Credited not only with overhauling the Scottish Rite, but with also writing all kinds of crazy nonsense if you believe what tinfoil hat wearing undereducated conspiracy nuts say, Albert Pike was quite the polarizing figure. He was a Captain in the cavalry regiment of Arkansas Mounted Volunteers during the Mexican-American war, an American attorney, author, Confederate General in the Civil War, Freemason, and Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite (Southern Jurisdiction).
Pike was born in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Ben and Sarah (Andrews) Pike, and spent his childhood in Byfield and Newburyport, Massachusetts. His colonial ancestors included John Pike (1613-1688/1689), the founder of Woodbridge, New Jersey. He attended school in Newburyport and Framingham until he was 15. In August 1825, he passed entrance exams at Harvard University, though when the college requested payment of tuition fees for the first two years which he had successfully challenged by examination, he chose not to attend. He began a program of self-education, later becoming a schoolteacher in Gloucester, North Bedford, Fairhaven and Newburyport. Read more »