Thursday, February 23

Spies like us

Thanks to the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and some (gasp!) female detectives, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived safely in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 23, 1861 after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Baltimore Plot was an alleged conspiracy in late February 1861 to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln en route to his inauguration. Allan Pinkerton, founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, played a key role by managing Lincoln's security throughout the journey.

Kate Warne was a female Pinkerton agent credited with gathering and supplying information which helped convince Pinkerton that there was a plot to assassinate Lincoln in Baltimore.

Warne's employment as a detective was a significant moment in woman's history. Women were not allowed to be police until 1891 and could not be detectives until 1903.

When Pinkerton's son Robert conspired with other agents in 1876 not to hire female detectives, Pinkerton furiously sent Robert a telegram:

"It has been my principle to use females for the detection of crime where it has been useful and necessary. With regard to the employment of such females, I can trace it back to the time I first hired Kate Warne, up to the present time. And I intend to still use females whenever it can be done judiciously. I must do it or falsify my theory, practice and truth."

Hattie Lawton was also part of Pinkerton's Female Detective Bureau. What her exact role in the Baltimore Plot is unknown. Many of Pinkerton's early records were destryoyed in the 1871 Chicago Fire.

Once Lincoln's rail carriage had safely passed through Baltimore, Pinkerton sent a one-line telegram to the president of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad: "Plums delivered nuts safely."

Of course a certain female detective who shall remain nameless was also there.

1 comment:

  1. What a cool story, sounds like it could make a really exciting movie.