May 2012 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Pinkerton Government Services, Inc. from Wikipedia

Pinkerton Government Services, Inc., founded as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, usually shortened to the Pinkertons, is a private security guard and detective agency established in the U.S. by Allan Pinkerton in 1850 and currently a subsidiary of Securitas AB. Pinkerton became famous when he claimed to have foiled a plot to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who later hired Pinkerton agents for his personal security during the Civil War. Pinkerton's agents performed services ranging from security guarding to private military contracting work. At its height, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency employed more agents than there were members of the standing army of the United States of America, causing the state of Ohio to outlaw the agency due to fears it could be hired as a private army or militia. Pinkerton was the largest private law enforcement organization in the world at the height of its power.

During the labor unrest of the late 19th century and early 20th century, businessmen hired the Pinkerton Agency to provide agents that would infiltrate unions, to supply guards to keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories, and sometimes to recruit goon squads to intimidate workers. The best known such confrontation was the Homestead Strike of 1892, in which Pinkerton agents were called in to enforce the strikebreaking measures of Henry Clay Frick, acting on behalf of Andrew Carnegie, who was abroad; the ensuing conflicts between Pinkerton agents and striking workers led to several deaths on both sides. The Pinkertons were also used as guards in coal, iron, and lumber disputes in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877.

The company now operates as Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations, a division of the Swedish security company Securitas AB, although its government division is still known as Pinkerton Government Services. The organization was pejoratively called the "Pinks" by the outlaws and opponents.

Origins

In the 1850s, Allan Pinkerton met Chicago attorney Edward Rucker in a local Masonic Hall and formed the North-Western Police Agency, later known as the Pinkerton Agency.

Historian Frank Morn writes: "By the mid-1850s a few businessmen saw the need for greater control over their employees; their solution was to sponsor a private detective system. In February 1855, Allan Pinkerton, after consulting with six midwestern railroads, created such an agency in Chicago."

Government work

n 1871, Congress appropriated $50,000 to the new Department of Justice (DOJ) to form a suborganization devoted to "the detection and prosecution of those guilty of violating federal law." The amount was insufficient for the DOJ to fashion an integral investigating unit, so the DOJ contracted out the services to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

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However, since passage of the Anti-Pinkerton Act in 1893, federal law has stated that an "individual employed by the Pinkerton Detective Agency, or similar organization, may not be employed by the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia."

Chicago "Special Officers" & Watchmen

In the 1870s, Franklin B. Gowen, then president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad hired the agency to investigate the labor unions in the company's mines. A Pinkerton agent, James McParland, infiltrated the Molly Maguires using the alias James McKenna, leading to the downfall of the labor organization. The incident was the inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel The Valley of Fear. A Pinkerton agent also appears in a small role in The Adventure of the Red Circle, another Holmes story. A 1970 film The Molly Maguires was loosely based upon it as well, starring Richard Harris, Sean Connery and Anthony Zerbe.

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Pinkerton guards escort strikebreakers
in Buchtel, Ohio, 1884
Homestead Strike

During the Homestead Strike, the arrival, on July 6, 1892, of a force of 300 Pinkerton detectives from New York and Chicago, who were called in by Carnegie Steel's Henry Clay Frick to protect the Pittsburgh area mill and strikebreakers, resulted in a fire fight and siege in which 16 men were killed 
(7 Pinkertons and 9 strikers); to restore order two brigades of the Pennsylvania militia were called out by the Governor.

As a legacy of the Pinkerton's involvement a bridge connecting the nearby Pittsburgh suburbs of Munhall, Pennsylvania and Rankin, Pennsylvania was named Pinkerton's Landing Bridge.

Detective Frank P. Geyer

In 1895 detective Frank Geyer tracked down the three murdered Pitezel children leading to the eventual trial and execution of the United States' first known serial killer H. H. Holmes. His story is told in his self-written book, The Holmes-Pitezel Case. Pinkertons had previously apprehended Holmes in 1894 in Boston on an outstanding warrant for insurance fraud perpetrated in Chicago.

Steunenberg murder and trial

Harry Orchard was arrested by the Idaho police and confessed to Pinkerton agent James McParland that he assassinated former Governor Frank Steunenberg of Idaho in 1905. Orchard testified (unsuccessfully) under threat of hanging against Western Federation of Miners president Big Bill Haywood, naming him as hiring the hit. With a stirring defense by Clarence Darrow, Haywood and the other defendants of the WFM were acquitted in a nationally publicized trial. Orchard received a death sentence, but it was commuted.
 


Pinkerton men leaving a barge after
their surrender during the
Homestead Strike
Outlaws and competition

Pinkerton agents were hired to track western outlaws Jesse James, the Reno Gang, and the Wild Bunch (including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). On March 17, 1874, two Pinkerton Detectives and a Deputy Sheriff Edwin P. Daniels encountered the Younger Brothers (associates of the James-Younger gang); Daniels, John Younger, and one Pinkerton Agent was killed. In Union, Missouri a bank was robbed by George Collins aka Fred Lewis and Bill Randolph; Pinkerton Detective Chas Schumacher trailed them and was killed. Collins was hanged March 26, 1904 and Randolph was hanged May 8, 1905 in Union, Mo. Pinkertons were also hired for transporting money and other high quality merchandise between cities and towns, which made them vulnerable to the outlaws. Pinkerton agents were usually well paid and well armed.

