Zebulon Montgomery Pike

USS Zebulon Pike is a great name for our budding Star Trek Club, but do you know Zebulon Pike, his life and contributions to our history. Well, if you don’t here are a few facts about him.

Zebulon Pike was born on January 5, 1779 in what is now Lamington, New Jersey. His father, also named Zebulon Pike, served in the American Revolutionary War and was stationed in the Northwestern Frontier. Young Zebulon grew up in military outposts in Ohio and Illinois. Thus it is not surprising that he became a military man like his father.

As a US Army Captain he was sent by Thomas Jefferson, in 1806, to lead the Pike Expedition to explore and document the southern region of the Louisiana Territory in what is now southern Colorado.

While exploring the area he sighted a rather high peak and tried to climb to the summit in November 1806. The expedition made it as far as Mt Rosa to the south east of the peak. However, due to the waist high snow, subzero temperatures, insufficient clothing, and no food they abandoned the ascent of what today is know as Pikes Peak.

By February 1807 he ventured south looking for the headwaters of the Red River when he crossed into Mexico. The Spanish not only took him prisoner but also confiscated all his documents and journals.

After his release in July 1807 he began writing about his experiences and findings from memory. In 1810 he published ” The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike to the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, through Louisiana Territory, and in New Spain, during the years 1805, 1806, 1807. This was translated into three languages, French, German and Dutch.The original journals and documents were eventually recovered from Mexico in the early 1900’s.

As Brigadier General he led his troops into battle near Fort York in the state of New York where he was killed fighting the British on April 27, 1813. He was buried in a military cemetery at Sackets Harbor, New York on the shores of Lake Ontario.

After his death his accomplishments led to many paintings, songs, poems, and biographies in his honor. His imprisonment in Mexico gave him insight into the politics and trade in the region which contributed to the success of the Santa Fe Trail.

His name appears in dozens of counties and towns across the country, ship names, parks, lakes, dams, not to mention our own Pikes Peak, and now a Star Trek Club to honor him.

Live long and prosper USS Zebulon Pike

Linda Johnson
Historian, USS Zebulon Pike

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