Albert Pike

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Albert Pike (December 29, 1809–April 2, 1891) was an attorney, soldier, writer, and Freemason. Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C. (in Judiciary Square).



Pike was born in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Ben and Sarah (Andrews) Pike, and spent his childhood in Byfield and Newburyport, Massachusetts. His colonial ancestors included John Pike (1613-1688/1689), the founder of Woodbridge, New Jersey.[1] He attended school in Newburyport and Framingham until he was fifteen. In August 1825, he passed entrance exams at Harvard University, though when the college requested payment of tuition fees for the first two years which he had successfully challenged by examination, he chose not to attend. He began a program of self-education, later becoming a schoolteacher in Gloucester, North Bedford, Fairhaven and Newburyport.[2]

In 1831, Pike left Massachusetts to travel west, first stopping in St. Louis and later moving on to Independence, Missouri. In Independence, he joined an expedition to Taos, New Mexico, hunting and trading. During the excursion his horse broke and ran, forcing Pike to walk the remaining 500 miles to Taos. After this he joined a trapping expedition to the Llano Estacado in New Mexico and Texas. Trapping was minimal and, after traveling about 1300 miles (650 on foot), he finally arrived at Fort Smith, Arkansas.[3]

Settling in Arkansas in 1833, he taught school and wrote a series of articles for the Little Rock Arkansas Advocate under the pen name of "Casca."[4] The articles were popular enough that he was asked to join the staff of the newspaper. Later, after marrying Mary Ann Hamilton, he purchased part of the newspaper with the dowry. By 1835, he was the Advocate's sole owner.[3] Under Pike's administration the Advocate promoted the viewpoint of the Whig party in a politically volatile and divided Arkansas.[4]

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