John F. Pinkerton, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John F. Pinkerton

JOHN F. PINKERTON. One of the prominent and successful native-born citizens of Porter county, who has here found ample scope for effective enterprise in connection with the great fundamental industry of agriculture and who has long been one of its progressive representatives in this county, is he whose name initiates this article. Mr. Pinkerton is the owner of one of the fine landed estates of this section of the state. This property is located in Morgan township - a farmstead that gives every evidence of thrift, modern methods of operation and gratifying prosperity. Mr. Pinkerton has retained the inviolable confidence and esteem of the community which has been his home from the time of his birth, and this fact is the best voucher for his sterling character as a member of the world's noble army of productive workers. Being prominent among the typical agriculturists and stock-growers of his native county, not only does he merit specific recognition in this history, but detailed facts regarding his father, Robert Pinkerton, will be of interest.

Robert Pinkerton was born in Ireland and was a scion of one of the vigorous old families of the fair emerald Isle, his lineage being traced hack to staunch Scottish origin. He was born on the first of March, 1830, and was reared and educated in his native land, where he remained until he had reached the age of nineteen years. Spurred by laudable ambition and desirous of winning success through profitable labor, he severed home ties and came to America, making the voyage on a sailing vessel which required six weeks to make the passage across the broad Atlantic. He disembarked in the port of New York, where without financial resources of more than a nominal order, he applied himself vigorously and earnestly to such employment as he could secure, and in this connection passed some time in the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He finally made his way westward and located in Ohio, where he was married and where he continued to maintain his home for several years. In about the year 1855 he came to Indiana, establishing his home on a farm in Clinton township, LaPorte county. A few years later he came to Porter county, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Morgan township. The land was but partially reclaimed and to its improvement and cultivation he continued to give his time and attention for a period of about five years, after which he passed two years in Marshall county, where he was identified with lumber operations. He then returned to his farm in Morgan township and with the passing of years a substantial degree of prosperity attended his well-directed labors, with the result that he eventually accumulated a landed estate of five hundred and twenty-four acres in Morgan township, Porter county, and Cass township in LaPorte county. Robert Pinkerton is remembered as a man of superior mentality, excellent judgment and great energy, so that he made his success a logical result of his endeavors and plans. At the same time he so ordered his course among his fellow-men that he at all times merited and received their esteem. As one of the honorable citizens and successful agriculturists of this section of the fine old Hoosier state his name merits enduring place on the roll of those who have contributed worthily to the industrial and civic progress of Porter county. He took a lively interest in all that concerned the general welfare of the community and was an ardent supporter of the Republican party. In religious faith he was originally a Presbyterian, but he and his wife early became zealous members of the Christian church at Wanatah, LaPorte county. Mr. Pinkerton was one of the valued officials of this church, which for many years he served in the capacity of deacon. He continued to reside on the homestead farm until his death, which occurred on the second of July, 1906. His first wife, nee Ellen Harris, was like himself, a native of Ireland. Of their seven children six are now living. William A., the eldest, is a resident of LaPorte county, where he owns and operates a fine farm; Robert J., is successfully engaged in agricultural pursuits in Morgan township, Porter county; Ella is the wife of Frederic Fisher, a prosperous farmer of LaPorte county; David resides at Whiting, Indiana, where he is a valued member of the police force; Margaret is the wife of William A. Carpenter, a skilled mechanic who is employed in the city of Chicago; George W., the youngest of the family. The special subject of this biography was also of this group, in which he was fourth in order at birth. In 1869 occurred the death of Ellen Pinkerton, mother of the aforementioned series of sons and daughters. Robert Pinkerton was after a time married again, his second wife and the efficient second mother of his children being Mary M. (Holmes) Pinkerton, to whom he was married on the 12th of July, 1870. Three children were born to this pair, including the following: Julia M., who is single and who resides on the old homestead; Nancy J., who is Mrs. Clark Peoples, of Valparaiso, Indiana, where her husband is in the employ of the Grand Trunk Railway; and Nelson E., one of the prosperous young agriculturists of the locality, who resides at the old home with his sister, Miss Julia. The second Mrs. Pinkerton was, like the first, a devoted member of the Christian church, of which she was a member from early girlhood. She died three years later than her husband.

