Allan Pinkerton with Abraham Lincoln.

This evening, I am providing information on Scotsman, Allan Pinkerton (1819-1884) who emigrated to the United States and later founded the  Pinkerton National Detective Agency. The agency’s well-known motto was “We never sleep”.

Pinkerton was born at Muirhead Street near the Gorbals Cross. The Gorbals region became socially deprived and was substantially rebuilt in the 20th century as a consequence of which Muirhead Street no longer exists.

Roy, David and Gary Pinkerton are descendants of Allan Pinkerton still residing in Scotland.

Summary Information on Allan Pinkerton.

  • Emigrated to U.S.A. in 1842 and established a barrel-making shop near Chicago.This was also a “station” for slaves escaping to the North.
  • Chance discovery of coin counterfeiters led to Pinkerton being appointed as deputy sheriff of Kane County and, later, as Chicago’s first full-time detective.
  • Pinkerton subsequently established his own organisation, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which provided a wide array of private detective services and specialized in the capture of train robbers and counterfeiters.
  • By the 1870s Pinkerton’s organisation had established a considerable criminal database.
  • In 1861 Pinkerton uncovered a plot to assassinate President Lincoln.He forewarned the President who was able to take evasive action.
  • Pinkerton was charged by Lincoln with establishing a “secret service” to glean military intelligence about the Confederates during the Civil War.
  • After the Civil War, in 1865, Pinkerton resumed management of his detective agency which, by the late 1800s, had extended to anti-union strike breaking and occasional violence.

Pinkerton memorial at Cleland Street Underpass, Gorbals, Glasgow..