Operative Hattie Lewis

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The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

 

An article in the May 14, 1893, edition of the New York Times categorized women as the “weaker, gentler sex whose special duty was the creation of an orderly and harmonious sphere for husbands and children. Respectable women, true women, do not participate in debates on the public issues or attract attention to themselves.” Kate Warne and the female operatives that served with her defied convention, and progressive men like Allan Pinkerton gave them an opportunity to prove themselves to be capable of more than caring for a home and family.

Kate’s daring and Pinkerton’s ingenuity paved the way for women to be accepted in the field of law enforcement. Prior to Kate being hired as an agent, there had been few that had been given a chance to serve as female officers in any capacity.

In the early 1840s, six females were given charge of women inmates at a prison in New York. Their appointments led to a handful of other ladies being allowed to patrol dance halls, skating rinks, pool halls, movie theaters, and other places of amusement frequented by women and children. Although the patrol women performed their duties admirably, local government officials and police departments were reluctant to issue them uniforms or allow them to carry weapons. The general consensus among men was that women lacked the physical stamina to maintain such a job for an extended period of time. An article in an 1859 edition of The Citizen newspaper announced that “Women are the fairer sex, unable to reason rationally or withstand trauma. They depend upon the protection of men.”

The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union played a key role in helping to change the stereotypical view of women at the time. The organization recognized the treatment female convicts suffered in prison and campaigned for women to be made in charge of female inmates. The WCTU’s efforts were successful. Prison matrons provided assistance and direction to female prisoners, thereby shielding them from possible abuse at the hands of male officers and inmates. Those matrons were the earliest predecessors of women law enforcement officers.

Aside from women hired specifically as police matrons, widows of slain police officers were sometimes given honorary positions within the department. Titles given to widows meant little at the time; they were, however, the first whispers of what would eventually lead to official positions for sworn police women.

Even with their limited duties, police matrons in the mid to late 1800s suffered a barrage of negative publicity. Most of the commentary scoffed at the women’s infiltration into the field. The press approached stories about police matrons and other women trying to force their way into the trade as “confused or cute” rather than a useful addition to the law enforcement community.

Allan Pinkerton’s decision to hire a female operative was all the more courageous given the public’s perception of women as law enforcement agents. Kate Warne had the foresight to know that she could be especially helpful in cases where male operatives needed to collect evidence from female suspects. She quickly proved to be a valuable asset, and Pinkerton hoped Hattie Lewis also known as Hattie Lawton would be as effective.* Hattie was hired in 1860 and was not only the second woman employed at the world famous detective agency, but some historians speculate was the first, mixed race woman as well.

 

The Pinks

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To learn more about Kate Warne, the cases she worked, and the other

women Pinkerton agents read

The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

 

 

 

Operative Mrs. R. C. Potter

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The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

 

In the spring of 1858, a friendly, two-horse match race attracted the attention of many residents in the town of Atkinson, Mississippi. Mrs. Franklin Robbins and Mrs. R. C. Potter, both guests at one of the community’s finest hotels, had decided to see which one of their mounts was the fastest. They had begun their afternoon ride in the company of several others enjoying the balmy air, blooming flowers, and waving foliage of the sunny, southern landscape. Exploring a path that led to a bubbling stream, Mrs. Robbins and Mrs. Potter had lagged far behind the party and decided to narrow the gap when talk about who could make that happen first arose.

For a few moments, both the horses the women were riding ran at an uneven but steady pace; then suddenly Mrs. Robbins’ horse bolted ahead. Her ride didn’t stop until they reached the business district of town. Mrs. Robbins slowed the flyer to a trot before she glanced back to check on her competitor. Mrs. Potter was nowhere to be seen. Mrs. Robbins backtracked a bit; her eyes scanned the road she’d traveled. Her horse reared and threatened to continue the run, but she restrained the animal and pulled tightly on the reins. “Mrs. Potter!” she called out frantically, “Mrs. Potter?” Mrs. Robbins’ urgent cries drew the attention of the people with whom the pair had started the ride. They had congregated in front of the hotel when they heard Mrs. Robbins call for help. Not only did the fellow riders hurry to the scene, but men and women at various stores or saloons rushed to Mrs. Robbins’ aide.

