This blog is devoted to exploring the history, historic sites and heritage tourism opportunities of the American South! A guide to new additions and updates to the expansive site www.exploresouthernhistory.com, this blog features forts, battlefields, Native American sites, architectural treasures and natural wonders.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Albert Pike's School House - An Arkansas Reminder of the Father of Modern Freemasonry
This little log one-room school house in Arkansas holds a unique place in American history.
Its one-time teacher was Albert Pike, who later became a Confederate general and is remembered today as the father of modern Freemasonry.
Pike came to what was then the western frontier from Massachusetts in 1831. An avid explorer, he took part in several hunting and trading expeditions into Texas and New Mexico, walking over 1,100 miles on foot. Exhausted by such rigors, he came to the frontier city of Van Buren in Crawford County, Arkansas, in 1833. He took a job teaching in the little school house that still stands today, educating the youth of rural mountain country in America's time honored way. They sat on wooden benches and wrote on slates as he instructed them in reading, writing and arithmetic.
From here Pike went on to command troops in battle during the Mexican War. He developed a strong attachment to Masonry during the 1840s and in 1859 was elected as the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Division of the Scottish Rite. In 1871, in fact, he published Morals and Dogma, which is considered one of the principal public documents of modern Freemasonry.
Although he opposed secession, Pike stood by his adopted region and was appointed a brigadier general by the Confederacy in November of 1861. He commanded in the Indian Nations of what is now Oklahoma and led troops in battle at Pea Ridge.