A question...

Discussion in 'Sodder Family' started by OrdinaryLife, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. OrdinaryLife

    OrdinaryLife New Member

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    I have read some of the threads here and the one thing I found interesting is that the elder Sodder's decided to retire from their coal trucking business. At Christmas. With ten children in 1948. In WV. Hinky is *huge*.

    With ten children, I find this very interesting. Especially in 1948. Mr. Sodder was only 50 years old with a large family. I cannot help but wonder if his being an immigrant may have made his life very difficult for him and his family. Perhaps they were targets of racism??? Threats made and followed through? A buck was a hard buck to attain and where he was not "American", what if there were some "American's" that took issue with him taking a dollar from them, if you understand my drift.

    I do not "feel" that the missing children are alive. But, I'm just getting interested on this old case so that means nothing at this point.

    There is much more to this history than a fire and missing children. I honestly believe much has not been shared at that time nor is in any LE records. Just tossing out thoughts random like. :)
     
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  3. fox1950

    fox1950 New Member

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    Welcome! I think this has been discussed somewhere else on the board but I am not sure. I think what was actually said was the Sodders retired for the night (Christmas Eve night) around 10 pm-in other words they went to bed around 10 p.m. Others have confused this with them actually retiring from their business.

    West Virginian's (and perhaps other parts of the country) use this term for going to bed. "I think I will retire for the night". However, when written down in the detective magazines and such, others misunderstood and thought the Sodders were retiring from their business.

    Mr. Sodder continued to work long after the children came up missing.

    The thread is long but very interesting. Glad you're interested.
     
  4. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    I think I had the same misconception early on, due to the way one of the news reports was written. It said something like, "the Sodders had recently retired..." Someone pointed out for me that the article meant they had retired for the evening, not from working.
     
  5. OrdinaryLife

    OrdinaryLife New Member

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    Thank you both for clearing up the "retiring" blurb. It makes more sense now.

    I still can't help, but wonder if there was some bigotry against this family. Here they are in the 1940's, WV, and times were hard, to say the least. Isn't possible that this family were victims of such? Immigrants working at a very poor paying position and "taking away" from American's. I truly feel there is something more to this. I wish we knew who these people were friends with or simply, anything. There is so very, very little to go on here. I do not think the children who went "missing" are missing. Call me crazy, but I believe they did die in the fire and remains were missed. Or, ignored. No insult meant towards LE at that time, but I do not think they had the experience needed at that time to find remains.

    Just me going with what I got in the gut... I have been known to be wrong before. :)
     
  6. birdie74

    birdie74 New Member

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    OrdinaryLife, You may be right about the bigotry, but the Sodders did live in a community with many Italian immigrants, and in fact many of the most prominant residents were Italian. Many of us believe any ill feelings toward the Sodders would have come mostly from the Italian residents who were mad about Mr. Sodder's comments against Mussolini.

    I'm so glad you're looking at this case and bringing a new perspective to the forum. Welcome!
     
  7. OrdinaryLife

    OrdinaryLife New Member

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    More questions. :)

    Did the family have a party line phone? I know from personal experience blah blah years ago (family had it) they existed and wonder if in that part of town, where the Sodder's, lived, they had one as well.

    I also read that two rooms were on fire and one was the office the Sodder's used for business. Would anyone know what the other room of the house was?

    One last question...Who and where was the Innkeeper/Inn that stated she saw 4 out of the five children?

    Thank you!
     
  8. fox1950

    fox1950 New Member

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    Ida Crutchfield, manager of the Alderson Hotel in Charleston was the lady who said she saw 4 of the 5 children. About a year later, she stated that one of the boys (Louis) returned to the motel with a man who never let Louis(?) out of his sight.
     
  9. OrdinaryLife

    OrdinaryLife New Member

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    Okay...more! Would the remaining daughter remember if they had a Christmas tree and how it was decorated? What room it was in? Was it close to where the office was on the first floor?

    I still think, IMVHO, that this was a tragic fire that took the lives of 5 innocent children. Given how long for the fire department to be alerted and show up (several hours), I think it is very possible that they literally perished in that fire.

    I think the only way to be sure is if it were possible would be to go back to where the home existed at that time and it was could be forensically (did I spell that right?) dug and dissected. That would be a *huge* deal, I am sure, if not impossible after all these years.
     
