Isaiah Lees


1830 – 1902

Portrait of Isaiah Lees
Lees, c. 1895

Among the greatest police detectives in history, nineteen-year-old Isaiah Lees first arrived in San Francisco hoping to strike gold along with the other forty-niners. Instead, he discovered a talent for detection, which he went on to practice for nearly half a century. As captain of detectives in a booming, freewheeling city at the far edge of America’s frontier, Lees encountered a nearly constant parade of remarkable crimes: counterfeiting, frauds, thefts, kidnappings, and violent, vicious murders. In nearly every instance, Lees found the solution and built an unbreakable case, in the process winning respect both locally and across the nation.

From a young maverick who regularly charged headfirst into the action, to a graybearded institution, Isaiah Lees was the consummate dedicated, professional policeman.

Read more about Lees in Brilliant Deduction, or search the blog.

Photo from the San Francisco Call, Dec. 22, 1902.