The Man Who Discovered Pikes Peak.

Although Pikes Peak, the most famous mountain in America, is named for Lt, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, who first saw the Grand Mountain as he called it. He failed to conquer it’s rocky sides. That was first accomplished on July 14 1820, by Dr. Edwin James. A member of Maj, Stephen H Long’s exploring expedition.

Neither was Pike the original discoverer of the sentinel of the Rockies. That honor belongs to another explorer whose name is almost forgotton and whose fright to fame has been passed by. He was James Pursley, a Kentuckian. As early as 1802 Pursley was trapping in the Spanish Territory across the Mississippi and he preceded Lewis and Clark, the famous explorers of the Louisiana Purchase. In some parts of the upper Missouri country just as he preceded Pike in the Colorado Rockies.

About 1804 Pursley joined a tradig exepedition bound for the country of Mandans. Arriving there he was sent with a few companions to trade withthe Kiowas. But the Sioux drove the Kiowas and their white friends into the mountains at the head of the Platte River. The Kiowas wishing to open trade with the Spanish, dispatched Pursley and his men ahead to interview the Governor for them. It was on this trip from the headwaters of the Platte to Santa E’e that Pursley looked upon Pikes Peak.

After arriving at Santa Fe, Pursley was detained by the Spanish and virtually held prisoner for nearly two years. While there he met Lt. Pike, who had been brought there under escort of Spanish troops because his exploring expedition had ended in tresspass upon Spanish territory. At this time Pursley told Pike of having found god in what is now South Park, Colorado, just north and west of Pikes Peak.

He had carried away several nuggets in his shot pouch but, becoming doubtful that he would ever reach civilization where he could use them he had thrown them away.

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