Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

For a year or two, Albert Pike disappeared into southern Arkansas, perhaps to Greasy Cove, in the Ouachita Mountains some eighteen miles west of Caddo Gap. Beyond legends, what proof places Pike at Greasy Cove? Local lore and printed sources suggest he was an early incognito area landowner who took up temporary residence when needed, bringing with him slaves, furniture, a sizable library, a personal fortune, and the desire to be left alone.
Pike resigned his Confederate commission in July 1862. Sought by both sides’ forces, he temporarily avoided detection in Arkansas. Did Pike really live at Greasy Cove? Some critics say absolutely not. But his wartime presence in the general area was later confirmed.
Local folk conjectured that he gathered books and papers from the Pike County location used to secure them after his June 1862 Little Rock departure. Then, in 1864, he made his way to Greasy Cove. He became absorbed in research and writing and lived a reclusive existence, except for occasional visits from local Masons. One Masonic publication said this time “might be called an apocryphal period of his life.”
Pike remained at Greasy Cove, according to this “highly valued tradition,” until rumors of his supposed wealth, a trunk of gold, lured a band of jayhawkers to his cabin. These lawless guerrillas were said to have destroyed furniture, thrown Pike’s books onto the yard or into the river, and threatened him for the gold. Another version has Pike escaping under the cover of darkness with a few personal possessions and an early manuscript of his Masonic Morals and Dogma, swimming the Little Missouri River to safety. Having been discovered, Albert Pike—the Legend of Greasy Cove—left shortly after this episode, never to return.

Richard L. Hartness Sr.
Jonesboro, AR