Explorations of Albert Pike in. Texas
EXPLORATIONS OF ALBERT PIKE IN TEXAS
A little volume entitled "Prose Sketches and Poems" by Albert
Pike, published in Boston in the year 1834, contains two sketches,
"Narrative of a Journey on the Prairie" and "Narrative of a
Second Journey in the Prairie," which have not been listed among
the geographic and exploration items of Texas.'
The first sketch describes the journey of Aaron B. Lewis dur-
ing the fall and winter of 1831 from Fort Towson to the Washita
River, up this river to its headwaters in Hemphill County, Texas,
and then along the Canadian River through the Texas Panhandle
into New Mexico. I draw the conclusion that Pike was not with
Lewis on this journey, for twice he plainly states, in the narra-
tion, that he was on the Cimmaron at the time Lewis was on the
Canadian; and he also says that he first met Lewis just as prep-
arations for the second journey were being made.
The second sketch is an account of Pike's adventures in cross-
ing that which we today know as the South Plains or Southern
Llano Estacado and the Permian Basin. Lewis accompanied
Pike on this second journey. Pike says that the narratives were
". . . written entirely from my own memory aided by that
of Mr. Lewis."
Pike's journey seems to have received little attention because it had
no commercial importance, and then again an explorer who would
publish his observations between poems of Shakespearean tempo
gives cause for the historian to wonder if the trip was not a
flight of fancy, and, therefore, discount its accuracy. In fact,
Thomas Maitland Marshall says that Pike "entered the Staked
Plains . .. retraced his steps to the Spanish settlements
and then proceeded to Arkansas, arriving at Fort Smith on De-
1See also "Narrative of a Journey in the Prairie" by Albert Pike in
Publications of the Arkansas Historical Commission, Volume 4, pages
66 to 139. A footnote (page 67) says: "In 1835 General Pike published
the 'Narrative of a Journey in the Prairie' as a serial in the columns of
his paper, the Arkansas Advocate, whence it is ,resurrected and repro-
I have not compared these various versions. Apparently they are
identical with the exception that the two narratives of "Prose Sketches
and Poems" 'have been placed under the one ,title in the reproduction.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 39, July 1935 - April, 1936. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101095/. Accessed September 2, 2015.