Through broken tears she explained what had transpired and asked volunteers to accompany her in her search for Mrs. Potter. Many quickly agreed and wasted no time in following Mrs. Robbins. She spurred her horse back along the roadway they had just traveled.

The riders spread out in hopes of finding a trail leading to where Mrs. Potter’s mount might have carried her. One rider spotted a woman’s scarf caught in a low hanging branch of an oak tree and made his find public. Tracks near the tree led searchers to believe Mrs. Potter’s horse might have been spooked and out of control. After several tense moments trekking back and forth over field and stream, Mrs. Potter was located. She had been thrown from her ride and was lying motionless in a meadow adjacent to the home of the county clerk, Alexander Drysdale.
Mrs. Robbins rode to Alexander’s house and informed him of what had happened. In less than five minutes, he had improvised a stretcher out of a wicker settee and a mattress and had summoned four of his hired hands to help retrieve the injured Mrs. Potter. She was groaning in pain. She told those attending to her that her head hurt. In a few moments, the hired hands had lifted her off the ground and gently placed her in the settee. While being carried to Drysdale’s home, Mrs. Potter complained that her ribs were sore and her back was aching. Mr. Drysdale sent Mrs. Robbins and the other riders on their way and requested that Mrs. Robbins return with a physician. He promised that he and his wife would keep Mrs. Potter comfortable while waiting for the doctor to arrive.

 

The Pinks

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women Pinkerton agents read

The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

 

 

 

Operative Kate Warne

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The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency

The person holding onto the tent pole has been mistaken as Kate Warne. No photo exists of Kate.

The depot of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad in Philadelphia was strangely bustling with an assortment of customers on the evening of February 22, 1861. Businessmen dressed in tailcoats, high-waisted trousers, and elaborate cravats milled about with laborers adorned in faded work pants, straw hats, and long dusters. Ladies wearing long, flouncy, bell-shaped dresses with small hats topped with ribbon streamers of blue, gold, and red mingled with women in plain brown skirts, white, leg-o- mutton sleeve blouses and shawls. Some of the women traveled in pairs conversing in low voices as they walked from one side of the track to the other. Most everyone carried carpet bags or leather valises with them.

The depot was the hub of activity; parent and child, railroad employees, and young men in military uniforms made their way with tickets in hand and destinations in mind. Among the travelers were those who were content to remain in one place either on a bench reading a paper or filling the wait time knitting. Some frequently checked their watches, and others drummed their fingers on the wooden armrests of their seats. There was an air of general anticipation. It was chilly and damp, and restless ticket holders studied the sky for rain. In the far distance, thunder could be heard rumbling.

At 10:50 in the evening, an engine and a few passenger cars pulled to a stop at the depot, and a conductor disembarked. The man was pristinely attired and neatly groomed. He removed a stopwatch from his pocket and cast a glance up and down the tracks before reading the time. The conductor made eye contact with a businessman standing near the ticket booth who nodded ever so slightly. The businessman adjusted the hat on his head and walked to the far end of the depot where a freight loader was pushing a cart full of luggage toward the train. The freight man eyed the businessman as he passed by, and the businessman turned and headed in the opposite direction. Something was about to happen, and the three individuals communicating in a minimal way were involved.

Three, well-built men in gray and black suits alighted from one of the cars as the freight man approached. One of the men exchanged pleasantries with the baggage handler as he lifted the suitcases onto the train, and the two other men took in the scene before them. Somewhere out of the shadows of their poorly lit platform, a somberly dressed, slender woman emerged. At first glance she appeared to be alone. She stood quietly waiting for the freight man to load the last piece of luggage. When he had completed the job and was returning to the ticket office, she walked briskly toward the train.

The woman’s hand and wrist were hooked in the arm of a tall man, dark and lanky, wrapped in a heavy, traveling shawl. He wore a broad-brimmed, felt hat low on his head and was careful to look down as he hurried along. When he and his escort reached the car, the woman presented her tickets to the conductor who arrived at the scene at the same time. “My invalid brother and I are attending a family party,” she volunteered. After examining the tickets for a moment, the conductor stepped aside to allow the pair to board. Protectively and tenderly, the woman took her brother’s arm and helped him to the stairs leading up the train. With an hint of reluctance, the lean, angular man climbed aboard.

