Mary Elizabeth Pinkerton


Mary Elizabeth Pinkerton McCreery, daughter of David M. Pinkerton and Mary Ann Hitchcock



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J. R. Findsen

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Yearbook: Roy David Pinkerton


Roy David Pinkerton


While browsing through the Ancestry school yearbook project, I was delighted to find a picture of Roy David Pinkerton. Roy is my first cousin three times removed. He attended the University of Washington, Tacoma campus. Here it is 107 years later, and I am attending the same institution, the University of Washington in Seattle.

Roy was a journalist and started a newspaper in Ventura California called the Ventura County Star.



University of Washington Tacoma, 1911

Roy David Pinkerton was born 28 June 1885 in Minnesota, to Henry David Pinkerton and Harriet Newton. He was the grandson of David M. Pinkerton, Jr. and Mary Ann Hitchcock, our common ancestor.
In the early 1900’s Roy attended the University of Washington in Tacoma majoring in Liberal Arts and worked on the Daily Pacific Wave, a school newspaper.




I always find enjoyment in putting a face with a family name. Yearbooks are a great way to see pictures of family members that have passed on.


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J. R. Findsen

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Mary Ann Hitchcock


Mary Ann Hitchcock Pinkerton


The lady pictured above is my 3rd great-grandmother Mary Ann Hitchcock Pinkerton.

She was the youngest out of seven children born to Alured Hitchcock and Sarah Warner Stevens 17 June 1824 in Vergennes, Vermont. Both of her parents come from a long line of New England Colonial families.

Mary Ann married David M. Pinkerton, Jr., a missionary preacher, on 27 October 1845 in Galesburg, Illinois. They spent the next twenty-five years of their married life as missionaries. Along the way, they had nine children.

Mary Ann passed away at her daughter Mary home on 8 November 1908 in Northfield, Minnesota.


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J. R. Findsen

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Londonderry Pinkertons



The following is an excerpt from:

The History of Londonderry, Comprising the Towns of Derry and Londonderry, N. H.

by Edward Lutwyche Parker

Available on Google Books


The ancestor of this family, John Pinkerton, came from the county of Antrim, in the north of Ireland, to this town, in 1724. He settled upon a farm in the West Parish of Londonderry, and died in 1780, at the age of eighty. He left five sons; David and John, who were born in Ireland, Matthew, Samuel, and James; and four daughters; Mary, Elizabeth, who married Deacon James Aiken, Rachel, and Jane, who married Deacon David Brewster.

Of David and Samuel we have no particular information.

Matthew lived and died in Londonderry. He had three sons; the late Lieutenant John Pinkerton, who held for some years offices of trust in the town, and was the father of George W. Pinkerton, Esq., of Manchester, N.H., James, Who resides in Derry, and David, who settled in Boscawen.

A brief sketch of John, the second son, and of James, the youngest, has been already given. They were benefactors to the town, and deserve to be had in remembrance. The following is a brief genealogical statement of their families:

Major John Pinkerton married, for his first wife, Rachel Duncan, by whom he had five children; namely, Polly, Naomi, Betsey, John and Esther. Polly married Alexander MacGregor, and had one child, John P., who was adopted by Major Pinkerton.

For his second wife, he married Polly Tufts, but has no children by her.

Deacon James Pinkerton married, for his first wife Elizabeth Nesmith, daughter of John Nesmith, by whom he had six children, as follows: Isabella and James, both of whom died in infancy; Betsey, who married John Aiken, son of Deacon Nathaniel Aiken, and died in 1837; Jane who married Joshua Aiken, brother of John Aiken; Mary B., who married Captain William Choate, and Clarissa, who married Robert E. Little.

Deacon Pinkerton married, for his second wife, Sarah Wallace, daughter of Samuel Wallace, and by her had four children, as follows: Rebecca W., who married Perkins A. Hodge; Francis C., who married Hon. Luther V. Bell; David H., who married Elizabeth Aiken, and John M., who is a counsellor at law, and resides in Boston, Mass.


To view the entire book click here.


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J. R. Findsen

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Vintage Sailor Boy



William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr.



Children are adorable in any era. The little boy in the picture above is my great-grandfather, William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr. He is around four years old dating the photograph to 1901 in what is believed to be Iowa.

