Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PINKERTON, Allan, detective, born in Glasgow, Scotland, 25 August, 1819; died in Chicago, Illinois, 1 July, 1884. He became a Chartist in early manhood, came to this country in 1842 to escape imprisonment, and settled in Chicago, Illinois He was made deputy sheriff of Kane county in 1846, was subsequently deputy sheriff of Cook county, and in 1850 was appointed the first detective for Chicago. He also established Pinkerton's detective agency in that year, and from that date till the emancipation was largely engaged in assisting the escape of slaves. He was the first special U S. mail agent for northern Illinois and Indiana and southern Wisconsin, organized the United States secret service division of the National army in 1861, was its first chief, and subsequently organized and was at the head of the Secret service department of the Gulf till the close of the civil war. He added to his detective agency in Chicago in 1860 a corps of night-watchmen, called Pinkerton's preventive watch, established offices of both agencies in several other cities, and was signally successful in the discovery and suppression of crime. While in the employment of tile Wilmington and Baltimore railroad company in 1861, he discovered a plan to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on his way to his inauguration in Washington. Among the eases in which he successfully traced thieves and recovered money are the robbery of the Carbondale, Pennsylvania, bank of $40,000, and that of tile Adams express company of $700,000, on 6 January, 1866, from a train on tile New York, New Haven, and Hartford railroad, and tile taking of $300,000 from an express-car on the Hudson River railroad. He also broke up gangs of thieves at Seymour, Indiana, and the "Mollie Maguires" in Pennsylvania. He published about fifteen detective stories, the most popular of which are "The Molly Maguires and the Detectives" (New York, 1877) ; "Criminal Reminiscences" (1878); "The Spy of the Rebellion" (1883); and "Thirty Years a Detective" (i884).
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