from Susan Lawrence Davis,
Authentic History, Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1877
GENERAL ALBERT PIKE
Confederate States Army
Chief Justice of the ‘Invisible Empire“ (Ku Klux Klan)
Father of Scottish Rite Masonry
(Reproduction of oil painting presented by
Mr. Yvon Pike, Leesburg, Va., son of
General Pike, for this History.)
… Surely, after reading these facts it will not be hard for our fair-thinking fellow citizens of the North to account for the solidity of the south and the organization of the Ku Klux Klan in Arkansas, which was led by
GENERAL ALBERT PIKE.
General Albert Pike was born in Boston. Massachusetts. December 29. 1809. When he was four years old his parents removed to Newburyport in the same State, where young Pike grew to manhood, getting the usual education of the times in the common schools, supplemented by a few terms at a private school in the same town and at the academy in Framingham. He began to teach school at the age of fifteen and when sixteen passed an examination for and entered the freshman class at Harvard. Owing to straitened circumstances he paid for his board and tuition by teaching during the fall and winter at Gloucester. He fitted himself while teaching to enter the Junior class in the fall of 1826 and passed the necessary examination, but owing to a misunderstanding with the faculty regarding his tuition fees he returned home and educated himself, going through the prescribed course of studies for the junior and senior years while teaching. He taught in Fairhaven and afterward as assistant and principal in the grammar school at Newburyport and then for several years in a private school in the latter town, until March. 183l.
In the spring of 1831 he started for the West, walking much of the way, and for the next few years traveled, explored, traded and lived among the Indians, learning their language and customs, and by his honest and straightforward association with them, gained a confidence which thirty years afterwards, during the great Civil War, made him so useful and powerful among them in the cause of the Confederacy which he espoused, and later in the prosecution or claims against the U. S. Government in their behalf. General Pike commanded a regiment and afterward a brigade of Indian troops, C. S. A.
He settled in Little Rock in 1838 and it was there that he became editor of the Arkansas Gazette, studied law and wrote for some of the magazines. His series of poems entitled &ldquo'Hymns to the Gods,” which were written earlier, some of them while surrounded by pupils in the classroom, he sent to the editor of Blackwood's Magazine, Edinburgh, Scotland, John Wilson, who published them about 1838, pronouncing him “The coming poet of America” and remarking that “These fine hymns entitle their author to take his place in the highest order of his country's poets” and that “His massive genius marks him to be the poet of the Titans,” but his poem “Every Year” is called his masterpiece.
General Pike was a Captain of Cavalry in the Mexican War where he served with distinction, participating in the battle of Buena Vista and afterwards riding a distance of five hundred miles, from Saltillo to Chihuahua, through a country swarming with the fugitive soldiers from Santa Anna's defeated armies, with only forty-one men of his command, receiving the surrender of the city of Mapini on the way.
About 1851 he transferred the practice of law from Little Rock to New Orleans, practicing also before the Supreme Court of the United States, returning in 1857 to Little Rock where he remained until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he served as commissioner for negotiating treaties with the Indians and as Brigadier General in the Confederate States Army.
After the War Between the States he resided Memphis, Tennessee, for several years, moving to Washington about 1869, where he resided for the remainder of his life. His death occurred on April 2, 1891, in the eighty-second year of his age.
He joined Free Masonry in 1850 and in less than nine years became the highest ranking officer in this institution, becoming Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Third Degree for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States, which is the “Mother Supreme Council of the World” and was founded at Charleston, South Carolina, May 3l, 1801, and which office occupied from 1859 until his death in 1891. General Pike became universally known throughout the masonic world by reason of his activities in promoting the growth of this branch of Free Masonry and it was his genius that evolved the modern rituals of this masonic rite out of the older rituals in use in earlier times.
