Biography of Allan Pinkerton
Axia College UOP
Allan Pinkerton is without a doubt one of the most famous figures in the Detective history. In his long and varied career he was called a traitor and a patriot, an outlaw and a police officer, a thug and an idealist, a left-leaning political activist fighting for the plight of the workers and a hired goon for bosses, a defender of liberty and a tramper of rights, an immigrant and a drunkard, a rogue, an adventurer and a barrel maker. Nevertheless, most of all, he was a detective. He founded the detective agency that still bears his name, arguably the most famous private detective agency in the world. He and his operatives foiled assassination attempts on presidents and chased outlaws and desperadoes back and forth across the American West. He was responsible for the apprehension of counterfeiters and kidnappers, train robbers and embezzlers and radicals. He was also a prolific author, one of the first private eye writers of them all. Even the phrase "private eye" can find its roots in the agency's trademark: a large, unblinking eye with the slogan "We Never Sleep." Pinkerton was born into poverty in Glasgow in 1819, the son of a police officer who could no longer work, due to injuries sustained on the job. To support his family, the young Allan worked as an apprentice barrel maker, but eventually ran afoul of local authorities over his membership in the Chartist movement, a political organization dedicated to universal suffrage and better working conditions for the poor. One step ahead of the law, a price on his head, Pinkerton and his young bride Joan fled to Canada in 1842. A shipwreck off the coast of Nova Scotia left them virtually penniless, and so Pinkerton eagerly accepted the invitation of a Scottish friend to work as a cooper for Lill's Brewery in Chicago. He slipped across the border and worked there for a few years, before relocating to the small, rural settlement of Scottish...
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