According to the United States Federal Census of 1900, William’s family is living in Newell which is a small town in northwest Iowa. Young William’s father, William Brown Pinkerton, was working as a minister for the First Congregational United Church of Christ at the time.



First Congregational United Church of Christ       Image Source: Buena Vista County Iowa Genweb


His mother was Agnes Ellen Gurney who came from an old musical family in Massachusetts. Agnes’s mother Mary Williams Orcutt was a trained singer. Her father, Ebenezer Henry Gurney was a music teacher. Her grandfather, Ebenezer Bourne Keen Gurney directed the first all brass band in the United States. Agnes’s great-grandfather, Thomas Gurney, was a composer.

William had a younger sister, Mary Louise, who was about two years old at the time. The family had a live-in servant named Ida Griffel who was twenty years old from Illinois.

By 1905 the Pinkerton family had moved to Wabasha Minnesota, 276 miles away from Newell, where they are recorded in the 1905 Minnesota State Census.

In the picture, William is wearing a sailor suit, which was very stylish in many parts of the world at the time, with high button up boots. Those boots are amazing.

It is hard to imagine that sixteen years later, William would enlist in the United States Army to fight in France during World War I.


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J. R. Findsen


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William Brown Pinkerton 1883



William Brown Pinkerton 1883


William Brown Pinkerton was the son of David M. Pinkerton, Jr. and Mary Ann Hitchcock. He was born on 16 August 1861 in Waupun Wisconsin.

In the picture above, William is about 24 years old, the year being 1883. His future wife, Agnes Ellen Gurney, wrote about William during this time in her later reminiscences:

“That fall of 1882 I entered the preparatory department of the college and the conservatory. I used to see a fine-looking young man walking past our house often and soon learned to recognize his quick, brisk step. Then I became acquainted with his sister, Lillie, and sometimes went to their home. Occasionally Will, a senior, or maybe Winnie, a high school boy, brought me home. I shall have to confess that before long my heart lost its steady rhythm when Will was near, and somehow no one ever was a competitor for my heart. But it was a secret which I never admitted to anybody for a long time, for you see I was only fifteen years old then — much too young to fall in love!
That fall of 1883 he went away to study at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He remained there three years, then transferred to the Andover Theological Seminary in Andover Massachusetts.”

According to Agnes’s account, the picture above probably was taken in Chicago Illinois.

Will and Agnes were not married for another seven years. Both were graduates of Grinnell College in Grinnell Iowa. They married on 25 June 1891 in Grinnell.

I have to agree with my 2nd great grandmother, Agnes, William was a good-looking young man.


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J. R. Findsen

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A Lazy Afternoon



William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr.


Can you imagine anything more pleasant than lounging, back up against a blanket-covered rock next to a lazy river on a warm sunny day reading a magazine? Apparently, neither could my great-grandfather, William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr. I am not sure on the dating of this picture, most likely 1930’s.

The Pinkerton family had a painful past with rivers. William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr.’s father William Brown Pinkerton lost two older brothers, James Herbert Pinkerton (19 yrs old) and Edward Payson Pinkerton (18 yrs old) who drowned in the Iowa River the same day. William, only sixteen at the time, went in after them almost drowning himself trying to save them. Luckily, friends pulled him from the river in time. The tragedy of that day had a significant impact on his life.

Later in life, while enjoying a day of leisure with his family, William Brown Pinkerton decided to take a swim. He got in trouble and his son William, just a teenager, (the man in the picture) rescued him. Rivers were not friendly to this branch of the Pinkerton family.

A little bit about the family:
William Douglass Pinkerton, Sr. was born 14 August 1896 in Rock Rapids, Iowa to William Brown Pinkerton (b. 1861) and Agnes Ellen Gurney (b. 1867). He served in the Army during World War I in France.

A few years after returning to the United States he met and married Annabelle Evans on 5 September 1925 in Santa Barbara, California. Together they had three children.

The family moved to Southern Oregon where they settled. William died 23 April 1981 in Grants Pass, Oregon.


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J. R. Findsen

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Obituary: Robert Newton Pinkerton


Obituary taken from the Thomae-Garza Funeral Home website which is no longer available.


Robert Newton Pinkerton 

(December 1, 1917 – January 16, 2010)


S. Padre Island, Texas: Robert N. Pinkerton, a radio broadcasting pioneer in South Texas and co-founder and President of a chain of Spanish language radio stations along the Mexican border and in San Antonio and Austin, Texas, died of natural causes on Saturday afternoon at his home in South Padre Island.

