So today I said I'd tell you about my Pinkerton agents, the fictional ones who inhabit the pages of my novel, PARADISE (scheduled for release next year!!!). I can't tell you much without giving things away but their names are Jim Woolbridge and Larry Sweet and they are quite opposite in character and temperament. Jim is the slow methodical type, a pipe smoker and a rule follower. Larry, on the other hand, is a sharp dresser, a people person, and it is he who generally questions suspects. My main character Jack doesn't like either of them when he first meets them.
And now for the last tale I'm going to tell you about the Pinkertons...
By the late 1870s the Pinkerton Agency was primarily managed by Robert and William Pinkerton due to their father's failing health. Among the stranger cases (I had never heard of this before reading it!) was one in which the Pinkertons assisted the Secret Service "in finding and arresting the ghouls who had attempted to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln from it's marble sarcophagus in the Springfield memorial."
Jim Kinealy, a counterfeiter and leader of a small gang, came up with the plan to steal the body and demand a ransom for its return. Unfortunately one of his gang squealed to a woman who tattled to the police. Kinealy escaped but two other counterfeiters (Terence Mullin and John Hughes) thought they'd make a go of the caper and took in Lewis C. Swegles, a horse thief and 'roper' (aka stool pigeon). He informed a Chicago Secret Service operator who called in the Pinkertons for assistance.
Nevertheless, in spite of the preparations made to capture the criminals, Swegle failed to "warn the detectives in time and an accidentally discharged pistol allowed the criminals to escape." They were apprehended a short while later but because there was nothing in Illinois statutes that covered grave robbing the only charge that could be made against the pair was "conspiracy to steal the coffin, which was valued at $75." Both men were sentenced to a year in prison.
And that ends our history lesson, which I hope you all found interesting. At the very least, I'll bet you didn't know that anyone tried to steal Lincoln's body or that ghouls were grave robbers. As for Allan Pinkerton, founder of the agency, he died on July 1, 1884, with his family at his side. The Agency he founded lives on.
The quoted material came from two books: The Eye That Never Sleeps, A history of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency by Frank Morn and The Pinkertons: The Detective Dynasty That Made History by James D. Horan.