William Allan Pinkerton
(1846-1923) made bond
for Iroquois owner-managers Davis and
Powers. Pinkerton was the son
of Allan Pinkerton who founded the famous
Pinkerton Detectives firm.
William Pinkerton and
Will J. Davis
had become good
friends a few months earlier. They are pictured together (top right) on
one of many later trips to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
The men had many
common interests. Pinkerton loved to
gamble, on race horses, even on eating
lobsters.* The only evidence I've
found that Davis was also a gambler is that
at the Iroquois Theater. He gambled
that a fire would not break out before the
theater was adequately equipped to handle
"Revive the whipping post. Give each
holdup man caught a hundred lashes and do away with the light punishment now
meted out. The housebreaker should be treated the same as a murderer, for, if
surprised when he is seeking to rob, it's ten to one he will shoot and in as
many instances murder will result."
William A. Pinkerton Dec, 1899
six-degrees-of-separation category In 1903 there was a
dispute between Chicago's horse race tracks that
impacted the horse racing community behind the
Driving club. The
attorney representing one of the factions in the
dispute was Robert
E. Cantwell who on behalf of his clients caused the
issuance of dozens of warrants a day for various
violations including child labor laws (bookies hired
young boys as runners). On December 30, 1903
Ella Kavanaugh Cantwell, and aunt,
Louise Kavanaugh O'Donnell, were among the Iroquois
Between 1900 and 1904 Pinkerton ran four
ads in Chicago newspaper classifieds, offering a reward of $20 for finding his
dog. The breeds were a collie, Boston terrier, fox terrier and cocker
spaniel. William and/or his wife also bred and showed field spaniels and
Yorkshire terriers, in March, 1890 winning a third place with Gypsy in a Chicago
1914 when Davis retired from theater management the occasion was marked by his
attendance at Queen of the Movies at the Illinois Theater. William A.
Pinkerton joined Davis in a box seat for the performance, along with
Benjamin Marshall, architect of the Illinois and Iroquois theaters.
Discrepancies and addendum
* In October,
1889 Pinkerton bet $100 that telegrapher David
Hyland could eat more lobsters than lawyer Dr.
Alfred S. Trude
put his money on Benson. I found nothing more about
the contest. At death Pinkerton left behind at
estate estimated at $1.2 million.
** The Driving
club purchased the property for $40,000 and
remodeled and enlarged the structure to include a
bowling alley, billiard rooms and a library. The
goal was to attract 1,000 members.
When incorporation was announced in February,
1903 they already had 75% of the subscriptions.
Purchase of the property was completed by July.
That winter the club donated a trophy for a
harness horse ice racing program at Washington
Park to be held on Wednesday and Saturday
On March 19, 1906 the club house was destroyed
by a fire that started in the basement, thought
to be by the furnace - for the second time in
six months. The prior fire had taken place
in October, 1905 and was rebuilt afterwards. Not
so in 1906. In 1908 Edward Smith bought
back the property out of foreclosure, for $40,000.
Scattered references to the Driving club and its
namesakes reappeared once each in 1916, 1917, 1926
If you have additional
info about an Iroquois victim, or find an error, I would like to
hear from you. Chaos and communication limitations of 1903
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