Friday, June 23, 2017

More About William S. Pike

William S. Pike c1870
Williaim Spencer Pike c1870
from Bergeron collection in the
Pike Family Tree of Kathryn Bobb

Pike, Brother & Co.
and William S. Pike listings
1870 New Orleans City Directory

In his last letters to Belle and Frank, Benjamin Franklin Tisdale was very critical of his boss, Bill Pike. They had a long history together dating back to their time in Baton Rouge in the 1840s. B. F. Tisdale's marriage to his first wife, Maria Pike, took place at William Pike's home on August 25, 1846. Maria is referred to in a Baton Rouge Gazette wedding announcement as “the youngest daughter of the late James M. Pike of Lexington, Ky.” William Pike named his oldest son James Pike, leading me to believe that William may have been Maria's older brother. B. F. Tisdale and William Pike were also members of the same Masonic Lodge in Baton Rouge. Maria died in September 1849 so they would have had three years of family contact.

Just a few months after B. F.'s letter to Belle in October 1874, William Pike suffered a stroke. On January 6, 1875 The New Orleans Times reported:

Serious Illness of Mr. W. S. Pike.
   While in attendance upon his business on Monday, Mr. W. S. Pike, the well known banker, was suddenly stricken with paralysis, and rendered so helpless that he was at once conveyed by carriage to his residence. Medical assistance was called and although the unfortunate gentleman continued to be the object of watchful care and experienced treatment, he grew no better. During the night of Monday his situation was regarded as extremely critical, and on Tuesday morning his physicians were unable to report any improved change.
   A representative of the TIMES called late last evening at the residence of Mr. Pike. His attending physicians, Drs. Staile and Choppin were absent at the time, but Dr. J. H. Pike stated that he considered the condition of his father much improved, and that the physicians above referred to were of the same opinion. Mr. Pike was sensible and cognizant of all that was going on around him, articulated more readily and swallowed with less difficulty than in the morning and night previous. One half of Mr. Pike's body (the right side) is paralyzed.
[New Orleans Times (New Orleans, La.) Wednesday, January 6, 1875, Volume XII, Issue 6524, Page 6. Source]

