Allan Pinkerton: The Man And His Agency
Pinkerton was born in Glasgow on August 25, 1819, and he dropped out of school when he was 10 after his father died. In 1842, after being involved in radical politics, he was forced to immigrate to the U.S. He went to Dundee Township, 50 miles northwest of Chicago, building a cabin for his wife and starting a cooperage in 1843. By 1844, he was working for the Chicago abolitionist leaders, turning his home into a stop on the Underground Railroad.
While he was wandering through the woods looking for trees for barrel staves, he encountered counterfeiters, who he observed for a while. He reported them to the local sheriff, who arrested the men, which led to his appointment as the first police detective in Chicago in 1849. He was also a special agent with the U.S. Post Office. He then partnered with Edward Rucker, a Chicago attorney, to form the North-Western Police Agency, which eventually became Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
He Met Lincoln Early On
The agency started to make a name for itself when it solved a series of train robberies in the 1850s. After that, Pinkerton met George McClellan and Abraham Lincoln, who was, at that time, the lawyer for the Illinois Central Railroad. His abolitionist activities continued when he helped the slaves that John Brown freed in Missouri to gain transport to Canada.