Allan Pinkerton

Birth Name:
Allan J. Pinkerton
Birth Date:
August 25, 1819
Birth Place:
Glasgow, Scotland
Death Date:
July 1, 1884
Place of Death:
No. 554 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death:
Gangrene (disputed)
Cemetery Name:
Graceland Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Crime and their Victims
Allan Pinkerton was a Scottish cooper, abolitionist, detective, and spy, best known for creating the Pinkerton National Detective Agency during his time in the United States. When the Civil War began, Pinkerton served as head of the Union Intelligence Service during the first two years, heading off an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland while guarding Abraham Lincoln on his way to Washington, D.C. as well as identifying troop numbers in military campaigns. His agents often worked undercover as Confederate soldiers and sympathizers to gather military intelligence. Pinkerton himself served on several undercover missions as a Confederate soldier using the alias Major E.J. Allen. Following Pinkerton's service with the Union Army, he continued his pursuit of train robbers, including the Reno Gang. He was hired by the railroad express companies to track outlaw Jesse James, but after Pinkerton failed to capture him, the railroad withdrew their financial support and Pinkerton continued to track James at his own expense.

Fun Fact:

In 1861, while investigating a railway case, Pinkerton uncovered an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln. The conspirators intended to kill Lincoln in Baltimore during a stop on his way to his inauguration. Pinkerton warned Lincoln of the threat, and the president-elect’s itinerary was changed so that he passed through the city secretly at night. Lincoln later hired Pinkerton to organize a “secret service” to obtain military information in the Southern states during the Civil War. In Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi, he performed his own investigative work and traveled under the pseudonym “Major E.J. Allen.”

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Graceland Cemetery

4001 N Clark Street

Chicago, Illinois, 60613


North America


Map of Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Map courtesy of Jake Coolidge and Joe Collier.

Grave Location:

Section C, Lot 554, Space 25

Grave Location Description

After entering the cemetery, head northeast on Main Avenue for about 750 feet. Then turn left on Center Avenue, and head north for about 720 feet until you reach the intersection. Allan Pinkerton’s grave will be on your right, about 50 feet east from the intersection.

Grave Location GPS

41.95776099206102, -87.66026858708979

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