Such was the parenthood and such the home of John F. Pinkerton, the estimable citizen to whom this review is dedicated. His birth occurred on the twelfth day of March, 1860, on the parental farm in Morgan township. With the exception of two years passed by the family in Marshall county, John Pinkerton has resided continually in Porter county from the date of his nativity, and has well upheld the character of the name he bears. Aside from a period of effective service as a teacher in the district schools, his active career has been one of close and successful identification with agriculture and stock-growing, of which basic industries he has been a successful exponent. Having an alert and receptive mind, he made the best use of the advantages afforded him in the public schools, as is evident from the fact that he was desirous of securing more advanced education. For three years he was a student in the high school at Westville, LaPorte county, and thereafter completed a normal course in the institution which is now known as Valparaiso University. For eight years he was engaged in teaching in the schools of his home township, his long service indicating the quality of his work and the estimate in which he was held by boards of education in the community in which he was reared. He passed one summer in Thomas county, Kansas, in the northwestern part of the state, where he secured from the government a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres. This property, which he improved and still owns, is now one of the valuable farms of that section of the Sunflower commonwealth.

In the year 1890 Mr. Pinkerton married, he and his bride establishing their home on his father's estate, a portion of which John Pinkerton rented. He is now the owner of one hundred and two acres of the original home farm, his property comprising one of the well improved and attractive farms of Morgan township. In 1908 he erected his present residence, which is modern in appointments and widely known as the center of a refined and generous hospitality.

Not only have the energy and progressive spirit of Mr. Pinkerton been manifested in connection with his private affairs, but he is also active In supporting measures and enterprises projected for the general good of his county and state. He is an influential member of the Republican party, which he has represented in the capacity of delegate to the county conventions. His first presidential vote was cast for Benjamin Harrison and he has ever since been a stalwart advocate of the principles and policies for which the Republican party stands. Like his father, he has for some time served the Christian church as a deacon; both he and his wife are valued and earnest members of the church of that denomination in Wanatah.

On the 17th of April, 1890, Mr. Pinkerton was united in marriage to Miss Ida Fischer, the sixth of Frederick and Dora (Schroeder) Fischer's nine children. The seven living members of Mrs. Pinkerton's generation in this family are: Lena, who is Mrs. Peter Peters, of Valparaiso; Anna, the widow of Lewis Bruemer, of the same city; William, a prosperous farmer of LaPorte county; Frederick, of the same locality and vocation, being also master of the trade of carpenter; Mrs. Pinkerton, mentioned at greater length below; Herman, a carpenter by trade, and a successful contractor and builder in Valparaiso; and Minnie, the wife of Forest Hughes, a leading lawyer of Elkhart in this state. The Fischer family are of German origin, Mrs. Pinkerton's father having been born in the grand duchy of Mecklinburg-Schwerin, on May 21, 1829, reared in his native land and for the required term was a soldier in the German army - in which service he was familiar with the sight of both Count Von Moltke and the "Iron Chancellor," Bismarck. It was while on board the vessel bound for America on the nine weeks' voyage that brought him to these shores that he met the lady to whom he was married at Michigan City, shortly after landing in this country. After remaining for a time at Otis, LaPorte county, they purchased the Cass township farm, which they made their permanent home. Mr. Fischer died on December 29; 1906, but his wife still survives him, a loved and honored member of the Porter county community and of the Lutheran church, of which she and her husband were both life-long members.

Ida Fischer, Mrs. Pinkerton, was born on the Cass township, LaPorte county, farm of the Fischer family on the 28th of February, 1886. She was reared and educated in her native county and was, like her brothers and sisters, confirmed in the German Lutheran church. To her and her husband three children have been born - W. Earl, Martha E., and Robert J. The elder son received his diploma from the district schools in 1906 and was graduated from the Wanatah high school as a member of the class of 1910. He is a young man of superior character, a member of the Christian church, a favorite in social circles and a valuable assistant to his father in the work and management of the home farm. Martha E., the second child and only daughter, is in the eighth grade of the public schools and a student of instrumental music. Robert, an alert and winsome younster, is now in the second grade of the local schools. John Pinkerton's family is a deservedly promising one, from which may be expected careers worthy the father and grandfathers who have borne the Pinkerton name. The brilliant qualities of Allen Pinkerton, who made the name famous in his founding of his great detective agency, are not limited alone to that prominent individual's branch of the family, whose lineage in early generations was coincident with that of our esteemed subject.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 399-402

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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