Pike reunion at History Center
Zebulon Montgomery Pike and about 100 of his family members visited the Old Colorado City History Center for a reception with local dignitaries and history-lovers
He was, of course, not the famous Pike, but a direct descendant of James Brown Pike, one of the explorer's 12 brothers and sisters.
“My dad was named Zebulon Pike, too,” he said. “It doesn't do anything to discredit the name.”
The event was organized by the volunteer Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS), which owns and operates the History Center, as a major part of its contribution to the region's Pike Bicentennial celebration this year. The Pike family members came from various parts of the country, some as far away as Maine.
Among the activities were speeches, refreshments, a chance to browse through the center's bookstore and artifacts and the laying of a brick in the center's courtyard - among other bricks with people's names (part of OCCHS fund-raising) - that reads: “Zebulon Pike Family.”
Speakers included Rev. Dr. Roy Escott Pike, president of the Pike Family Association of America; County Commissioner Sallie Clark; City Councilman Jerry Heimlicher; area Pike specialist John Patrick Michael Murphy; Linda Carmichael, regent of the Zebulon Pike Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and Lucille Cunningham and Gordon Gray of the OCCHS.
“This 'Band of Cousins' is indeed grateful for all the help each person has given to make this night so special in our lives,” Roy Pike said in a prepared statement. “Zebulon Montgomery Pike never dreamed that his journey West would create such enthusiasm. From his family and all of his new-found cousins, thank you again.”
The current Zebulon Montgomery Pike - or “Monty,” as he prefers to be called - had previously attended a Pike commemoration on the Westside. That was in 1956, during the Sesquicentennial of the explorer's arduous 1806 journey, when he spoke at the dedication of the then-new Pike Elementary School.
Also that year, he recalled, he was joined in some of the events by the grandson of famous Western scout Kit Carson.
Monty, a veteran of World War II and Korea who lives in Salida, can point to recent pioneers in his family line. His great-grandfather, Anderson Gage Pike, moved to Colorado in 1872.
Not unexpectedly, Monty is a strong defender of his namesake. One irritant is that historians tend to laud the Lewis & Clark expedition and call Pike a failure. Not only was Pike's expedition far less funded, but “Lewis and Clark get all the publicity for being led around by an Indian squaw (who helped them avoid danger),” Monty noted. “Pike didn't have anything like that. He had a goofy old map by a guy from California who'd never even been in the area.”
As for himself, he has no son to carry on the famous name. However, “one of my nephews is Zebulon Pike and so is his son,” Monty said. “So the name is going to keep going.”
Westside Pioneer article