  10. fox1950

    fox1950 New Member

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    No, they did not have a Christmas tree that Christmas. They were waiting for Joe, who was stationed in NC to return home from the war--from what I have read.

    I am sure many believe the children died in the fire and the Sodders were unable to accept it. But there was so many mysterious things that happened right before and after the fire (and no bodies were found) to make them believe otherwise. Me, I am still on the fence.

    A grandson talked about having a dig done, however, I don't think that ever happened. I think after all these years, that probably would be the only answer if they found something. They say teeth last for a long time.

    However, Mr. Sodder did just that in the late 40's with no positive answer.
     
  11. wv171

    wv171 New Member

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    Retired is still use at lot today in WV as someone going to bed....

    That's still pretty common in WV..
     
  12. fox1950

    fox1950 New Member

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    Funny, I had company over the weekend and I heard one of my visitors say they were going to retire for the night. I had to smile. :) Also used in Texas - Texas Life: Time to Retire for the night and in the Cleveland trial of Bobby Cutts it said jurors were going to retire for the night. I assumed it was a WV saying but seems it is used in other parts of the country, also.
     
  13. wv171

    wv171 New Member

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    WV pretty famous for this too.

    Someone can be moved away 50 year's ago You ask them where they from ??? They say WV..
     
  14. DIRK SCHILLER

    DIRK SCHILLER New Member

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    well I´ve a very good friend, he´s italian and he told me he won´t believe that mother going to bed letting 5 kids playing,after 10 p.m. that night?!?
    An italian "mama" is always the last one going to bed after checking on all kids already laying in bed.
    He said, he doesn´t really know what happenned but it sounds like the parents have been telling police things like "the odd phone call", "a car following the kids", "the same 5 kids staying up late that night","the doors were unlocked","the ladder wasn´t there"," the car did not work",the fire ball over the roof,etc.....
    Maybe someone kidnapped the children because of their negligence and they did get scared the social services would take the other kids away and had to cover up the story with a fire,because it is a big "coincidence" the same 5 kids just disappeared without a trace (parents and older bro could not save any of the 5 kids that stand up late that night....hmmm)
    It is kinda Madeleine Mccanns case, you do not really know ,was she abducted, had an accident and died, had an overdosis medicaments and the parents did cover it up ?!?
     
  15. DIRK SCHILLER

    DIRK SCHILLER New Member

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    oh and he also said, he comes from Palermo,Italy, and the italian mafia would not kidnapp the children to sell them or give them to other family but to kill them because it is a what they use to do, called "VENDETTA"
     
  16. liz b.

    liz b. Well-Known Member

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    I'm Italian American, and I wondered the exact same thing about the children being left alone downstairs. Also I read that the children's mother woke up later,and said that all the lights were on downstairs, and the door had been left unlocked ? I don't know...fascinating case,though... MOO
     
  17. liz b.

    liz b. Well-Known Member

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    Some other questions :

    1. Where in Italy did the parents come from ? How long had they been in WV,and the U.S. ? I heard stories growing up about "bad blood " feuds among family clans in Italy..and often those type of feuds would continue after people came to the U.S. Not the same as a vendetta, but just as damaging...MOO

    2. Were any of the children who disappeared bi-lingual in Italian ?

    3. Christmas Eve is the most important night of the year in most Italian/American families.Families spend the whole evening together... I just cannot fathom them leaving any of the children alone downstairs on that night,of all nights ?? MOO

    4. I have never heard of the "mafia" taking a group of kids and repatriating them to Italy... I say look at extended family in this situation. MOO
     
  18. JDuMo

    JDuMo Member

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    You know what it sounds like to me? They knew danger was coming and they were working on getting everyone out, but they were too late.

    Ex. and this is PURE speculation. The parents know there is a threat coming. They have made arrangements on Christmas Eve with other family to get half of the kids into a safe house, figuring that if they do it a little at a time there won't be as much suspicion from the people who are after them as if they all disappear at once. So mom and dad talk to the two older children who are missing, telling them that Aunt and Uncle so and so will be coming to get you guys at 11 tonight, stay up, stay with these three little ones - you are in charge of them until we are reunited, etc. So those 5 are safely gotten away (she wakes up and lights are on, door unlocked, etc. - she is not worried but instead is relieved because she knows the plan has been executed for these 5 children.)

    BUT - then the danger they knew was coming happens later that night instead of the next night or whatever they had expected. Maybe the people threatening them heard about the 5 kids escaping and stepped up the plan so that the others would perish.

