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The Expressman and the Detective


Allan J. Pinkerton (25 August 1819 – 1 July 1884) was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.Allan Pinkerton was born in the Gorbals, Glasgow, Scotland, to William Pinkerton and his wife Isobel McQueen on August 25, 1819. The location of the house he was born in is now occupied by the Glasgow Central Mosque. He left school at the age of 10 after his father's death. Pinkerton read voraciously and was largely self-educated. A cooper by trade, Pinkerton was active in the British Chartist movement as a young man. He secretly married Joan Carfrae, a singer, in Glasgow on 13 March 1842. Pinkerton emigrated to the United States in 1842. In 1843 Pinkerton heard of Dundee Township, Illinois, fifty miles northwest of Chicago on the Fox River. He built a cabin and started a cooperage, sending for his wife in Chicago when their cabin was complete. As early as 1844, Pinkerton worked for the Chicago abolitionist leaders, and his Dundee home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Pinkerton first got interested in criminal detective work while wandering through the wooded groves around Dundee, looking for trees to make barrel staves, when he came across a band of counterfeiters who may have been affiliated with the notorious Banditti of the Prairie. After observing their movements for sometime, he informed the local sheriff who arrested them. This later led to Pinkerton being appointed, in 1849, as the first police detective in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. In 1850, he partnered with Chicago attorney Edward Rucker in forming the North-Western Police Agency, which later became Pinkerton & Co, and finally Pinkerton National Detective Agency, still in existence today as Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, a subsidiary of Securitas AB. Pinkerton's business insignia was a wide open eye with the caption "We never sleep." As the US expanded in territory, rail transport increased. Pinkerton's agency solved a series of train robberies during the 1850s, first bringing Pinkerton into contact with George McClellan, then Chief Engineer and Vice President of the Illinois Central Railroad, and Abraham Lincoln, the company's lawyer.


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 2022-11-30  7h21m