A new local scholarship and award was created last May when the San Saba Scottish Rite Club presented the Albert Pike Award to two local students at graduation. Kayla and Kayce Ellis were the very first recipients; but unfortunately the medal was not yet minted. After various committee meetings and discussions with the minting company, the preliminary art work has now been prepared.
In 1831, Pike left Massachusetts to travel west, first stopping in St. Louis and later moving on to Independence, Missouri. At Independence, he joined an expedition to Taos, New Mexico. During the excursion his horse broke and ran, forcing Pike to walk the remaining 500 miles to Taos. After this he joined another expedition to New Mexico and Texas. After traveling about 1300 miles - 650 on foot - he finally arrived at Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Settling in Arkansas in 1833, he taught school, managed and owned a newspaper and rose politically in the Whig Party. He married Mary Ann Hamilton in 1834, and to their union was born six children. He then began to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1837. Pike became the first reporter for the Arkansas Supreme Court. He became a champion for the Native Americans and a voice for women's rights. One of his passions was poetry, which he wrote all of his life. His poems were highly regarded in his day, but are now mostly forgotten.
When the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) began, Pike led his Arkansas volunteer cavalry, serving in the Battle of Buena Vista. He and his commander, John S. Roane, had strong differences of opinion. This situation led later to a duel between Pike and Roane on the Arkansas River just after the war. The duel ended with nobody injured, which became known as the last duel in Arkansas. Pike returned to the practice of law, moving to New Orleans for a time beginning in 1853. He returned to Arkansas in 1857 and became a member of the Know-Nothing party. By this time he had become famous as the "Plato of America."
Before the War Between the State (1861-1865), he was firmly against secession. However, when the war started he nevertheless took the side of the Confederacy. Pike was commissioned as a brigadier general in 1861, and given a command in the Indian Territory. In this capacity he negotiated several treaties and led the Indians at the Battle of Pea ridge Arkansas.
Pike's real interest was in Freemasonry and after the war he resumed his activities in the fraternity, especially the Scottish Rite. He was the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite's southern Jurisdiction from 1859 until his death, a total of thirty-two years. He devoted a large amount of his time to developing the rituals of the order.
Pike is still regarded in America as an eminent and influential Freemason. He is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C. - Judiciary Square.
This award will not be exclusive just to San Saba. Although the San Saba Scottish Rite Club will sponsor the award, maintain record keeping and keep the medal in stock, it is intended tat it be available to the Scottish Rite as a whole throughout the entire Southern jurisdiction.
At this time the rules and application are still under review. However, it is the desire that all interested Scottish Rite bodies, clubs or three or more Scottish Rite Masons will be able to apply for the award at a nominal cost.
The program will be presented by the General Secretary of the Austin Scottish Rite Bodies, Paul Bullock, 32° KCCH. Brother Bullock will present a short lecture on the development of speculative Freemasonry to include the ancient landmarks. Some of his remarks will include the private experiences of such famous Freemasons and founding fathers such as Benjamin Franklin. All Scottish Rite Masons are encouraged to attend and guests are invited as the program will be in an open forum.
Members are reminded that the $20.00 dues will be collected before and after the meeting for the 2011 Masonic year.
The San Saba Scottish Rite Club will hold its quarterly meeting on Thursday, December 9th at the lodge hall in San Saba. A meal of baked ham will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the stated meeting will begin around 7:00 p.m. Members are asked to bring a complimentary covered side and dessert. Members of the Llano County Scottish Rite Club are expected to attend. The artwork for the new Albert Pike Medal and Scholarship will be available for display.The Award was created for two reasons. First to provide a scholarship to a deserving college bound student and secondly to honor Albert Pike. The award is a 2 1/2 inch medal suspended by a purple neck ribbon with the image of Pike on the front. A minimum of $500 comes with the award and is given when the student provides proof of enrollment in an accredited institution of higher learning. After the medal is minted, all awards will be rertroactive.The award is named after one of the most prominent Freemasons known to the Scottish Rite, Albert Pike. Pike (December 29, 1809 - April 2, 1891) was an attorney, soldier, writer, poet, philosopher and Freemason. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Ben and Sarah (Andrews) Pike, and spent his childhood in Byfield and Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1825, he passed entrance exams at Harvard University but chose not to attend, beginning a program of self-education.