As a lawyer he was one of the foremost jurists of his day. As a scholar, philosopher, poet and master of languages he ranked with the most eminent, and as a soldier and statesman his ability was unquestioned. He has been called the "Homer of America" and "The Zoroaster of modern Asia," It was when he was sixty-five years old that he began the study of the Sanscrit language and after mastering this ancient and now obsolete tongue was fourteen years translating the Vedas and other sacred hooks of the East. Besides poetry and his numerous masonic writings, he wrote on law, politics, philosophy, military science and general literature. His manuscript writings total in round numbers 36,000 pages and his printed writings total about 25,000 pages. Practically all of his works are to be found in the Library of the Supreme Council at Washington.
It is an interesting fact and significant of the man that he never published any book for sale. With the exception of his legal briefs, whatever he had printed was done at his own expense for private circulation or was donated to the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree over which he presided for so many years. His versatile mind, genius, and tremendous energy are best illustrated by a perusal of the bibliography of his writings which is in print.
On his death-bed he took up an old-fashioned pencil and calling for a slip of paper wrote this now famous thought:
“Shalom!-Peace-that comes with blessing to care-fretted weary men, when Death's dreamless sleep ends all suffering and sorrow.”
James D. Richardson, 33rd Degree (Tennessee) said in his address at the dedication of the Memorial to General Pike, the magnificent Temple of the Supreme Council on 16th Street, Washington, D. C. “When he closed his eyes in death the greatest light that ever shone in Free Masonry, in any land, went out. Scottish Masons everywhere, no matter what language they spoke, knew him and bore testimony to their reverence and admiration for him. The Grand Bodies of the Rite in many other lands delighted to honor him; in addition to the high honors bestowed upon him by the Mother Supreme Council of the World he was Honorary Grand Commander of the Supreme Councils of Brazil (United), Egypt and Tunis; Honorary Member of the Supreme Councils for the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States, France, Belgium, Italy at Torino, Spain, England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Greece, Hungary, Nueva Granada, Canada, Colon, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay.”
For the foregoing biography of General Pike, I am greatly indebted to Wm. L. Boyden, 33rd Degree, Librarian of The Temple of the Supreme Council of the 33rd and Last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, Washington, D. C.
Part of a set of chess men was taken from the mountain home of Albert Pike when it was raided by a detachment of the Second Kansas, U. S. A. Cavalry, who were camped near Little Rock, Ark., in the summer of 1863. When they returned to camp they distributed their booty and these chess men fell to the lot of Capt. E. S. Stover of Co. B. Soon after the war he moved to New Mexico and became Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scottish Rite Masons there.
In 1915, after so many years, and when he was then over 80 years of age (though now dead) he returned them to be placed among the relics of General Pike in the Library of the SUPREME COUNCIL.
These old-fashioned chess men were like the ones in my home with which General Forrest played a “make believe” game with me when I was a little girl.
General Albert Pike had a most remarkable memory, and one of his greatest feats in this line was reproducing entirely from memory the Scottish Rite Ritual, all copies of it having been destroyed by fire in Charleston, S. C., when it was burned by the Federals during the Civil War.
General Pike organized the Ku Klux Klan in Arkansas after General Forrest appointed him Grand Dragon of that Realm at the convention at Nashville. Tenn. He was also appointed at that time Chief Judicial Officer of The Invisible Empire. He advised in this capacity that the Ku Klux Klan memorize their Ritual and to never make it public.
I have made diligent effort to obtain a written Ritual and have requested hundreds of the original Klan to recite this for me and they have always said that this one secret would never be revealed.
General Pike appointed Mr. Henry Fielding and Mr. Eppie Fielding of Fayetteville. Arkansas. to assist him in organizing Dens in that state. They were members of the Athens, Ala., Klan from its beginning and went to Arkansas to live in 1861. They were Confederate soldiers, and gave me much information about the powerful influence General Pike had over the people of Arkansas during the dark days of reconstruction.In 1872 Arkansas had two governments operating at one time and civil war was threatened and great excitement prevailed against the Washington Government. General Pike called a mass meeting at Little Rock, Ark., in the Capitol building and appealed to the people to be patient until better times would come and assured them that he would go to Washington and intercede for them, which he did many times.
At this meeting General Pike unfurled the Stars and Stripes and in a most beautiful manner, asked the people to follow it, which thousands of them did, promising him to be patient until the Ku Klux Klan could redeem the state.