Disaster Comes When Men Go To the Wrong House
January 26, 2011

pinkerton_eye

Pinkerton Logo Coined the Term "Private Eye"

On This Date in History: A few years ago, Snow White and I were walking from Papa Johns Stadium and some event,,,probably a football game. We were walking back to the car and crossed the railroad tracks. Well, we were supposed to do that but I decided it would be faster walking the tracks. I started walking down the tracks and Snow White stopped, telling me to come back that it was against the law. Out of the darkness came a figure. It was a Pinkerton Man! Pinkerton Security provides the security for the railroad and he wrote me up. Snow White was right again.

Jesse and Frank James

Jesse and Frank James

Well, on this date in 1875 the Pinkertons got it wrong. The Pinkerton Detective Agency had been on the trail of Frank and Jesse James when it was hired by the railroads to catch the train and bank robbers. It was not an easy task. See, the James gang also had members of the Younger family and both the James’ and the Youngers had lots of friends and family in Missouri. Many of their relatives and friends had been partial to the Confederacy during the Civil War and considered the big railroads to be nothing but a bunch of Yankees. They thought the same of the Pinkerton Agency.

Allen Pinkerton Provided Security For Abraham Lincoln

Allen Pinkerton (left) Provided Security For Abraham Lincoln

Now, the men of the Pinkerton Agency were not too fond of the James Gang. Seems that one of their men, John W. Witcher, was found with a bullet hole in his stomach and much of his face eaten off by hogs. They thought for sure the culprits were members of the James Gang. The Pinkerton Agency must have let their animosity for the James’ get to them because, even though they weren’t entirely positive that it was the James Gang who killed Witcher, they went after them anyway. They had heard that Jesse and Frank often returned to their family farm. So, the Pinkertons waited until the sun went down and surrounded the James home. They threw some smoke bombs or flares into the home. To there surprise, there was a huge explosion. Jesse and Frank’s young half-brother was killed and their mother had her arm blown off. When the smoke had cleared, the Pinkertons found that Jesse and Frank were never there. Guess they should have knocked first.

Jesse's Mom Missing an Arm

Jesse's Mom Missing an Arm

After their keystone cops episode, the Pinkertons backed off a bit but they kept up the pursuit. They never got Frank and Jesse. Instead, Jesse was shot in the back of the head in 1882 by one of his own men, Bob Ford, who collected the reward money. Frank turned himself in shortly thereafter but no jury would ever convict him. He remained a law-abiding citizen until his death in 1915. As for his mother…she had quite the cottage business. Tourists could come by her house and for a small fee, they could hear of how the nasty railroad men and their disgusting Pinkertons persecuted her poor, innocent boys. Bet that performance was worth the price of admission.

Is This Floodwater?

Is This Floodwater?

On This Date in History:

On This Date in 1962, Jeffery Gordon Riley came into the world. Since that time he has come to be known as Flood Water, F-Water, Floods, F-Ditch, F-Dip, effrey and just plain F. Jeff Riley is a lot of things…and one of those things is a good friend to all who are fortunate enough to be able to call him a friend. Happy Birthday F.

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An Eye on a Tragic Day
April 14, 2009

 

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Night To Remember

Night To Remember

NY Times Titanic Headline

NY Times Titanic Headline

On This Date In History:  Two of the biggest disasters in US history, or perhaps even world history, happened on this date.  On this date in 1912 the HMS Titanic struck and iceberg and sank and on this date  in 1865 President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth.   Now…if that’s not enough of an oddity for you..how about this?  One of President Lincoln’s final acts of office was to form the United States Secret Service on this date in 1865, just hours before his own assassination.  The Secret Service was officially commissioned in July of that year but it’s job was not to protect the President.  It was formed in an attempt to thwart counterfeiting operations that plagued the Union during and after the Civil War.  That is why until 2003 it was under the United States Department of Treasury.  Today it falls under the Department of Homeland Security.

Allen Pinkerton (left) America's First "Private Eye" Keeps Tabs on Abe

Allen Pinkerton (left) America's First "Private Eye" Keeps Tabs on Abe

Allen Pinkerton’s detective agency was hired by the US government to be the main unit of espionage and counterespionage for the United States during the Civil War and he is credited with helping to spoil an assassination attempt on President Lincoln at the outset of his first term.  The Pinkerton’s claim that their founder was the first to organize the nation’s first secret service, but the Secret Service itself was not established until 1865 with its sole purpose to combat counterfeiting.  The above symbol adorned his agency and is widely thought to have been the influence for the term “private eye” for private detectives.  I believe it was Pinkerton who urged then President-Elect Lincoln to come into Washington under the cover of darkness to avoid potential assassination attempts in 1861.  It was at that time that Lincoln grew the beard that we now find so familiar, which also may have been part of his disguise but then decided to keep the beard because he liked it.  It was not until the assassination of President McKinley in 1901 that the Secret Service was requested by Congress to provide protection for the President.  The Secret Service is part of the Department of Treasury.

The Pinkerton Agency was around until 2003 when it was acquired along with one of its biggest competitors and folded into an organization that became Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., which is now one of the largest security companies in the world.

Weather Bottom Line:  Things went pretty much as expected.  The only real slam dunk was that the SPC would put out a Tornado Watch for our area and that was the case.  There were several tornado warnings in Southern Indiana but as far as I know there were no reported touchdowns.  There were several hail reports and also several Severe Thunderstorm Warnings.  The low that caused it all is pokey and so look for some shower activity on Tuesday and pretty cool conditions as we will probably be in the low to mid 50’s.  We start to come out of the bucket and by Friday we’re up to near 70 and low to mid 70’s on Saturday.  The bulk of Thunder Saturday will be pretty good though late Saturday the rain chances go up.  Guess is that at this point the rain would be after the fireworks. Let’s hope that holds true.  Rain is more likely on Sunday.

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