The Early History of the Secret Service

“The detection of crime, when entered upon with an honest purpose to discover the haunts of criminals and protect society from their depredations by bringing them to justice, is held to be an honorable calling and worthy of commendation of all good men.”

– Hiram C. Whitley, Chief of the Secret Service, May 1869 – September 1874


While many people today think of the Secret Service as primarily protecting the President, that duty did not actually become a part of their repertoire until 1894. Until 1902* it was conducted only informally and part-time, and even then, only two operatives were assigned full-time to the White House. So what did they do from their creation in 1865 until 1902, and beyond? (*Taken from–there are conflicting dates so I went with them.)


The Early Days

It is estimated that one-third of the circulating U.S. currency was counterfeit during the period of the Civil War. Until 1863, there was no national currency. Each state and bank had its own design for banknotes making it an easy world for counterfeiters to thrive. Public confidence in a nation’s currency is critical to the health of the country’s economy, and the United States was in serious trouble. Even after the installation of a national currency in 1863, counterfeiters thrived. Only local police and occasional investigations by the War Department hampered counterfeiters.


On April 14th, 1865 Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCullough brought attention to the growing trouble of counterfeiting and insisted a permanent, continuous, aggressive organized effort was needed to thwart this menace to the economy. Abraham Lincoln agreed and authorized him to move forward. That same night, Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Despite the turmoil in the government that followed, on July 5, 1865, William P. Wood was sworn in as the first Chief of the U.S. Secret Service.


About 30 men made up this first group of Secret Service operatives. Headquarters were set up in Washington, and 11 field offices were established in cities throughout the country. A guide list of six “general orders” was issued*:


  1. Each man must recognize that his service belongs to the government through 24 hours of every day. 
  2. All must agree to assignment to the locations chosen by the Chief and respond to whatever mobility of movement the work might require.
  3. All must exercise such careful saving of money spent for travel, subsistence, and payments for information as can be self-evidently justified.
  4. Continuing employment in the Service will depend upon demonstrated fitness, ability as investigators, and honesty and fidelity in all transactions.
  5. The title of regular employees will be Operative, Secret Service. Temporary employees will be Assistant Operatives or Informants. 
  6. All employment will be at a daily pay rate; accounts submitted monthly. Each operative will be expected to keep on hand enough personal reserve funds to carry on Service business between paydays.

(*Taken from The United States Secret Service by Warren S. Bowen and Harry Edward Neal.)


Credentials came in the form of handwritten letters of appointment until an incident in 1871 made them reconsider. Ira W. Raymond waltzed into a field office posing as an operative and demanded all contraband be turned over to him. The operative on duty felt it odd he wouldn’t have been notified and telegrammed headquarters. Raymond was arrested, but this prompted Chief Whitley (the second Chief) to design and issue distinctive badges and printed credentials to all members of the Secret Service.


These badges were five-pointed, silver stars with lacework engraved into each point. “U.S. Secret Service” was stamped into the center of each. Operatives had $25 deducted from their paycheck for the badges, with the promise it would be returned upon retirement when they turned in their badge. Each operative carried engraved and printed credentials called commissions from that point forward.


Unfortunately, the first two administrations of the Secret Service were fraught with scandal, leaving a cloud hanging over the public image of the division. Chief Washburn made some repairs to their reputation, but it was Chief James J. Brooks who really turned things around. 


One of Chief Brooks’s first acts what to compile and issue the first formal manual of instructions for operatives. These were called “General Orders No. 4.” It was under his reformation, that Secret Service was officially recognized as its own division of the Treasury Department with its own budget–limited as it was. Chief Brooks was a hard man and did not believe in vacations for his men. Any leave of absence was given without pay. But through his leadership, public opinion began to shift in a more positive direction toward the Secret Service.

The Making of an Operative


Operatives tended to have military, police, or detective experience and come from a law-abiding middle-class background. These men were successful in life prior to being appointed and often had a job history that indicated an ambition to do more.


Unlike their predecessors, they adapted their behavior to bureaucratic routines, followed orders, and obeyed rules. They were talented detectives, highly tolerant of paperwork, and committed to organizational goals.


They were a  tough, capable, and honorable breed, with high standards of personal integrity, who felt it their duty to interact with criminals for the greater good of society.