The Pinks

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women Pinkerton agents read

The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

 

 

 

Introducing The Pinks

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The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

 

The Pinks is the true story of Kate Warne and the other women who served as Pinkertons, fulfilling the adage, “Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History.”

Most students of the Old West and American law enforcement history know the story of the notorious and ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency and the legends behind their role in establishing the Secret Service and tangling with Old West Outlaws. But the true story of Kate Warne, an operative of the Pinkerton Agency and the first woman detective in America—and the stories of the other women who served their country as part of the storied crew of crime fighters—are not well known. For the first time, the stories of these intrepid women are collected here and richly illustrated throughout with numerous historical photographs. From Kate Warne’s probable affair with Allan Pinkerton, and her part in saving the life of Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to the lives and careers of the other women who broke out of the Cult of True Womanhood in pursuit of justice, these true stories add another dimension to our understanding of American history.

The Pinks

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To learn more about Kate Warne and the other

women Pinkerton agents read

The Pinks:

The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

 

 

 

The Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom.

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The Western Writers of America Cookbook:

Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom.

 

 

The Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom is filled with more than 150 recipes, anecdotes, and stories from some of America’s most popular writers and personalities, this collaborative effort has a writers sensibility and a Western point of view. Including recipes for drinks, appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and fun extras—as well as stories from and profiles of the contributors, this is both a Western book and a cookbook that moves beyond the genre.

The Western Writers of America Cookbook was edited by Nancy Plain and Sherry Monahan. Nancy Plain is an award-winning writer of biographies and histories for readers of all ages. Sherry Monahan has her own column (Frontier Fare) in and is a contributing editor for True West magazine.

Enter to win a copy of the

Western Writers of America Cookbook:

Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom

when you visit www.chrisenss.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Posse Makes Way to Missouri, History Riding With Them

 

Grass Valley, CA. – Take a literary ride with the Most Intrepid Western Author’s Posse as they travel through the great “Show Me State” of Missouri. The Most Intrepid Western Author’s Posse is comprised of five published, award-winning western authors; Monty McCord author of Mundy’s Law: The Legend of Joe Mundy and Hastings: The Queen of the Plains; Sherry Monahan author of Mrs. Earp: The Wives and Lovers of the Earp Brothers, The Cowboy Cookbook, and the Western Writers of America Cookbook; Bill Markley, author of Deadwood Dead Men and Dakota Epic: Experiences of a Reenactor During the Filming of Dances with Wolves, Kellen Cutsforth, author of Buffalo Bill, Boozers, Brothels, and Bare-Knuckle Brawlers: An Englishman’s Journal of Adventure in America and Chris Enss, author of Ma Barker: America’s Most Wanted Mother, Frontier Teachers: Stories of Heroic Women of the Old West, Hearts West: Mail Order Brides of the Old West, and Object Matrimony: The Risky Business of Mail-Order Matchmaking on the Western Frontier will tell exciting tales of the Old West.

Stories told by the posse promise to transport readers back to the days of the wild frontier when times were rowdy and justice was swift.

The Most Intrepid Western Author’s Posse’s first stop will be in Saint Joseph at the historic Robidoux Row Museum on Saturday, June 17 from 4 P.M. to 6 P.M.  On Sunday, June 18 the Posse will be at Barnes and Noble at 19120 East 39th St. in Independence from Noon to 1 P.M.  The Posse will be discussing their books and the taming of the Wild West.

For more information email gvcenss@aol.com.

Cookbooks and Jingles

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Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom.

 

This past week I announced the specifics of the launch of the WWA cookbook. The event will be held on June 22 at the Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza at 6 P.M. The editors and contributors of the book will be on hand to celebrate the release of The Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom.

