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Allan Pinkerton Biography

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Allan Pinkerton Biography

Sheri Minard

CJS/250 Introduction to Security

August 16, 2015

James Pepin

        Allan Pinkerton was born August 25, 1819, in Glasgow Scotland to William and Isabell Pinkerton. He was active in the British Chartist movement as a young man. In 1842, Pinkerton immigrated to the United States, settling in a small town outside of Chicago. Here he established a barrel making shop that functioned as a station for the escaped slaves traveling the underground railroad to freedom in the North. (World History Project 2015).

        Pinkerton's career as a detective began by chance. One day while gathering wood, he discovered a gang of counterfeiters. He assisted in arresting the men and several other counterfeiters. He was then appointed as deputy sheriff of Kane County Illinois and later became Chicago's first full-time detective. In 1850, Pinkerton developed his own detective agency named Pinkerton Detective Agency. His agency specialized in catching train robbers and counterfeiting, he also provided private security for numerous industries. (World History Project 2015)

        February 1, 1855, Pinkerton was ask by six railroad representatives to establish a railroad police agency known as the North West Police Agency. At this time, he served as a deputy in Cook County Chicago. He was also under contract with the federal government to protect the Post Office from robbery and investigate counterfeiting and was called upon to repeatedly for detective tasks. (American Story, n.d.).

        In 1858, Pinkerton established Pinkerton Protective Patrol, this consisted of a small group of uniformed night watchmen. He then contracted through businesses to use these night watchmen to keep their businesses secure during the night. The Chicago Mayor also used Pinkerton's men to supplement the local public police agency. (Clifford, 2004).

        In 1861, Pinkerton uncovered an apparent assassination plot against President Abraham Lincoln. He warned Lincoln of the threat and the president's route to the inauguration was changed to travel secretly at night. Lincoln also, hired Pinkerton to establish a “secret service” to obtain military information during the civil war. In Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi he performed his own investigative work and traveled under a false name, Major E. J. Allen. (American Story, n.d.).

        In 1867, he wrote a book called, General Principles of Pinkerton's National Police Agency. The book was written to establish rules of conduct and responsibility for his employees, and also emphasized the honorable nature of the work his detectives performed. (Clifford, 2004).



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