Pike, Mary (1776–1832), quaker heiress, was the only surviving daughter of Samuel Pike and his wife Catherine Hutchinson (d. 1813), a son and daughter both having died in infancy. Samuel (d. 1796) was a partner with his older brother Ebenezer in the family bank in Cork city, established c.1770. Details of Mary's early life go unrecorded. On the death of her father, from whom she inherited £20,000, she moved out of the city to reside at Woodhill with the family of Cooper Penrose (qv), a brother of her aunt Anne, leaving her mother, from whom she seems to have become estranged, possibly over religious differences. Penrose would later be expelled from the Society of Friends, on the grounds of indulging in avaricious leisure pursuits.
On 22 July 1797 Pike was abducted by Sir Henry Brown Hayes, who forged a letter from her mother's physician, requesting the presence of Mary at the bedside of her gravely ill mother, and duly ambushed and kidnapped her on route from Woodhill. Returning to his residence, Mount-Vernon, Hayes and his sister forced Pike to submit to a marriage ceremony, which she strongly resisted. Pike's presence at Mount-Vernon was discovered by her uncle, Richard (Hayes and his sister having disappeared by this time), who rescued her and proclaimed a reward, on top of the £1,000 the government was already offering, for the capture of Hayes and his accomplices. Hayes remained at large even though he continued to live somewhat openly in the vicinity of Cork. He wrote to Pike, who fled to England for two years, offering to surrender himself for trial if the reward would be rescinded.
Unsuccessfully attempting to change the trial venue to Dublin, Hayes came before the Cork spring assizes on 13 April 1801. The prosecution was led by John Philpot Curran (qv), who initially chose to prosecute on two charges: of kidnapping Pike against her will and of kidnapping her with intent to defile her. The latter seems to have been dropped to protect her honour, as it was unlikely this charge could be sustained. Curran focused on Hayes's motive of seeking access to her considerable wealth. Hayes's defence counsel alleged that her being a quaker invalidated her oath (the taking of which seems to have led to her expulsion from the Society of Friends), and reiterated Hayes's defence that he had merely housed Pike after she was abducted and held by some unknown person.
Onlookers had regaled Curran on his entrance to the court with: ‘Counselor, we hope you will gain the day’, to which he retorted: ‘If I do, take care that you don't lose the knight’ (Notes and Queries, 141). The jury found Hayes guilty and included a recommendation of mercy from the required life sentence. However, the judge suspended the sentence on a point of law and Hayes was subsequently sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay.
Pike seems to have gone insane some time after the whole affair, having in the view of her co-religionists ‘developed a pathological fear of the male sex’ (Harrison, Biographical dictionary, 81–2) and is recorded as living at a quaker retreat. She died in 1832, leaving a fortune of over £55,000.