If I were clever I’d like to come up with some catchy jingle to promote the book. I remember most jingles. I wish the people who wrote those catchy commercial jingles in the ‘70s had taught at my high school – I think I would’ve retained a lot more useful knowledge. I don’t remember anything about geometry, but I do remember that when it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it, on your table, table, table. If I find myself alone in my car one more time singing “Plop-plop, fizz-fizz, oh what a relief it is,” I’m going to hunt down the mind-control individual who wrote that inspired Pavlovian haiku and demand he give me back that part of my brain.

Since I do not possess the skill to create such jingles I’ll simply remind readers that the launch of The Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom will be held on June 22 at 6 P.M. at the Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza.

The Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom is filled with more than 150 recipes, anecdotes, and stories from some of America’s most popular writers and personalities, this collaborative effort has a writers sensibility and a Western point of view. Including recipes for drinks, appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and fun extras—as well as stories from and profiles of the contributors, this is both a Western book and a cookbook that moves beyond the genre.

The Western Writers of America Cookbook was edited by Nancy Plain and Sherry Monahan. Nancy Plain is an award-winning writer of biographies and histories for readers of all ages. Sherry Monahan has her own column (Frontier Fare) in and is a contributing editor for True West magazine.

Enter to win a copy of the Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom when you visit www.chrisenss.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a Book Launch and You’re Invited

The Western Writers of America Cookbook:

Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom

Venue: Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza

Join the Editors & Contributors as they celebrate

the release of the book.

 

Date: June 22, 2017

Time: 6 P.M. – 7 P.M.

Books will be available for purchase at the event.

Visit www.westernwriters.org for more information.

Enter now to win a copy of

The Western Writers of America Cookbook:

Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom

Liz Markley’s Chocolate Cake from Scratch Recipe

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The Western Writers of America Cookbook:

Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom.

 

 

I made Jim Jones’s Texas Chili and it did not disappoint. It was delicious. I needed something sweet to eat afterwards so I turned my attention to Liz Markley’s Chocolate Cake from Scratch. While the cake was baking I took some time to finalize travel arrangements for the WWA convention next month. I’m excited to attend the event and see all the good people involved with the organization, but not excited about flying.

Flying has turned into an amazingly arduous process, especially boarding the plane, which has now become this tedious Bataan death march with American Tourister overnight bags. I always get stuck behind the guy that takes forever to get situated. He clogs the aisle like a human piece of cholesterol jammed in the passengerial artery. If I am not behind the human piece of cholesterol I’m behind the wizard who wants to beat the system by gaffer-taping a twine handle onto a refrigerator-freezer box and calling it a “carry on.” It takes him forever to shove the box in the overhead bin.

And now all the flight attendants are touchy and cranky. You never know what’s going to set them off and whether or not you’ll be bounced from the flight. I know it’s a tough job. There’s got to be a thousand different ways to tie that neckerchief but why take it out on the rest of us?

You know who I feel sorry for in the whole air-travel scenario? It’s the poor guy who has to drive the jetway. You know that little accordion tentacle that weaves its way out to meet the plane? Everybody else is Waldo Pepperin’ around in their Bobby Lansing leather bombing jackets, the right stuff coursing through their veins as they push the outside of the envelope. Your job is to drive the building.

After enjoy several pieces of Liz Markley’s chocolate cake I’m convinced the way to bring peace between the passengers and crew is to serve everyone Liz’s cake. It’s exceptional. Things would work out even better if Liz served the cake herself. She is one of the nicest people in the world and she would never use a refrigerator-freezer box as luggage.

The Western Writers of America Cookbook: Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom is filled with more than 150 recipes, anecdotes, and stories from some of America’s most popular writers and personalities, this collaborative effort has a writers sensibility and a Western point of view. Including recipes for drinks, appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and fun extras—as well as stories from and profiles of the contributors, this is both a Western book and a cookbook that moves beyond the genre.

The Western Writers of America Cookbook was edited by Nancy Plain and Sherry Monahan. Nancy Plain is an award-winning writer of biographies and histories for readers of all ages. Sherry Monahan has her own column (Frontier Fare) in and is a contributing editor for True West magazine.

 

Enter to win a copy of

The Western Writers of America Cookbook:

Favorite Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Writing Wisdom when you visit www.chrisenss.com.