kids encyclopedia robot

Zebulon Pike facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Zebulon Pike
Zebulon Pike by Charles Willson Peale, 1808
Zebulon Montgomery Pike

January 5, 1779
Died April 27, 1813(1813-04-27) (aged 34)
Outside Fort York, York, Upper Canada
Cause of death Killed in action
Resting place Military Cemetery, Sackets Harbor, New York
Nationality American
Occupation General, explorer
Spouse(s) Clarissa Harlow Brown
Parent(s) Zebulon Pike Sr.

Zebulon Montgomery Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813) was an American brigadier general and explorer. Pikes Peak in Colorado is named after him. As a U.S. Army officer, President Thomas Jefferson asked him to lead two journeys through the new Louisiana Purchase territory. The first was in 1805-06 to explore the upper northern parts of the Mississippi River. The second journey was in 1806-07 to explore the Southwest to the edges of the northern Spanish-colonial settlements of New Mexico and Texas. Pike's journeys happened at the same time as other journeys that happened while Thomas Jefferson was president. This include the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) and the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition up the Red River (1806).

Pike's second journey crossed the Rocky Mountains into what is now southern Colorado. He was captured by the Spanish colonial authorities near Santa Fe. They sent Pike and his men to Chihuahua (present-day Mexico), to be questioned. Later in 1807, Pike and some of his men were led by the Spanish through Texas, and they were released near American territory in Louisiana.

In 1810, Pike wrote a book about his journeys. The book was so popular that it was translated into Dutch, French, and German languages, for publication in Europe. He later became a brigadier general in the American Army. He served during the War of 1812, until he was killed during the Battle of York, in April 1813.

Early and family life

Early life and education

Pike was born during the Revolutionary War, on January 5, 1779, near Lamberton, now called Lamington in Bedminster, New Jersey, in Somerset County, New Jersey. His mother was Isabella (Brown), and his father was Zebulon Pike. He would become similar to his father, who had started his own career in the military service of the United States in 1775, at the outset of the American Revolutionary War.

Marriage and family

Zebulon Pike, Jr. married Clarissa Harlow Brown in 1801. They had one child who lived to become an adult, Clarissa Brown Pike. She later married President William Henry Harrison's son, John Cleves Symmes Harrison. They had four other children who died before becoming adults.

Military career

War of 1812

Pike was promoted to brigadier general in March 1813. Along with General Jacob Brown, Pike left Sackets Harbor, on the New York shore of Lake Ontario. This would be his last military campaign. On this campaign, Pike led soldiers in the successful attack on York (now Toronto), on April 27, 1813. Pike was killed, along with other American soldiers, by flying rocks and other debris. This was when the withdrawing British blew up its ammunition supply as Pike's troops got close to Fort York. His body was brought by ship back to Sackets Harbor. His body were buried at the military cemetery.


Pike's 20th century reputation focused on his exploration. His name appeared often on natural features, such as dams, islands, lakes, and parks.

In 1901, General William Jackson Palmer built a marble statue of Zebulon Pike. It was placed near the main entrance of the Antlers Hotel.  Pike was later honored in 1926 with a bronze medallion portrait placed in the pavilion at Tahama Spring in Monument Valley Park, Colorado Springs.


  • Fort Pike
  • Camp Pike, Arkansas (A sub-section of Camp Joe T. Robinson Arkansas National Guard)
  • USS General Pike

A building at Fort Knox is named in his honor.




Related pages

  • Pike's Purchase

Images for kids

kids search engine
Zebulon Pike Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.