Kate visited Baltimore in her gentle, Southern woman disguise and discovered some conspirators and assassins who planned to murder Abraham while he was switching trains in Baltimore. Along with the Pinkerton team, they knew they had to get Abraham on his connecting train and disguise him discreetly so no one knew who he was.
So, how did they do it?
Kate and the Pinkerton team switched Abraham’s train schedule so he’d be traveling from Philadelphia to Baltimore and would arrive in Baltimore to switch to a Washington-bound train in the wee hours of the morning.
In February 1861, Abraham boarded the train in disguise while Kate told train staff she needed a sleeper compartment for her “sick brother” and pretended to be his caretaker. She bribed the train staff to keep the surrounding seats vacant and stayed awake the entire night to look out for the future president.
Once they got to Baltimore around 3:00 a.m., the sleeper train car Abraham was traveling in got switched to another train, and he made it to Washington, D.C., safely that morning.
If Kate hadn’t learned what she did in Baltimore or conducted all that hard work, who knows if President Lincoln would’ve made it to his inauguration?
After her tremendous work with Abraham Lincoln, Allan made Kate his Female Superintendent of Detectives. She continued to work on high-profile cases, investigating murders and robberies.
Unfortunately, Kate fell ill in her mid-30s and passed away due to pneumonia in 1868. It’s been reported that Allan was at her side when she died and was buried in the Pinkerton family plot in Chicago.
Although her life and career were tragically cut short, what Kate achieved as the country’s first female detective was incredibly inspiring, and her journey with the Pinkerton agency was a major moment in women’s history.
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