“Employees will be judged by the character they sustain, by the results they accomplish, and by the manner in which they accomplish them.” – Elmer Washburn, Chief of the Secret Service 1874-1876



  • Avoid “any appearance of impropriety or disgraceful behavior.”
  • Criminals are not personal acquaintances; they are enemies of the social order.
  • Submit weekly reports to the director. They must include accounts of your actions and expenses every hour of every day.
  • Do not accept gifts or gratuities to perform or forgo official duties.
  • Do not deliver or give permission to use counterfeit money to any unauthorized person.
  • All arrests must be in strict conformity to civil law and with the cooperation of the local policing institution.
  • All financial transactions must be reported, even those with criminals.
  • Report all criminal transactions: what was paid for counterfeit money, from whom it was purchased, where they deal was made, the kind of bogus money purchased, and how much counterfeit was obtained.SecretServiceBadge1
  • Record “all charges for information and assistance,” including names and residences of each person receiving these sums.
  • Purchasing counterfeit money must be done for the smallest, practical amount.
  • “Authority must be had from this Office before any bargain is made for information or assistance, unless the operative can clearly make it appear that the interest of the service would have suffered materially by the delay necessary, in order to obtain such authority.”
  • “Operatives will neither promise, either by word or implication, immunity from punishment, nor anything in mitigation of sentence, to any person for any offense he may have committed.”
  • Suspects must be warned about their rights – everything they said will be documented and used against them in court. Suspects needn’t answer any questions until a lawyer is obtained. (This was long before the Miranda Rights became required in 1966.)



The Secret Service was a federal organization, meaning their jurisdiction spread across the entire country. However, between 1875 and 1910, the division never employed more than 47 men, and the average was only 25. And between 1878 – 1893 when my story takes place, the average number of servicemen was well below that.


In addition to being stretched thin, Secret Service operatives were subordinate to policing institutions. They did not have the authority to search for evidence or even arrest criminals without the cooperation of the local police authorities.


These two major issues, along with insufficient funds could have crippled lesser men, but Secret Service Operatives were resourceful, determined, and loyal to their country.




Counterfeiting was no accidental crime. It was committed purposefully, requiring skill, equipment, and a network of like-minded criminals. Like all criminals, counterfeiters did not want to be caught and did whatever they could to protect their criminal network. It wasn’t uncommon for them to grease the wheels of corrupted police officers making it difficult as a Secret Service operative to determine who could be trusted.


Counterfeiters had fully developed criminal subcultures that were difficult to break into, and anyone could be a counterfeiter, from the lowly street peddler all the way up to the upper crusts of society. No level of income was exempt from potential involvement. Even a sweet old grandma down the street could be the ring leader. Networks could stretch the width of the United States and relied on a decentralized underworld structure that transcended community boundaries.



The Secret service adopted a long-term strategy for suppressing counterfeiting. While the country was split into 11 districts, covering multiple states and territories, the first step of this plan was to concentrate its operatives in the largest urban centers: New York City, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.


There, they sought to penetrate the criminal networks by starting at the lowest level and gradually working their way upward to identifying and arresting the manufacturers. Informants were crucial to their success, providing information as well as introductions into these secretive gangs of counterfeiters.


Good cases took weeks, even months, to develop, and required an enormous amount of patience and dedication. Although not usually dangerous, (the first operative to lose their life on the job was not until 1907), operatives stayed in peak condition to contend with criminals who did not wish to be caught.


Operatives were scrutinized by their superiors and were required to write extensive daily reports. Expenses were itemized, including information about the purchase of counterfeit notes, travel expenses, even their personal expenses. In 1875, Chief Washburn demanded that field operative Andrew Drummond obtain a refund from a Philadelphia telegraph operator who had overcharged him one cent. Ever dutiful, he obtained the refund.


Not only were their expenditures itemized, but their days were also detailed from waking moment until slumber. A typical report might say: “I got up at 5:30 AM, ate my breakfast, left home at 7 AM, arrived at the office at 8 AM, at 8:30 I went to First National Bank…., I returned home at 10 PM and went to bed at 11 PM.”


Though they faced internal and external challenges, through the use of informants, undercover work, and both investigative and instigative techniques, the Secret Service was able to reduce counterfeiting from the most prominent criminal activity in the United States prior to the Civil War to a spattering of successful occurrences by 1900.

