Albert Pike's School House
Future Confederate general
Albert Pike taught school here
in 1833.
Albert Pike's School House - Van Buren, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Albert Pike's School House, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Albert Pike's School House, Arkansas
Albert Pike's School House
The little one-room school where the future general
once taught is now preserved on the grounds of the
Crawford County Courthouse in Arkansas.
Scholar, Poet and General
Albert Pike (1809-1891) is remembered as a
Confederate general, leader in Freemasonry
and writer, but before he became any of
these he was a teacher at a little one-room
school in Crawford County, Arkansas.

The carefully preserved school now stands
on the grounds of the historic Crawford
County Courthouse in Van Buren.

Born in Massachusetts in 1809, Pike was
accepted at Harvard University, but never
attended. Instead he began a career as a
school teacher and spent time in several
communities in the Northeast before joining
the great American push West in 1831. He
stopped first in St. Louis but then pushed on
to Independence, Missouri. From there he
joined several hunting, trapping and trading
expeditions into New Mexico, Texas. On one
of these he walked more than 500 miles and
on another more than 650.

In 1833, Pike settled in western Arkansas
and began teaching at the little one-room
school that stands today. The structure is
thought to have been built in around 1820
and is one of the oldest standing buildings in
Arkansas. He did not remain long before
moving on to Little Rock where he engaged
in the practice of law, politics and newspaper
publishing during the decades before the
Civil War.

During his lifetime, Pike was highly regarded
as a poet and writer. He also was a warrior.
He served as an officer during the Mexican
War and fought at the Battle of Buena Vista
under Zachary Taylor. Another officer in
Taylor's army, John Selden Roane, became
engaged in a dispute with Pike that
culminated in a duel. Roane was a future
governor Arkansas and both men were future
Confederate generals. Although shots were
fired, as was often the case in duels of the
day no one was injured.

Pike began a lifelong fascination with
Freemasonry during the 1840s and in 1859
was elected Sovereign Grand Commander of
the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction. The
same year he refused an honorary degree
from Harvard University. Pike would become
one of the most prominent Masons in U.S>
history and in 1871 published
Morals and
Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish
Rite of Freemasonry
. Many consider him to
be the father of modern Freemasonry.
Although he opposed the secession of the
Southern states, Pike sided with his adopted
region in the Civil War. Commissioned as a
brigadier general in 1861, he commanded
troops in the Indian Nations of present-day
Oklahoma and was on the field at the
Battle
of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

Pike had a falling out with General Thomas
Hindman, however, and resigned from the
army in November of 1862.

He returned to Arkansas and lived for a time
in the Ouachita Mountains region. When the
war came to an end, his efforts on behalf of
Freemasonry continued. He spent many
years traveling the South, helping to promote
the order and establish lodges until he died
in 1891.

Albert Pike's School House can be seen daily
on the courthouse grounds in Van Buren.
The interior has been restored to its school
appearance and interpretive markers tell the
story of the unique little building. There is no
charge to visit the historic site.
Arkansas Landmark
Pike's School House in Van
Buren is one of the oldest
buildings in Arkansas.
Albert Pike's School House
The interior of the little log
school looks much as it did
when Pike taught there.
Albert Pike
A Library of Congress photo
of General Pike.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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