His death was announced by his son, Robert N. Pinkerton, Jr., of South Padre Island.

Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60’s, Mr. Pinkerton headed the “Radio Gallito” chain of stations producing numerous innovations that highlighted media access for Hispanics along the border and in central Texas. The stations were highly successful commercial ventures and key advertising venues for national advertisers in New York and Chicago as well as in Mexico City, who wanted to reach Hispanic listeners in this area. Mr. Pinkerton’s radio stations provided for community connection and celebration on both the Mexican side of the border through weekly dance fests covered remotely at Radiolandia in Matamoros and on the American side of the border at Brownsville’s Jacob Brown Auditorium. His stations also produced annual remote broadcasts covering the Charro Days parades in Brownsville and other Valley civic activities of importance. Mr. Pinkerton, a polio survivor, broadcast very successful annual drives for the March of Dimes for at least a decade. He was extremely appreciative of the interventions of the March of Dimes for both adults and children during the polio epidemic in the Rio Grande Valley in the ‘50’s. He established his wife, Juana Maria as a radio personality with the highly popular weekly broadcast of “Gira Comercial de Juana Maria” and produced an equally popular Spanish language teen program “Miss Bebop” in San Antonio in the early 50’s.

He was born Robert Newton Pinkerton in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Roy David Pinkerton, a newspaper publisher and editor and Flora Hartman, the daughter of Charles Hartman, a Montana Supreme Court Judge and Ambassador to Ecuador. As a young man, Mr. Pinkerton got his start in radio through his involvement in remote radio broadcasts of the famous Swing era bands. He also traveled extensively throughout Latin America.

He married his wife in Laredo, Texas in 1942. They settled in Brownsville, Texas. With Jose Maria Gonzalez, his father-in-law, and E.B. Pool, a close friend, he established the first of the radio stations, XEO, in Matamoros, Tamps, Mexico in 1946. XEOR in Reynosa and XEMT in Matamoros were added in 1950. KUBO was added in San Antonio in 1955 and KTXN in Austin in 1956. Mr. Pinkerton retired from radio broadcasting in 1970.

Always an avid boatman, Mr. Pinkerton took up yachting during the ‘60’s in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean on the 72 ft Crescent and later on the 85 ft Te Ava Roa. He and his wife built a home on Ambergris Caye at Punto San Juan in Belize, living there for a number of years before returning to San Antonio, Texas. In 2003, they moved to South Padre Island, Texas.

Mr. Pinkerton is survived by a stepsister, Polly Martin of Ventura, California; his daughter, Sandra Pinkerton of Plano Texas and his son, Robert N. (Maria) Pinkerton, Jr. of South Padre Island, Texas; two grandchildren, Robert (Veronica) Pinkerton III and Bryan (Jennifer) Pinkerton; and seven, soon to be eight, great-grandchildren.

Private Memorial Services will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers memorial can be made in memory of Robert N. Pinkerton to S.P.I. Birding Center, 6801 Padre Blvd. S. Padre Island, TX 78597 or Sea Turtle Inc. P.O. Box 3987, S. Padre Island, TX 79597.

Words of comfort can be sent to the Pinkerton Family at

Funeral arrangements entrusted to the care of Thomae-Garza Funeral Home, 395 S. Sam Houston, San Benito, Texas 78586 (956) 399-1331



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J. R. Lowe

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Lillie Pinkerton Watson Obituary


Lillie Pinkerton Watson, Dies in West

Moved with Family to Poweshiek County In Year 1867.

On the morning of Sept 26, 1941, at her home in Burbank, Calif., the earthly life of a rarely useful woman came to a close. Lillie Martha Pinkerton was born near Waupun, Wis., on the 12th of January, 1864, the fourth daughter of Rev. David Pinkerton and his wife, Mary Hitchcock Pinkerton.
Forced by ill health to forego ministerial work, Mr. Pinkerton moved his family to Iowa in 1867 and bought land nine miles from Grinnell – a congenial soil for these transplanted new Englanders. A very few may remember the eight children who, with their parents, helped convert the raw prairie into a fertile farm.