Fun Fact:

Long before the Miranda Rights were established in 1966, the Secret Service had their own version that they were required to give every arrested criminal. Before they created their own version, it was a common practice for law enforcement agencies to grant freedom to criminals who spouted information at their arrests. However, Chief of the Secret Service Elmer Washburn (1874–1876) enacted a policy for the Secret Service which required operatives to inform arrested criminals that anything they did must be done “voluntarily and without any promises whatever.” (See reports by Secret Service operatives as quoted in Illegal Tender by David R. Johnson [1995]). This policy was further emphasized by Chief James Brooks (1876–1888) in 1879, at which time operatives were instructed to warn suspects about their rights. Everything a suspect said would be documented and used against them in court, and they did not have to answer any questions until they had consulted a lawyer. Nearly ninety years before the rest of law enforcement agencies required it, Secret Service operatives were reading suspects their rights.

Using Informants


Have you ever been an outsider trying to get into a tight-knit group of people? Our church has small groups where close-knit relationships are developed, and while fantastic, they can be incredibly difficult to become a part of. Often times you are either joining a group that is just forming with others like you, or someone from that tight-knit group invites you in.


Now flip that innocent example on its head and pretend you are a Secret Service operative trying to infiltrate a tight-knit, highly suspicious network of counterfeiters. There is no way you can get in on your own. You are a stranger. They suspect you. They might allow you to have a drink with them, but no vital communication will occur in your presence – unless you have an “in”. Someone who can vouch for you.


Enter the informant.


The use of informants was crucial for the success of a Secret Service operative. Thus an operative’s relationship with his informant was highly personal. They were not friends, but the operative had to know if they could trust the information, as it dictated their tactics and whether or not they committed their limited resources to an investigation.


Some informants were voluntary while others were coerced, meaning they were under arrest and possibly facing trial and prison.


Voluntary informants were often self-seeking in their desire to share information. Rewards were given by the Secret Service to any person who gave information “not already in the possession of the chief” that led to the “detection, arrest, and conviction” of counterfeiters or the “capture of their implements and materials.” Counterfeiters offered information as a way to supplement their income when they were down on their luck.


My favorite type of informant was the vengeful one. These informants used the Secret Service to exact revenge on their peers for real or imagined grievances, or to drive competitors out of business. These make the best kind of villain in a story. I read one story former Chief Andrew Drummond published in the early 1900s about one such Italian counterfeiter. You can read about it here: What Jealousy Did in Little Italy.


A new informant initially had to build a case on his or her own, to present his or her results to the operative. Then the Chief of the Secret Service would determine if there should be a reward for their services.


When a rumor was substantiated the local operative kept the chief informed of developments while simultaneously working with his source to infiltrate the new network. Ideally, the operative sought to identify and arrest all the participants before they could complete and distribute the counterfeited banknote. However, if it had already entered the distribution network, the chief acted to limit the damage by disrupting the market.


This could be done by providing a description of the imperfections of the counterfeited banknote to each operative, lawman, and newspaper. Operatives and police officers would spread the word to as many business owners as they could. By spreading the knowledge of the counterfeit to the community, the risk of using the note became too great.



“To meet and thwart [crime] requires the most subtle ingenuity, incessant vigilance, and unflagging energy upon the part of officers of the law.” – Herman C. Whitley, Chief of the Secret Service from May 1869 to September 1874


Sometimes before working undercover or during the course of another operative working undercover, an operative would conduct interviews. Victims would report the passing or “shoving” of counterfeit bills, and through an interview, give the description of the alleged criminal.


Once located, another interview would be conducted with the suspect to discover whether or not the “shover” had knowingly committed the crime. In such situations, the operative had to appear honest and sincere, in order to gain the trust of those he interviewed. He also had to have keen observational skills and the ability to recognize a lie when he heard it.


While these investigative skills were great for interviewing the lower levels of criminal activity, they were practically useless for coping with the sophisticated criminals who financed, manufactured, and distributed counterfeit notes. That is where working undercover came into play.


Working within the Criminal Network


In order to enter a counterfeiting ring, an operative had to conceal his identity and cultivate contacts within the underworld, usually through the manipulation of their informants. By playing a role, he was able to participate in discussions about criminal activities and hopefully induce suspects to commit a crime when and where he could observe them.


Operatives, or their assistants, frequently purchased counterfeit money from the underworld criminals, carefully marking the buys with the date of purchase and the initials of the purchaser.


Though observing a transaction was an important objective, it was only a small part of a long-term strategy for discovering all of the criminals involved with a particular note. Operatives had to ignore minor crimes so they could build cases against major criminals. Small-time criminals were offered inducements to betray the higher-up criminals.


