David Pinkerton’s leadership of the New Zealand labour movement saw it ascend into a global leader in social legislation. A highly skilled and astute politician, David was an inspiring force.
His conciliatory nature and unwavering commitment enabled him to bring together hardy members of the ‘labour party’ in a concerted campaign for political power. Additionally, he achieved numerous major legislative victories.
Early Life and Education
David Pinkerton was born in Scotland in 1836 and began his career as a bootmaker before the industry was greatly revolutionized by sewing machines and factories. On December 1st of that same year he wed Margaret Fairley at Kirknewton.
He and his family relocated to Greenock Township, Illinois where they acquired three farm lots near Pinkerton. On Lot 1 (Con. 13), overlooking the dam, he constructed a small timber frame house; adjacently on Lot 2, a stone house was constructed.
He and his wife had twelve children. The eldest, George, wed Mary Ann Hitchcock in 1852.
At various points in his career, Pinkerton served as a police detective, aiding in the capture of robbers and foiling an assassination plot against President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Additionally, he led The Pinkerton National Detective Agency – one of the most renowned criminal detective agencies of its day.
He owns and operates a wholesale art supply business that supplies school district arts programs. For decades, this store has been an iconic part of Lancaster’s vibrant arts community.
But as the art supplies industry evolved, so too did The Art Store’s niche. Factors such as computerized graphic design and the internet have resulted in diminished demand for commercial art supplies.
Achievements and Honors
David Pinkerton made a name for himself as an accomplished bootmaker and labour leader. He served as president of the bootmakers union and helped revitalize Otago Trades and Labour Council.
He served on the Legislative Council of Dunedin and chaired its labour bills committee. As one of few people to recognize the potential of labour activism to gain political clout in New Zealand, his vision proved prophetic.
He achieved success in the 1890 general election, when he was chosen as one of the first labour candidates. The Trades and Labour Council provided generous financial backing. Together with William Earnshaw, they campaigned tirelessly and on election day he secured victory for City of Dunedin.
David Pinkerton was an acclaimed entrepreneur, leader in the American civil war and committed abolitionist. He established the first spy agency in America – a secret service which protected President-elect Abraham Lincoln and Union General George McClellan during the Civil War.
As a staunch liberal, Pinkerton believed that women’s suffrage would remove the ‘domineering principle’ from marriage and land policy could help create an equitable society. In his later years he turned away from inherited liberalism to embrace trade unions’ role in creating such an equitable society.
David Pinkerton moved his family to Greenock Township in 1854. He acquired three farm lots along the Teeswater River and built a timber frame house on one of them; he sold the other two lots to his brothers but did not reside permanently there.
David Pinkerton is a high-tech entrepreneur and partner in Active Power, which manufactures power quality systems. This market is expanding rapidly, necessitating companies such as internet service providers, data centers, high-tech manufacturers and long distance carriers to have highly dependable power sources.
However, the company’s stock has taken a beating recently. For instance, it fell from a high of $23 per share to as low as $13 a share. Fortunately for Pinkerton and his company, there is ample cash and investments which should help him weather these storms.