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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Kate Warne

Everyone's heard of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency that started in the 1850's and still exists today. But few may realize that one of its earliest operatives was a young woman named Kate Warne. She talked her way into a job in 1856 and, within a couple of years, had distinguished herself as one of their most trustworthy and clever detectives.

Warne helped to recover $39,000 embezzled from the Adams Express Company. She became a one-woman spy bureau during the Civil War. And she finagled a bank robber's wife into admitting where he had hidden $130,000 in stolen money. But her most famous case involved being instrumental in foiling a carefully planned assassination attempt on the life of Abraham Lincoln when he was on his way to be inaugurated President of the United States.

Warne's adept investigation while she was pretending to be a rich Southern belle flirting her way through Baltimore uncovered the plot in the first place and once her information was corroborated, Allan Pinkerton himself joined Warne with several others to make sure the President would make it safely to Washington. It has been said that the way Warne stayed up all night while Lincoln slept on the train is what gave Pinkerton the idea for his agency's motto: "We never sleep."

Unfortunately, Kate Warne died of pneumonia at only thirty-five years of age, but not before establishing the fact that women make great detectives. They're smart, courageous, sometimes sneaky and ultimately, very in-your-face.

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