the Spanish colonial authorities near Santa Fe. They sent Pike and his men to Chihuahua (present-day Mexico), to be questioned. Later in 1807, Pike and some of his men were led by the Spanish through Texas, and they were released near American territory in Louisiana.

In 1810, Pike wrote a book about his journeys. The book was so popular that it was translated into Dutch, French, and German languages, for publication in Europe. He later became a brigadier general in the American Army. He served during the War of 1812, until he was killed during the Battle of York, in April 1813.

Early and family life[change | change source]

Early life and education[change | change source]

Pike was born during the Revolutionary War, on January 5, 1779, near Lamberton,[2][3] now called Lamington in Bedminster, New Jersey,[4] in Somerset County, New Jersey. His mother was Isabella (Brown), and his father was Zebulon Pike. He would become similar to his father, who had started his own career in the military service of the United States in 1775, at the outset of the American Revolutionary War.[5]

Marriage and family[change | change source]

Zebulon Pike, Jr. married Clarissa Harlow Brown in 1801.[6] They had one child who lived to become an adult, Clarissa Brown Pike. She later married President William Henry Harrison's son, John Cleves Symmes Harrison. They had four other children who died before becoming adults.[7]

Military career[change | change source]

War of 1812[change | change source]

Pike was promoted to brigadier general in March 1813.[8] Along with General Jacob Brown, Pike left Sackets Harbor, on the New York shore of Lake Ontario. This would be his last military campaign. On this campaign, Pike led soldiers in the successful attack on York (now Toronto), on April 27, 1813. Pike was killed, along with other American soldiers, by flying rocks and other debris. This was when the withdrawing British blew up its ammunition supply as Pike's troops got close to Fort York.[9] His body was brought by ship back to Sackets Harbor. His body were buried at the military cemetery.[10]

Legacy[change | change source]

Pike's 20th century reputation focused on his exploration. His name appeared often on natural features, such as dams, islands, lakes, and parks.[11]

In 1901, General William Jackson Palmer built a marble statue of Zebulon Pike. It was placed near the main entrance of the Antlers Hotel.[12]  Pike was later honored in 1926 with a bronze medallion portrait placed in the pavilion at Tahama Spring in Monument Valley Park, Colorado Springs.[13]

Military[change | change source]

A building at Fort Knox is named in his honor.

Landforms[change | change source]

Communities[change | change source]

Other[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

Footnotes[change | change source]

  1. Dunbar, William; Hunter, George; Berry, Trey; Beasley, Pam; Clements, Jeanne (2006). Berry, Trey; Beasley, Pam; Clements, Jeanne (eds.). The Forgotten Expedition, 1804–1805: The Louisiana Purchase Journals of Dunbar and Hunter. Louisiana State University Press. p. xi. ISBN 978-0-8071-3165-7.
  2. Irving, Washington (November 1814). "Biographical Memoir of the Late Brigadier General Zebulon Montgomery Pike". Analectic Magazine. Vol. 4. p. 380.
  3. Wilson, Thomas (1822). The Biography of the Principal American Military and Naval Heroes; Comprehending Details of Their Achievements During the Revolutionary and Late Wars. II (Second ed.). New York: John Low. p. 9.
  4. Backes, William J. (October 1919). "General Zebulon M. Pike, Somerset-Born". Somerset County Historical Quarterly (Somerset Historical Publications, Reprint Publishers) 8 (4): 241–51. https://books.google.com/?id=XUMVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA245. 
  5. Calvert, Patricia (2005). Zebulon Pike: Lost in the Rockies. Marshall Cavendish. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7614-1612-8.
  6. Harris, Matthew L.; Buckley, Jay H. (2012). Buckley, Jay H.; Harris, Matthew L. (eds.). Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-4243-2.
  7. Harris, Matthew L.; Buckley, Jay H. (2012). Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8061-8831-7.
  8. Valkenburg, Samuel Van (1976). "Pike, Zebulon Montgomery". In William D. Halsey (ed.). Collier's Encyclopedia. 19. New York: Macmillan Educational Corporation. p. 46.
  9. Peppiatt, Liam. "Chapter 31B: Fort York". Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto.
  10. D'imperio, Chuck (2018). Graves of Upstate New York: A Guide to 100 Notable Resting Places, Second Edition. Syracuse University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-8156-5440-7.
  11. Olsen, Michael L. (Spring 2006). "Zebulon Pike and American Popular Culture – or – Has Pike Peaked?". Kansas History 29 (1): 48–59. https://www.kshs.org/publicat/history/2006spring_olsen.pdf. 
  12. "William J. Palmer". Facts Illustrated Vol. 9 No. 13/14. January 1, 1902. pp. 31–32.
  13. "Bronze Medallions" (PDF). Sunday Gazette and Telegraph. March 26, 1927. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  14. Upham, Warren (1920). Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance. Minnesota Historical Society. p. 441.
  15. Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-915430-00-0.
  16. Garman-Schlaefli, Gloria (31 Jan 2008). "Pike Trail League formed 60 years ago". Jewell County Record (5). Retrieved 8 February 2016.

More reading[change | change source]

  • Harris, Matthew L.; Buckley, Jay H. (2012). Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-4243-2.
  • Hollon, W. Eugene (1949). The Lost Pathfinder, Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-0193-4.
  • Orsi, Jared (2014). Citizen Explorer: The Life of Zebulon Pike. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-976872-1.

Other websites[change | change source]