By MARGIE WOOD
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
Roger Pike had wondered for years whether he was related to Zebulon Montgomery Pike, as in Pikes Peak, and now he knows.
At least he knows enough to join the Pike Family Association in time for this summer's reunion on the 200th anniversary of the famous Pike's expedition through Colorado.
Roger Pike is a retired newspaper advertising man who lives in San Dimas, Calif., and has a Colorado summer home in Green Mountain Falls. He and his wife, Becky, are interested in genealogy and they heard about the Pike family's DNA research. Roger submitted a DNA sample, which revealed a 90 percent likelihood that he is related to Zebulon's family within the past 300 years.
Zebulon was a descendant of a John Pike who arrived in Massachusetts in 1632, while Roger's branch of the family didn't come to America until 1868.
"Doing a little more research in England, I found that John Pike's family had lived within 25 miles of my family. John Pike lived in a town named Newbury in England and another Newbury in Massachusetts," he said.
Roger Pike believes his common ancestor with Zebulon Pike may be a Sir Richard Pike, who died in 1562.
Roger and Becky Pike were in Pueblo on Monday to meet with Margo Hatton-Wolf, development director for the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo Foundation, who has been working for months on a local commemoration of Pike's expedition in Colorado.
Hatton-Wolf rattled off a list of activities from a Hike with Pike event scheduled Friday (550 schoolchildren will hike the Pike Plaza at the HARP) until the daylong observance on July 15 (200 years after the day Pike left Missouri en route to Colorado).
She also gave a short course in Pueblo-area history, including the fact that Pike and his men built a small breastwork on a finger of land along the Arkansas River. From that vantage point, he tried to take a party in late November 1806 to climb the "grand peak" that later would bear his name, but he actually climbed another peak nearby and expressed the opinion that no one would ever be able to climb Pikes Peak.
"The story of Pike is so much more compelling than the story of the failed attempt on the mountain," Hatton-Wolf said. "Pike really begins our American history in Colorado, and 20 percent of the Santa Fe Trail was his expedition route."
She added that the commemoration has been sensitive to the fact that some native Americans consider Pike's expedition the opening of an encounter that eventually resulted in genocide.
On the other hand, Pike enjoyed a real friendship with Facundo Malgares, the Spanish soldier who apprehended Pike and his men in the San Luis Valley and escorted them to Spanish officials in Santa Fe and Chihuahua before releasing them on American soil. "They were a good example of how different cultures can get along," she said.
The modern day Pike family will hold a reunion in Colorado Springs, and Hatton-Wolf hopes a good delegation will attend the festivities in Pueblo on July 15, to ride in a parade scheduled at 10 a.m.
Roger Pike will be attending the reunion for the first time, and he's looking forward to meeting his newfound cousins, he said.
He continues to do genealogical research and said: "Genealogy is like history. There's no beginning and no end. Somebody asked me if I'm going to write a book when I'm done, but I said, ?How will I know when I am done?? ?
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