By spurning immediate arrest, the operative hoped to delve deeper into the counterfeiting ring and develop evidence against each individual. Like the Pinkertons, the Secret Service had a cataloging system of each forger’s name, age, aliases, physical description, dates of arrests and releases, criminal methods, counterfeiting specialties, and a photo of him and/or his cohorts. Ideally, arrests would occur only after all the guilty parties had been identified.


Cases required both the skills of investigating and instigating.

Going to Prison to Make a Capture


One of my favorite resources for research was reading the serialized newspaper articles compiled into a book by former Secret Service Chief Andrew. L. Drummond. He easily was my favorite operative to read, though I read about and from many. Andrew Drummond was smart, innovative, and got the job done. I really admired him and the inside look at how his cases went. 


In one of my original versions of this story, Broderick used the scheme of the following story to insert himself into the counterfeit ring of Counterfeit Love. As usual, the story took on a life of its own and lost the details from this case. So since I couldn’t use it in my story, you can read the full riveting tale in Drummond’s own words here: Going to Prison to Make a Capture.


“In the latter part of 1872 a particularly dangerous counterfeit $50 Treasury note was put into circulation. . . . In May 1873, the chief of the secret service ordered me to go to Atlanta, Ga. He said he had nothing tangible to turn over to me for investigation, but a good many of the counterfeit notes had recently appeared in the South, and he wanted me to go down and see what I could find.


I made up my mind I would hang around the resorts frequented by crooks and learn what I could hear.  I was dressed shabbily and and no difficulty in mingling with those with whom I cam in contact without attracting attention. And gradually, I let it became known I was a burglar. . . .  I went to Penora to investigate [Hanford’s] statements. I found that they were all true except the one referring to his respectability. He owned a farm, but he also dealt in counterfeit money. . . . 


When I returned to Holly Springs I laid this information before District Attorney G. Wiley Wells, who later became Minister to China. I asked Mr. Wells to co-operate with me in the execution of a plan I had devised to catch the string of men down through which the counterfeit passed from the makers to Hanford.


“Mr. Wells,” said I, “I believe the information I have obtained about Hanford will be sufficient if he be confronted with it to wring a confession from him. IF so, I would like to be arrested for counterfeiting, put in jail with him, and then both of us permitted to break out together. Immunity can be promised him if he will do what I want him to do.” 


“What do you want to be sent to prison and then break jail for?” asked Mr. Wells.


“So that all of the counterfeiters in the country will read about it,” I replied. “They all know Hanford, and if they read tht he has broken jail with another counterfeiter they will be ready to sell me counterfeit money if Hanford introduces me to them. When we get loose I want him to take me to his friends.”

. . .

A few days later the District Attorney provided me with a genuine fifty-dollar note, which I wet and rubbed together until it looked like a piece of canton flannel. Then I sauntered into Franck’s story and asked for a paper collar. A clerk handed me what I asked for and I gave him the rumpled fifty-dollar note, which, by the way was not only good, but was marked with the initials of both the District Attorney and myself. 


I shall never forget how the clerk looked at me. It was as if he were saying to himself, “here’s the man who is passing all of this counterfeit money, and now he is trying to do me.” . . . and said he could not change the bill. So I gave back the collar and went out. 


But before I had even left the store the cashier had reported the attempted “fraud” to Mr. Frank, and both had gone to the District Attorney’s office to tell him what had happened.

. . .

The United States Marshal at that time was Colonel Pierce, who had also been a Northern army officer during the war. He was known far and wide as a bad man to impose upon. . . . It was this kind of man who was selected to arrest me. . . .  


From here on out, I’m going to summarize what happened. If you want to continue to read it in his words, you’ll have to check out the link. It’s just a free google book link. No strings attached or anything. Going to Prison to Make a Capture


 The plan was made for Drummond to be arrested the next day by the U.S. Marshal, so Drummond set up his rented room with the necessary evidence to implicate him as a counterfeiter. There was a bit of drama with his arrest, with the Marshal being unaware of who Drummond really was, but Drummond survived the situation unscathed. He was then arrested and sent to the jail at Oxford “owing to the overcrowded conditions” of Holly Springs. This was just a setup because Holly Springs was too strong to break out of, but Oxford was weak. 


