“With shelves of books behind him, Clyde David Robert III settled in his library chair … he grabbed the rolled up paper [inside his desk] from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
“Spreading out the gold sheet, he examined it once more along with the agency’s guarantee of finding his daughter. The document was dated March 21, 1896. Where was she? How could his daughter have escaped without detection?”
-An excerpt from Janet Syas Nitsick’s recent release, The Heiress Comes to Town.
Slipping out of her father’s New York mansion on her wedding day, Nina Robert . . . leaves her luxurious life to settle on the Plains where she discovers romance, but all could end with her father’s hiring of the Pinkerton Detective Agency to find her and enable him to fulfill his arranged marriage contract.
The Pinkerton Detective Agency
Motto: We Never Sleep
Formation and Prominence
The private-eye detective business began with the formation of the Pinkerton Detective Agency by Allan Pinkerton in 1850.
But they did not become famous until credited with foiling a plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln, as he was to take the reins of his first term.
How did the Pinkerton Agency claim to do this? With the help of the first female detective hire, Kate Warne, a widow, this woman and other agents arranged for President-elect Lincoln to board an overnight train hours before he was publicly scheduled to appear.
Abraham Lincoln posed as Warne’s invalid brother, and agency’s operatives cut telegraph lines, so Southern sympathizers could not communicate with one another.
The Civil War
The detective agency continued to make its mark during the Civil War with its enemy spy rings of Southern sympathizers in the North. The operation did not always go well.
One such misstep was in the 1862s during the Peninsula Campaign when spy intelligent agents reported Confederate forces around Richmond were more than twice as large as their actual number.
The result was General George B. McClellan delayed the Union’s advance in part due to his request for more troops. But the intelligence was wrong since McClellan’s Army of the Potomac was in fact much bigger than the Confederates.
Wild West Bounty Hunters
The Reno Gang
The Pinkerton Agency often was employed to chase after Wild West bandits, which began with the Reno gang of John and Simeon Reno holding up an Ohio and Mississippi railroad train in Jackson County Indiana. What was different about their holdup?
A booty of $13,000 and no detection since they committed their crime on a moving train – the first such type train robbery – while traveling in a sparsely populated area. However, the Pinkerton agents often get their man, and they did the same to the Reno gang by infiltrating it.
Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch
Remember Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch? Well, the Pinkerton detectives chased after them, too.
Jesse James and his Gang: A Pinkerton Failure
The pursuit of bank robbers, Jesse and Frank James, by the Pinkerton agents started in the 1870s.
One detective attempted to infiltrate the Missouri-based gang but was exposed and then murdered. Then two more agents died in a shootout.
If this was not bad enough, the hunt for the James brothers ended in 1876 during a raid on his mother’s home. The famous brothers had been tipped off and had left the premises.
The Pinkertons questioned James’ mother. An argument pursued. During the standoff, a posse member tossed an incendiary device through a window, which blew off part of her arm and killed James’ 8-year-old half brother.
Journalists portrayed the Pinkerton agents as murderers. Humiliated by their depiction of his detectives and the public outrage, Allen Pinkerton stopped pursuing the James gang. Thus Jesse James was able to continue his havoc for seven more years until 1882 when an assassin’s bullet killed him.
Larger than the United States Army
In the 1890s, the agency grew until it had 2,000 detectives and 30,000 reserves. This was larger than the United States Army at the time.
The Agency Exists Today
It operates today as Pinkerton and is a private security and guard service.
*Janet Syas Nitsick is offering a signed paperback copy of The Heiress Comes to Town, a Christian, historical, page-turner mystery and clean romance to one person picked at random from those who leave a comment today.
The Heiress Comes to Town
by Janet Syas Nitsick is on Nook, Kobo, iBooks.
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Janet Syas Nitsick
Shy, natural redhead Janet Syas Nitsick’s writing passion began as a child when she wrote a neighborhood play at 10-years-old. In 2010 Janet’s story, “The Silver Lining,” placed 10th in the Writer’s Digest mainstream/literary competition.
Janet writes suspenseful, clean, Christian, historical, homespun-romantic tales set in Nebraska. She is married and has four sons – two with autism. Her late father, Nebraska State Sen. George Syas, served 26 years in the Unicameral.