G.H. Thiel, a former Pinkerton employee, established the Thiel Detective Service Company in St. Louis, Missouri, a competitor to the Pinkerton agency. The Thiel company operated in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Due to its conflicts with labor unions, the word Pinkerton continues to be associated by labor organizers and union members with strikebreaking. Pinkertons, however, moved away from labor spying following revelations publicized by the La Follette Committee hearings in 1937. Pinkerton's criminal detection work also suffered from the police modernization movement, which saw the rise of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the bolstering of detective branches and resources of the public police. Without the labor and criminal investigation work on which Pinkertons thrived for decades, the company became increasingly involved in protection services, and in the 1960s, even the word "Detective" disappeared from the agency's letterhead. In July 2003, Pinkerton's was acquired along with longtime rival, the William J. Burns Detective Agency (founded in 1910), by Securitas AB to create Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., one of the largest security companies in the world. Securitas employees are currently looking to form a union through the SEIU (Services Employees International Union).
 

Allan Pinkerton from Wikipedia

Allan Pinkerton (25 August 1819 1 July 1884) was a Scottish American detective and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

Early life, career and immigration

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 where he was born is now occupied by the Glasgow Central Mosque.[citation needed] A cooper by trade, he was active in the British Chartist movement as a young man. Pinkerton married Joan Carfrae (a singer) in Glasgow on 13 March 1842  secretly before moving to America. Disillusioned by the failure to win suffrage, Pinkerton emigrated to the United States in 1842, at the age of 23.

In 1843, Pinkerton heard of Dundee, Illinois, fifty miles northwest of Chicago on the Fox River.[3] He built a cabin and started a cooperage there, sending for his wife in Chicago after the cabin was complete. As early as 1844, Pinkerton worked for Chicago Abolitionist leaders, and his Dundee home was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

In 1849 Pinkerton was appointed as the first detective in Chicago. In the 1850s, he partnered with Chicago attorney Edward Rucker in forming the North-Western Police Agency, later known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and is 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 United States expanded in territory, rail transportation increased. Pinkerton's agency solved a series of train robberies during the 1850s, first bringing Pinkerton into contact with George McClellan and Abraham Lincoln.
 


Allan Pinkerton
born August 25, 1819
Glasgow, Scotland
died July 1, 1884 (aged 64)
American Civil War
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Pinkerton (left) with Abraham Lincoln
and Major General John A. McClernand.
Prior to his service with the Union Army, he developed[citation needed] several investigative techniques that are still used today. Among them are "shadowing" (surveillance of a suspect) and "assuming a role" (undercover work). Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Pinkerton served as head of the Union Intelligence Service in 18611862 and foiled an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland, while guarding Abraham Lincoln on his way to his inauguration. His agents often worked undercover as Confederate soldiers and sympathizers, in an effort to gather military intelligence. Pinkerton served in several undercover missions under the alias of Major E.J. Allen. Pinkerton was succeeded as Intelligence Service chief by Lafayette Baker. The Intelligence Service was the forerunner of the U.S. Secret Service.

Postbellum

Following Pinkerton's service with the Union Army, he continued his pursuit of train robbers, such as the Reno Gang and the famous outlaw Jesse James. He was originally hired by the railroad express companies to track down James, but after Pinkerton failed to capture him, the railroad withdrew their financial support and Pinkerton continued to track James at his own expense. After James allegedly captured and killed one of Pinkerton's young undercover agents, who was foolish enough to gain employment at the farm neighboring the James farmstead, he finally gave up the chase. Some consider this failure Pinkerton's biggest defeat. He also sought to oppose labor unions. In 1872, the Spanish Government hired Pinkerton to help suppress a revolution in Cuba which intended to end slavery and give citizens the right to vote. If Pinkerton knew this, then it directly contradicts statements in his 1883 book The Spy of the Rebellion, where he professes to be an ardent Abolitionist and hater of slavery.

Allan Pinkerton died in Chicago on July 1, 1884. It is famously claimed that the reason was a convoluted accident in which Pinkerton slipped on the pavement and bit his tongue, resulting in deadly gangrene. However, reports of the time give different conflicting causes such as Pinkerton succumbing to a stroke (he had survived another one year earlier) or to malaria he had contracted during a trip to the Southern United States. At the time of his death, he was working on a system that would centralize all criminal identification records, a database now maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Pinkerton is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. He is a member of the Mititary Intelligence Hall of Fame.

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Pinkerton on horseback
on the Antietam Battlefield in 1862.
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Pinkerton's Tomb, Graceland Cemetery,
Chicago.
Legacy

After his death, the agency continued to operate and soon became a major force against the labor movement developing in the United States and Canada. This effort changed the image of the Pinkertons for years. They were involved in numerous activities against labor during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including:

    The Homestead Strike (1891)
    The Pullman Strike (1894)
    The Wild Bunch Gang (1896)
    The Ludlow Massacre (1914)
    The La Follette Committee (19331937)

Many labor sympathizers accused the Pinkertons of inciting riots in order to discredit unions and justify police crackdowns.[citation needed] The Pinkertons' reputation was harmed by their protection of replacement workers ("scabs") and the business property of the major industrialists, including Andrew Carnegie.

Despite his agency's later reputation for anti-labor activities, Pinkerton himself was heavily involved in pro-labor politics as a young man. Though Pinkerton considered himself pro-labor, he opposed strikes and distrusted labor unions.

Pinkerton was so famous that for decades after his death, his surname was a slang term for a private eye. Due to the Pinkerton Agency's conflicts with labor unions, the word Pinkerton remains in the vocabulary of labor organizers and union members as a derogatory reference to authority figures who side with management.[citation needed]

Pinkerton's exploits were in part the inspiration of the 1961 NBC western television series, Whispering Smith, starring Audie Murphy and Guy Mitchell.
 

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