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Zebulon Montgomery Pike


Born at Lamberton, New Jersey. Married Clarissa Brown March 1801. They had several children.

His father was an officer in the U. S. Army. As a boy Pike became a cadet in his father's company. He was commissioned first lieutenant at age 20. On August 9, 1805, he set out with a company of 20 men to find the source of the Mississippi River. They reached what they thought was the source and returned to St. Louis in 1806. Later that year he was sent to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers. He made an unsuccessful attempt to climb what would later be named Pike's Peak. He rose in rank to major in 1808, colonel in 1812 and brigadier general in 1813. Pike was killed in the assault on York, now Toronto, Canada.

Pike appears on the obverse of the 1806-1906 Southwest Expedition commemorative medal. The medal was authorized by Congress to provide funds for the centennial celebration near Pikes Peak in 1906. The dies were produced by Charles Barber. The original medals were attached to a hanger. Some were hung with a blue and gold ribbon and pin bar with the legend COLORADO.

Originally 250 bronze medals were plated with gold (HK-337), 250 were struck in silver (HK-335), 4200 were produced in oxidized silver (HK-336) and 6250 were stuck in bronze (HK-338). When the First National Bank was demolished in 1955, 2000 silver and 2000 bronze medals were discovered in the vaults. They were given to the Pikes Peak Historical Society to support the sesquicentennial in 1956. The hangers were removed from these medals.

bio: ApCAB; DAB; Drake; NCAB 2; TCBDA; WAB; WWWA-H

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies


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