|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
Founded - December 21, 1816
Named for - Zebulon Pike
Seat - Petersburg
Largest city - Petersburg
Area - 341.09 sq mi
Population - (2010) 12,845
The first county the Indiana General Assembly formed ten days after statehood, Pike County sprang into being on December 21, 1816. Using portions of Gibson and Perry County, the Legislature named the county after Zebulon Pike.
Zebulon Pike (January 5, 1779 – April 27, 1813)
The son of Zebulon Pike and Isabella Brown Pike, Zebulon was a native of Lamberton, New Jersey. His father was a Revolutionary War Veteran, serving in the 3rd United States Infantry. His son, Zebulon, continued his father's tradition by enlisting in the same regiment as a cadet. In 1799, he received a promotion to second lieutenant in the 2nd United States Infantry. Later that year he rose to first lieutenant. He served at a series of frontier posts in the Louisiana Territory. President Thomas Jefferson had dispatched the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804 and in 1806 authorized Louisiana Territory Governor General James Wilkinson to send and exploratory mission into the southwestern portion of the Louisiana Territory to find the source of the Red River. Wilkinson picked Pike, who had already completed a successful expedition to find the Mississippi River in 1805, to lead this expedition. The "Pike Expedition" left St. Louis on July 15, 1806. In November the expedition located, and tried to climb, the peak that bears his name, Pike's Peak. After two days of trying to scale the peak in deep snow, they men descended after going two days without food. The expedition strayed into Spanish Territory where Spanish authorities captured them on February 26, 1807. After taking them to Sante Fe, the Spanish transported them back to the border of the Louisiana Territory, releasing them on July 1, 1807. Pike continued to rise in rank, reaching brigadier general by 1813. He participated in the successful assault on York (Toronto). He was killed in action on April 27, 1813 during the battle.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning