Albert Pike’s Birthday – December 29th
Albert Pike was a scholar of many talents. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 29, 1809. He came from an ancestry that had been in America since 1635. Although he was accepted at Harvard University in 1825, he chose not to attend but instead set out on a self-education program that he followed all of his life.
He started as a school teacher in Massachusetts before setting out for the west in 1831 and spent time in Nashville, Tennessee, St. Louis, Missouri and Taos, New Mexico. By 1833 he settled in Arkansas and began writing articles where he was invited to join the newspaper staff. Here he married Mary Ann Hamilton in 1834 and purchased the newspaper, the Arkansas Advocate.
He studied for the Arkansas bar and was admitted in 1837 at which time he sold the newspaper. He was an affective lawyer and represented clients of many levels of society including Native American Tribes. By 1849, his talents as a jurist allowed him to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.
In July 1850 he joined the Masonic Lodge and became an Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft in Western Lodge 2 in Little Rock. Here he was raised a Master Mason in August.
During the American Civil War, he briefly served as a Brigadier General in the Confederacy in Arkansas from November 1861 until resigning in May 1862. In 1863 he served as an Associate Justice in the Arkansas State Supreme Court. After the war Pike moved to New York City, then briefly to Canada. In 1866, he was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.
He was very active in Freemasonry for the rest of his life. In 1859 he was elected Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of Scottish Rite and held this honor until 1889. During this time he wrote the book he is most known for called Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. It was first published in 1871 and went through several editions. To this day his Masonic work is considered highly influential.
Albert Pike died April 2, 1891 in Charleston, South Carolina. He was 81. He was originally buried in Oak Hill Cemetery but in 1944 his body was moved to the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C. Here, in the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, he lies in rest where his personal library and other artifacts are on display.
Although he has been criticized for some of his views, and rightfully so, he was an important man of his times. His talents were directed to building the Scottish Rite and his efforts have had a significant impact to this very day.
This article has been written & compiled by Dan Ardinger.