On January 8, 1875 The New Orleans Times reported that Bill Pike had died and published a long biographical sketch:
A Good Man Gone – Universal Regret.
Biographical Sketch.
   When it was known yesterday forenoon that, after not three days of illness, Wm. S. Pike had breathed his last, there went forth everywhere, in social as well as in business circles, instantaneous expression of the sincerest regret. So sudden and unexpected a termination of a life, so full of activity and of good works, and promising so many years of usefulness, was a severe shock to the entire community.
   Mr. Pike was a native of Lexington, Ky., was born in 1821, and on Tuesday, the 5th of January, the day after he was so suddenly stricken down at his post, he was fifty-three years of age.
His father was a large real estate agent in Lexington; served several sessions in the Kentucky Legislature, and was a prominent, respected and influential citizen.
After his death his son, the subject of our notice, then about ten years old, left the paternal home and came to New Orleans determined, though so young and inexperienced, to earn his own livelihood.
Comes South.
   He soon found employment here; and for several years served as a clerk with the late John Watt, and other merchants of high standing and extensive business. He then entered upon the active life of the steamboatmen of those early days, filling the responsible duties, now of clerk and now of pilot, and always with credit and success. Should any of our old time citizens remember the steamboat Daniel Webster, it will interest them also to know that Mr. Pike was one of her officers.
At Baton Rouge.
   In 1839, Mr. Pike settled down in Baton Rouge, with which town and its vicinity he was ever after so intimately connected, that his death will be the cause of grief in every household. For fourteen years he successfully managed an extensive and remunerative grocery and produce business in Baton Rouge, and was, besides, prominently connected with every public enterprise calculated to benefit the community.
   In 1853 he accepted the appointment of cashier of the Baton Rouge branch of the Louisiana State Bank, and fulfilled its duties until the war. Meantime, for several years, he was one of the lessees of the State Penitentiary in conjunction with that well known gentleman, Mr. McHatton.
If we mistake not, Mr. Pike remained in or near Baton Rouge during the war. He was at one time imprisoned by Gen. Butler, but was released after awhile, as even that hero of many victories could not bend the prisoner to his purposes.
Comes to New Orleans.
   In 1864, just before the close of the war, Mr. Pike removed to New Orleans, where, in partnership with the late Messrs. J. M. Lapeyre and Alexander Brother, he established the private banking house whose standing and usefulness are so prominently and honorable linked with the history of our city during the last ten years.
   Mr. Lapeyre, one of our oldest and most influential financiers, retired a few years ago from active business, full of years and honors, and died soon after. Mr. Brother, a gentleman of equal honorable repute and long experience in our business circles, was lost to the firm by death. Mr. Geo. A. Pike, formerly proprietor and editor of the Baton Rouge Gazette, and of late years a banker in Shreveport, thus remained the sole partner of his brother here.
Howard Association.
   Soon after he became a resident of our city Mr. Pike was admitted to the Howard Association, and, every season of sickness and distress that called for the services of that far-famed organization, he was one of its most zealous, self-sacrificing and efficient members.
   He promptly took an active, intelligent and liberal share in all enterprises, whether of a strictly business character or of a lighter and more ephemeral description, that promised to benefit the city and State. Thus, whilst foremost in well digested projects to develop our railroad and steamship connections and open up new fields for mercantile action, the Mystick Krewe of Comus, the King of the Carnival, and other notable “merry men,” found in this quiet, sedate and thorough business man not only a generous contributor to the funds so largely drawn on to fit out their brilliant masquerades, but even a genial and zealous participant in them, in his own person. 
[William Pike was Rex, King of the Carnival, for Mardi Gras 1874.]
Railroads, etc.
   One of the important enterprises that owed its renewed vitality and assured success to Mr. Pike's prudent management and clear-sighted liberality, is the Baton Rouge and Grosse Tete Railroad, which may yet be an important part of a trunk line between this city and Shreveport. He was also the President of the new Metairie Cemetery Association, and to that, and the proposed New Orleans and Western Texas Railroad, he of late devoted much time and attention.
Last Hours.
   For all the long years that he led so busy and responsible a career, Mr. Pike enjoyed uninterrupted good health. It was only of late that this constant, trying mental toil commenced to tell on our old friend's strong physique. A feeling of general debility should have warned him that he was no longer young, and that he needed not to apply himself so assiduously to the many avocations and trusts in his charge. But such veterans, in business as in war, persistently stand to their posts to the last; and so they die in harness.
   It was a striking evidence of the high esteem in which this quiet, modest man was held by his brother merchants, that on the very evening of the afternoon on which he was carried home from his banking house, never to enter its familiar halls again, the Chamber of Commerce by a unanimous vote, elected him for their President, to succeed one of the ablest presiding officers that body has had for many years.
The Survivors.
   We learn that the business of the bank will continue as usual under the supervision of Mr. Geo. A. Pike and of Mr. John H. Pike, the eldest son of the deceased, and cashier of the New Orleans National Bank. He is a fine young man, and is evidently conscious of the great duty devolving on him of sustaining the repute of a name so long and so much honored.
   The universal exclamation yesterday, when the news became general of Mr. Pike's death, was: “What a loss to the community!” That best exhibits his place in the public esteem, confidence and affection.
[New Orleans Times (New Orleans, La.) Friday, January 8, 1875, Volume XII, Issue 6526, Page 8. Source]

The Sunday, January 10, 1875 paper carried his obituary:

PIKE- On Thursday morning, January 7, 1875, at 7:49 o'clock, William S. Pike, aged 54 years, a native of Lexington, Ky., and a resident of this state for forty years.
   The funeral will take place from his residence, No. 173 Camp street. His friends are respectfully invited to attend at 10 o'clock Sunday Morning, 10th inst.
Grand Secretary's Office, Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana, Free and Accepted Masons-Grand Lodge Hall, New Orleans, Jan. 9, 1875-The officers and members of the M. W. Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana, F. and A. M., are notified to meet in the Grand Lodge Hall. Sunday morning, the 10th inst., at 9:30 o'clock, for the purpose of attending the obsequies of our late R. W. Brother and Grand Treasurer, WILLIAM STEPHEN PIKE. (Officers of Lodges will wear official regalia.) Masonic bodies of which he was a member, are specially invited. Dark clothing respectfully recommended. By order:
Grand Secretary.
[New Orleans Times (New Orleans, La.) Wednesday, January 10, 1875, Volume XII, Issue 6528, Page 4. Source There were also obituaries in the New York Herald and the Galveston Daily News.]

That article was followed by similar invitations for members of other Masonic and civic groups.