    Who knows what the plan was to later meet up with the other 5 kids. Maybe whoever took them was too scared for their safety to ever give them back. Maybe they were found later and killed after all. Hard to say. It is definitely strange that contact was not made later, although to be perfectly honest - we don't know for certain that it wasn't. Maybe they were in contact the entire time, and kept up the charade because a threat still lingered way later. What better way to throw off the scent than to make it seem like they never saw their kids again and were actively looking for them?

    Again - pure speculation with NO way of knowing either way. It seems bizarre to me that the bones that were found at the 1949 dig showed no signs of being burned, and were later said to be planted using remains from a local cemetery. Either the law was in on it, or they were seriously covering something up big time!!
     
  19. chemom

    chemom New Member

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    I spent yesterday reading through the Sodder Family forum, and was halfway through the first thread on the family when I started thinking I had heard the story before. Of course, I hadn't, but it was when the discussion about the photo that was sent to the mother of a young man she thought was her son Louis, it finally clicked for me.

    When I saw the discussion about the photo, and what was written on the back, I automatically thought the "ilil Boys" followed by the numbers meant Illinois Boys (as in Boys home or Orphanage), and that the numbers were his file number there at the home. That's when my lightbulb moment came-

    I have done a massive amount of genealogy research over the years, for various family and step family. My mother's current husband asked me several years ago if I would look into his mom's family. I said of course and asked for particulars- he said from what he could remember, she was the only surviving member of a house fire, and was raised in an orphanage in Boston, Mass. He didn't know the names of anyone in her family. I asked him to get in touch with her and see if that was accurate. I can no longer find my notes on it, and my stepfather is fishing offshore at the moment, but off the top of my head, I remember two different, stories, one was related to me before my stepdad talked to his mom, the other after-

    The first story was that her parents had left her and her siblings alone in the home while they went out for the evening, and a fire was started while the parents weren't there. There were 8(?) children in all, and several were killed in the ensuing blaze- they surviving children were removed from the parents custody, separated and my stepfather's mother placed in the orphanage.

    The other story I seem to remember is that there was a fire, and the parents WERE home, and they, along with six or seven of her siblings perished, leaving her the only surviving member of the family.

    At any rate, she passed in 2004, and I can no longer question her about it. She believed she was pretty young when it happened, she said possibly between the age of 3 and 7. She didn't remember her parents names, or any of those of her siblings. I always thought that it was really sad that she was placed in the orphanage and no family ever came forward to take her in. She was never adopted or fostered out- she stayed there until she was grown. In a sad twist, my stepfather spent the better part of his life believing his mother was dead, killed in a domestic dispute with his father- he didn't learn until much later, when his mother found him, that she hadn't died.

    Now I want to point out that I don't think that she is one of the Sodder children- it would be nice if she were, because then maybe my stepdad would have some answers, and so would the Sodders, but again, I don't think she is. I do, however, think the coincidences are interesting-

    1. House fire involving several siblings
    2. The middle name she was raised with was Louise
    3. She was born May 19, 1937, Jennie Sodder was born Sept 19, 1937.
    4. Judging by the photos on this case, my stepfather would certainly look related to the Sodders.

    I never found anything more about my stepgrandmother's side of the family- beyond her date of birth and death. I contacted the Boston Fire department to see if anyone remembered a fire of a similar nature, or even remembered any stories like this- no one did. I tried searching for news stories of the fire, and never found anything in Massachusetts that matched. I posted the story on several message boards for the surname and area, trying different spelling variations of her surname, and no one had heard a story like this, nor did anyone remember her. I even tried message boards for Boston Orphanages, to see if anyone remembered her from there. The genealogy research into her family hit a dead end, and I've set it aside for several years now.

    Anyways, I thought there were some interesting coincidences between the Sodders and my stepfather's mother's story.
     
  20. Canadian4

    Canadian4 Taking it one day at a time

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    I know this is off topic to the Sodders, but to the poster above me I found this news article. The Dad was a soldier and away, the mom left the children alone (two of them tied up so they would stay in bed) to go visiting when a fire broke out. Four children died, but the oldest child who was five survived because she wasn't home at the time.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...4&dq=massachusetts+children+die+in+fire&hl=en
     
  21. chemom

    chemom New Member

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    Canadian4- Thank you for finding that! Very interesting reading, and as I type, am heading off to do some searching on the names involved. Thanks again!
     

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