Grew Up in Chester.
Here Lillie grew from a romping three-year-old child into a bright, rosy-cheeked school girl. The district was fortunate in the character of some of the young women who taught the early school and were instrumental in molding into fine men and women, the children in their care. The first teacher was Mary Pinkerton, the oldest of the Pinkerton clan. Others were Fannie and Addie Ricker, who became respectively Mrs. David Morrison and Mrs. Andrew McIntosh.
Mary Pinkerton went to Africa as a missionary of the American Board in 1874. She served there seven years and founded the Umzumbe Home for Native Girls. When her health failed, she returned to the homeland, but her vital interest in the work of the Kingdom never failed and she was much in demand as a speaker, and her counsel often sought. Eventually, she married Rev. C. H. McCreery and mothered his six sons. She died in 1929.

Brothers Drowned.
Among neighbors near the Pinkerton farm were the Fishers, Healds, Shermans, Rutherfords and others. The bonds of friendship then forged were never broken. To Chester Center about this time, came Rev. G.H. White was the beloved pastor of the little country church.
Deep tragedy came to the Pinkerton family in 1876 when two sons just entering manhood were drowned in the Iowa River. They were buried in the Chester Cemetery and years later their mother’s body was laid beside them. Two years after this sad event, Mr. Pinkerton bought a house on Elm Street. Many years later this became the home of Professor Conard.
Emma Pinkerton Studied in the Academy, but did not graduate. She acquired a fine reputation as a teacher in Minnesota and other places. While thus engaged, she met and married Daniel Booker. Her home for may years was at Sylvan on Fox Island in Puget Sound.

G. H. S. Graduate.
This beautiful spot was settled by a number of congenial families from Grinnell – the Herricks, Bixbys, Millers and others. In later years, the Booker family moved to southern California; here Mrs. Booker died in 1932, shortly followed by her husband.
Lillie Pinkerton graduated from Grinnell High School and entered Grinnell college in ’82, her brother Will’s senior year. Incidentally Will was in the third story of East College when it was razed by the cyclone. He went down with the building and dug himself out from several feet of bricks, unharmed.
Lillie’s college course was interrupted by some terms of teaching, but she graduated in the class of 1887. Vivacious and friendly, sensible and a good student, she was popular and active in school.

Married in 1888
After a year of teaching in a colored school in her home town of Chetopa, Kansas, she was married in her mother’s house to her classmate, Irving S. Watson, on October 4, 1888. Mrs. Watson’s first home was in Ottumwa, where her husband was Y. M. C. A. secretary.
Soon after, they moved to Oakland, Calif., and after a few years to southern California. For many years Mr. Watson was police judge of the city of Burbank, and won fame as the originator of a system by which a prisoner is allowed to work by day to support his family and confined to jail at night. He died in 1938.

Belonged to P. E. O.
Since then Mrs. Watson has lived quietly, forced by failing health to drop outside activities. Her deep and vital interest in spiritual values never lessened nor her interest in people. One of her lasting contacts was with former Negro and Indian pupils.
She spent two years as matron of the older girls in the Santee Training School, – now discontinued – with marked success and followed “her girls” with motherly love as they went out into the world, rejoicing when they made good and mourning when they failed or died. She had been a member of the P. E. O. for 52 years and next to her family and church, this lay nearest to her heart.
Her pastor, Rev. Alden Read, conducted the last comforting service, and she was laid to rest in the cemetery at Long Beach beside her husband and her sister, Mary. One adopted daughter, Mrs. Margaret Watson Byram of San Fernando, Calif., survives her.
Of nine children born to David and Mary Pinkerton, only the two youngest sons remain: Rev. W. B. Pinkerton, who at the age of 80 is Chaplain of the Santa Barbara General hospital, and Winthrop H. Pinkerton of Pasadena. This was a typical sturdy American family, used to hard work; not amassing great wealth, but rich in character and enduring qualities.
Of Lillie Pinkerton Watson, it can truly be said “Blessed are they who die in the lord, and their works do follow them.” She had left a host of friends who sill feel the world a lonelier place because she has left it. – A. G. P.


This lovely obituary was written by Agnes Ellen Gurney Pinkerton my second great grandmother and wife to Rev. William Brown Pinkerton brother to Lillie Martha Pinkerton Watson. This is what an obituary should be for everyone.


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J. R. Lowe