Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Another Pinkerton Story For Western Wednesday...!

I know we've talked about the Pinkertons before, but I don't think we covered this episode.

A group like the Pinkertons was only as good as their reputation and had to act accordingly. This story from shows what I mean.

The Pinkertons warred with Jesse James and his gang.

Jesse and Frank James, c. 1872.

During the era of frontier expansion, express companies and railroads often employed the Pinkertons as Wild West bounty hunters. The agency famously infiltrated the Reno gang—perpetrators of the nation’s first train robbery—and later chased after Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch. The Pinkertons usually got their man, but in the 1870s, they spent months engaged in a fruitless hunt for the bank robbers Jesse and Frank James. One of their agents was murdered while trying to infiltrate the brothers’ Missouri-based gang, and two more died in a shootout.

The hunt came to a bloody end in 1875, when the Pinkertons launched a raid on the James brothers’ mother’s house in Clay County, Missouri. Frank and Jesse were nowhere to be found—they’d been tipped off—but the Pinkertons got into an argument with their mother, Zerelda Samuel. During the standoff, a member of the detectives’ posse tossed an incendiary device through Samuel’s window, blowing part of her arm off and killing the James brothers’ 8-year-old half brother. The botched raid turned public opinion against the Pinkertons. After seeing his detectives denounced as murderers in the papers, Allan Pinkerton reluctantly called off his war against the James gang. Jesse would go on to elude the authorities for another seven years before being killed by an assassin’s bullet in 1882.

I don't imagine that the Pinkerton agency gave up on too many cases, so this one had to hurt their ego a bit.

Coffee out on the patio this morning!


linda m said...

I think this particular incident severely damaged their reputation and labeled them as "baby" killers. That is a shame as the Pinkertons were a good group of hard working men risking their lives in the Old West. Cold and raining here today. The weather people have mentioned the "white stuff" might be seen today.

JO said...

Good post, sometimes law enforment folks get carried away with their duties. what a shame that this happened to the family.

Weather here will change again to rain by tomorrow. But it has been nice for about a week.

Chickenmom said...

It's a shame how one careless incident can ruin a good company's reputation. Raining here, too. We need it.

Sixbears said...

Not a big fan of the Pinkertons. They were thugs used to violently break up unions.

Dizzy-Dick said...

The actions of one man in an organization can ruin the reputation of that organization. One rotten fruit in the basket will spoil the rest.