Where is Zeb Pike?


Contrary to what you might think, American explorer and soldier Zebulon Pike is not buried at the Colorado peak named for him. Members of his clan are searching for his burial site.

Pike was a major figure in our country’s early history. In 1806-07, he explored and mapped Western areas not covered by Lewis and Clark—including Colorado and New Mexico (which got him in trouble with Mexican authorities). He “discovered” Pike’s Peak, although he never made it to the summit. In 1811, he served at the Battle of Tippecanoe, an important Indian fight in U.S. history. Two years later, he helped American forces capture the Canadian town of York—present-day Toronto—in the War of 1812. He died when British troops blew up a munitions depot; his body was shipped across Lake Ontario to a military cemetery in Sackets Harbor, a burg just west of Watertown, New York.

His remains (and others) were moved at least once in the early 1900s, leading to confusion over just where he lies. A 2003 archaeological study, using ground-penetrating radar, discovered a coffin consistent with Pike’s.

Some of Pike’s descendants in the Pike Family Association want a peek at the remains to confirm the study. They also want to take a DNA sample as part of an ongoing family genealogy project.

Sackets Harbor Mayor Eric Constance and some townsfolk are leery of the proposal and wonder who will pay for it. As of this writing, town officials and family representatives have talked about meeting together, but no official arrangements have been made.

315-646-2321 • PikeFamily.org

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