After six days in jail they made a break and took the train to Louisville. . . . Where they were arrested because the local police recognized them as the escapees. Drummond explained to the local chief what he was about and they were released under the guise of using a bribe. They went straight to Cincinnati, which at the time was a hotbed of counterfeiters, and he was introduced to all the connections necessary. Things went so well that a number of Secret Service men were sent from New York to help him, “as it was not desired to arrest one until we could arrest all against whom we could get evidence.” At one point, his cover was almost ruined. Several weeks later, they were successful in arresting fifteen counterfeiters, all but one or two whom were sent to the penitentiary. 


With Drummond providing inside information, four other operatives built cases against a large network that served customers in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Their investigation occupied the summer and fall of 1873, culminating in a sweep that ensnared seventy-two dealers and shovers in October and another twenty in December.



*this a mixture of my definitions, and those acquired through the glossary of first hand collections of operative experiences


Acknowledge the corn – to make a full frank confession

Big gun – a prominent man, a noted person, or leader

Big thing – a very good prospect; a promising scheme

Blowed – exposed, peached on, betrayed, turned up

Bogus – counterfeit banknotes, or false coins of any kind

Boodle – notes bought from a production firm

Boodle carrier – a courier who delivered counterfeit notes from the dealer to the shovers.

Brass – self confidence, bold impudence, “cheeky” assurance

Caught napping – detected or surprised unawares

Chief Operative – first-class men assigned to the division’s major districts, each chief operative would have assistant operatives working under his direction, and would be responsible for all administrative and investigative activities within his district

Clean out – to rob, take from forcibly, or to search the person

Coney  – counterfeit notes, of any denomination

Coney man – one known as a banknote counterfeiter

Coney dealer – one who deals in, passes, or handles counterfeits

Confidence (con) man – a charlatan, cheat, or imposter

Cop, or copper – a U.S. Detective or Police officer

Copped – arrested or secured by a “cop” or detective

Cue – a sign, or signal adopted between two persons

Dead open-and-shut – a pretty sure thing; a clear fact

Dead to rights – caught with positive proof of guilt

Deal – an act of delivering counterfeits from one hand to another

Dealers – people who bought the counterfeit notes from wholesalers and then used shovers to distribute the money into general circulation

Decoy – a disguised person, used to ensnare criminals

Distribution – the spread of counterfeit money through an underground sales network

Dodge – an quick artful trick, device, or manipulation

Driven to cover  – compelled to seek seclusion for a time

Engraver – the person who created the plates used to print money

Fence – a buyer or receiver of known stolen goods

Fiasco – a dead failure, a total miscarriage

Firm – the collective group of people used to print money

Flush – having plenty of money or business on hand

Game – a sharp trick, or device with a sinister design

Go-between – a person communicating as a medium between criminals

Going in – thrusting one’s self into a “free fight”

Going back on him – turning traitor on one’s accomplices

Hang Fire – to delay, postpone, or procrastinate

Hoisted with his own petard – caught in one’s self-laid trap

In durance – in confinement; in custody of a jailor

In quod – in prison; committed, permanently

In the hock – in the act of commission; on the spot

In the ring – in a clique or clan of conspirators for evil

In the toils – within the secret control of an officer

Issue – an edition of a set of counterfeit bills

Job – a plot in crime; or the attempt to unravel one

Keep your eye peeled – to be wide awake, constantly

Koniacker – a counterfeiter or coney man

Leg-bail – to escape or run away from court or prison

Little game – the ruse, object, or design of criminals

Limbo – a prison, “in limbo” – confined in jail

Manufacturer – a person or group of people who printed counterfeit money

Nabbed in the hock – caught in the very act

Network – the sum of one’s personal acquaintances (which included non-criminals).

Notes – another term for paper money

Operative – the official title of the Service’s employees

Pal – an accomplice, friend, or partner in crime

Peddler – an itinerant counterfeit money-seller

Piped down – followed; shadowed; run down by detectives

Pipe off – to follow or dog a suspected person’s tracks

Plant – a term used to reference where counterfeiters made their money, or to conceal or bury; also, a planned swindle

Plates – metal pieces with copied images from the bill being counterfeited

Play baby – to whine; “squawk,” or assume innocence

Posted – well informed of what is publicly transpiring

Prison-bird – a criminal who has once been in prison

Product – another name used for counterfeit money, generally used by the counterfeiters

Production Firm – the collective group of people used to print money

Pull – to catch arrest, collar, or seize a criminal

Pulled — caught or arrested by a detective or officer

Put ’em through – subjecting persons to a thorough searching ordeal

Putty won’t stick – any attempted deceit that miscarries

Pumping – extracting information by nice questioning

Queer – another term for counterfeit money

Quod – a lock-up or prison, a place of detention

Retailer – another term for a dealer

Ring – a band of “speculatorsL” or a criminal clique

Roping-in – bringing about a “deal” between “informers” and criminals

Roped in – a criminal who is “hoisted by his own petard”

