Pike County Missouri is celebrating its 200th birthday this year, and is looking at historical highlights.
One tidbit comes from 1901, when the St. Louis Republic newspaper published a man's account of meeting fellow Pike Countians in nine western states.
The article was written by E.E. Campbell of Louisiana. He claims anyone who has ever set foot in Pike County can rightfully be called a Piker. The essay serves as a testament to native pride in an era when travel was more difficult and few ventured far.
Campbell said he found "Pikers galore" in a wide array of professions and claimed spotting a Piker wasn’t difficult.
The author finished his story by saying that as he visited more places, he began to better understand Mark Twain’s declaration that all great Americans could stake a claim as being from Missouri and, thus, should be known as Missourians.
However, Campbell said he would substitute Pike County and Pikers for Missouri and Missourians.
The full article may be found by logging on to www.chroniclingamerica.loc. gov and using the search engine to select Missouri and 1901, followed by plugging in the word “pikers.”
Once a Piker, Always a Piker
“I was born in old Pike County.
And I think there's nothing like her;
Tho I've strayed beyond her border,
Yet at heart I'm a still a Piker.
As a fellow loves his sweetheart
'Cause he can not help but like her.
So a fellow loves Pike County,
If he's ever been a Piker.
Sister, sweetheart, wife or mother
O this world has nothing like her
If you ever see a Pikess
You will want to be a Piker.
Eastward, westward, northward, southward,
Upward, down want nothing like her!
Pike's the center of creation
In the eyes of every Piker.
All her dead in - well, no matter –
Still believe there's nothing like her.
When old Gabriel toots his trumpet
every Piker'll be a Piker.
Professor Berry Smith, 1898 Pikers Annual Meeting, Grand Central Hotel, Louisiana