On Monday, January 11, 1875 the New Orleans Times published a story on the funeral:

The Funeral of the Late William S. Pike.
   Yesterday dawned one of the most disagreeable days that has been experienced in this city for years past; a cold rain set in, freezing as it fell, and by 10 o'clock New Orleans was clothed in a mantle of ice. This did not have the effect of preventing a large concourse of the friends of the late Wm. S. Pike from assembling at his residence, No. 173 Camp street, to pay their last sad tribute of respect to him, who in life was an exemplary citizen, a firm friend, and an honest man.
   Mr. Pike breathed his last at twenty minutes to eight o'clock on the morning of the 7th instant, and for the exceedingly long time which his interment was deferred, his body was in an excellent state of preservation.
   In the parlor his body lay, encased in a metallic coffin, beautifully chased with silver; the highest skill of art being brought to bear in the construction of the metallic shell.
Through a thick glass Mr. Pike's body could be seen, and as each friend would for the last time gaze upon his form lyng before them stark and cold in the embrance [sic] of death, through the tears which unbidden came, they would murmur “that death had no terrors for him, but as if in quiet repose, contented and happy, Mr. Pike's spirit had flown; the mortal has assumed the immortal.” Floral offerings were thickly strewn around the coffin, their delicate perfume like sweet incense impregnating the atmosphere.
   At about nine o'clock the Reverend Father Hubert, of the Jesuits' Church, arrived at the residence, and in the solemn and impressive ceremonies of the Catholic faith, performed the last rites.
After the Reverend Father's departure the officers of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, of which Mr. Pike was Grand Treasurer, Jacques deMolay No. 2, K. T., and of Marion Lodge No. 68, took charge of the remains.
   The rain continued unceasingly to fall, but nevertheless the members of the following organizations came to their deceased friend and brother's residence to participate in the funeral cortege; Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Free and Accepted Masons; Grand Chapter of Louisiana, Royal Arch Masons; Marion Lodge No. 68 F. and A. M.; Knights Templar--Indivisible Friends Commandary No. 1, Jacques deMolay No. 2, Orleans Commandary No. 3; Steam Fire Engine Company No. 2 and delegations from the Fire Department, members of the Chamber of Commerce and the ladies of the Crescent City Relief Association.
   The entire funeral was under the control and charge of Mr. Jos. H. DeGrange, Grand Marshal, the whole line of escort being under the immediate command of Sir Jos. P. Hornor, P. E. G. Commander of the State.
   At 11 o'clock the escort of the three Commanderies Knights Templar, under command of Sir Knight Berry Russell, E. C., Indivisible Friends; Sir Knight Harvy Cree, E. C. , Jacques deMolay No. 2, and Sir Knight John W. Madden, E. C., Orleans Commandery No. 3, headed by a band of music, marched to their deceased brother's late home. A short time after their arrival, the mortal remains of their late brother was tenderly conveyed to the hearse by the following pall bearers:
Banking interests--S. H. Kennedy.
Insurance interests--Harmon Doane.
Chamber of Commerce--Joseph Bowling.
Cotton Exchange--John Phelps.
Knights Commandery--Joseph P. Hornor.
Fire Department--Fred'k Camerden.
Mechanics' and Agricultural Fair Association--I. N. Marks.
Howard Association--E. F. Schmidt.
Allen Monumental Association--Col. John M. Sandidge.
Lee Monumental Association--Amilear Fortier.
Pickwick Club--Lafayette Folger.
Boston Club--John H. New.
Metairie Cemetery Association and
Louisiana Jockey Club--Colonel Gus A.Breux.
King's Own--J. J. Mellon.
Citizens at large--C. A. Whitney.
Steamboat interests--Capt. John J. Brown.
St. John's Rowing Club--E. B. Musgrove.
Masonic pall bearers--Samuel M. Todd, P.G.M.; J.Q.A. Fellows, P.G.M.
Grand Chapter--T. F. Hedges, Harmon Doane.
Jacques deMolay Commandry[sic]--Sir D. W. C. Peck, Sir E. A. Yorke.
Marion Lodge--H. M. Buckley, P. M.; John Chaffe, P. M.
   The Sir Knights standing with uncovered heads 'neath the sleet and hail that fell, preserving the strictest military discipline.
   The procession then took the line of march, and to the solemn strains of music walked opposite the deceased's bank on Camp street, where they entered the carriages provided for them and proceeded to the new Metairie Cemetary. [sic]
At the Cemetary [sic]
the solemn procession proceeded to the temporary vaults, where the deceased gentleman was interred, pending the completion of his family tomb. At the grave the funeral ceremonies were conducted by Sir Knight John G. Fleming, D. Y. G. M. Thus has ended the life of one whose career on earth has been characterized by honesty and integrity, who was esteemed as a friend, fond parent and husband, and as one possessed of all those attributes of character which endear the friendships of earth.
[New Orleans Times (New Orleans, La.) Wednesday, January 11, 1875, Volume XII, Issue 6529, Page 2. Source]

I wonder if B. F. Tisdale attended the funeral.

None of the newspaper accounts mention Pike's widow, Mariana Huguet Pike. William and Mariana married 21 Oct 1843 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and had five children, James, John, William, Emma and Gertrude. Mariana died December 13,1904 and is buried in the Pike family tomb at Metairie Cemetery.

Pike Family Tomb, Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana

Post a Comment