Rough customer – an unmanageable or pugnacious prisoner

Run into the ground – overdone; carried to useless extremity

Ruse – artifice or stratagem; a shrewd counter-plot

Settle one’s hash – to finish a man; close his business, used up

Shadowed – followed stealthily; dogged by a detective

Shake, out to – “shake down,” to extort money from individuals

Sham Abraham – to play ill; to pretend to be sick

Shove – to push off, or pass counterfeit money publicly

Shover – a person who bought low priced items with a higher counterfeit bill to get real money back in change

Spotted – sighted and watched, under surveillance

Spring the trap – to finish up the contemplated arrest of anyone

Squeal – to turn on an accomplice; to inform, or “peach” on a pal

Stock – counterfeit notes, bonds, bank bills, or scrip

Straw bail – a situation in which a false bondsman was contracted to swear they possessed sufficient property to pay the bond, and then the counterfeiter would subsequently fail to appear in court

Stuff – the term used among counterfeiters for bogus money

Went through him – searched him thoroughly–or similarly, robbed him

Wholesalers – men or women who would buy counterfeit notes from manufacturers and then recruit potential customers through personal contacts or the mail to create a sales network

Worked – an undertaking or “job” maneuvered by detectives

Worked back – finding stolen property, and “going” for the reward

Working up – following up a suspected person, or criminal job

Fun Facts

  • D.C. was the Service’s bureaucratic headquarters and the chief lived there
  • Between 1875 and 1910, the division never employed more than 47 men, and the average was only 25. 1878-1893, the average number of servicemen was well below that.
  • Chief operatives often had several cases under investigation at once and had testy battles with headquarters over conflicting demands for the economy and results
  • Each chief operative maintained a retinue of assistants and informers
  • Each district contained a number of states and a single operative maintained a headquarter in a major city
  • There were field offices in 11 cities across the nation.
  • Operatives were paid once a month on a daily scale, an average of $7 per day.
  • Each workday ranged from 12 to 16 hours long.
  • There were no days off and any “vacation” time was unpaid.
  • Operatives were required to itemize all their expenses for everything from travel to personal needs.
  • Operatives were to maintain peak physical fitness, swear unquestioning obedience to the chief’s directives
  • In 1881, all toy money was removed from shelves and industries.
  • While time-consuming, the work was not particularly dangerous (no Service employee was seriously hurt in the line of duty until the murder of an operative in 1907). However, on September 3, 1902, Operative William Craig died in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in a collision between a street car and the President’s carriage. On November 3, 1907, Operative Joseph A. Walker was murdered while conducting a land fraud investigation near Durango, Colorado.
  • The number of operatives in the Secret Service ranged between fifteen men in 1865 and a high of thirty-five in 1898 for the entire United States. For a large portion of that time, the number of operatives was well below thirty.
  • The badge below was issued in 1875 and was the first to feature the “Service Star” – the official emblem still used today. SecretServiceBadge1
  • The star’s five points each represent one of the agency’s five core values: justice, duty, courage, honesty, and loyalty.
  • Secret Service operatives not only located and shut down counterfeiters, but they also investigated nonconforming distillers, smugglers, mail robbers, land frauds, and other infractions against the Federal government.
  • Secret Service operatives were not initially allowed to arrest criminals, therefore they had to work in conjunction with local police.
  • U.S. Marshall’s once earned extra income through the reward money granted for the capture of counterfeiters. When the Secret Service took over that duty, tension developed between the two agencies. Eventually, this faded, but in those early days working together was not always done amicably.

While I’m not going to list all the resources I used in research for this story, I will leave you with a few of my favorites in case you want to research further.



Illegal Tender by David R Johnson* (My personal favorite. It gives you a look at counterfeiters AND the Secret Service.)

The United States Secret Service by Walter S. Bowen and Harry Edward Neal

Freedom’s Detective: The Secret Service, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Man Who Masterminded America’s First War on Terror by Charles Lane

True Detective Stories by Andrew L. Drummond (Digital)

Excerpts from the History of the United States Secret Service, 1865-1975 by the United States Secret Service (Digital)

Digital Resources

Secret Service Museum Tour (Closed to the Public – video) 
The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions by Shawn Reese Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy

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