PA PA - Charley Ross, 4, Germantown, 1 July 1874

Discussion in 'Pre-1960's Missing' started by meggilyweggily, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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    It's not an anniversary or anything like that, but I've been thinking a lot about Charley Ross today -- I reread the book about his case. He was four when he was kidnapped for ransom on July 1, 1874 and never found. You can see his picture here: http://www.charleyproject.org/ross_charles.jpg

    His dad wouldn't pay the ransom because he thought it would be wrong to reward the kidnappers for their crime. If he had paid, he would have got Charley back in half a day, I'm sure of it, but he wouldn't, because it went against his principles. I can't decide whether that's the most beautiful or the most monstrous thing I've ever heard.

    I know the chances of finding Charley now are nil, but I think of him often and the Charley Project is named for him.
     
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  3. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Charley's case was widely publicised when it occurred on 1 July 1874 in Philadelphia, PA. Christian K. Ross, Charley's father went to the police immediately after learning of his abduction. He later received a ransom demand for $20,000, from the kidnappers, which warned him to go to the police. The fact that the police were already involved, probably led the kidnappers to break three separate appointments to receive the ransom.

    A reward of $20,000 was posted for Charley's return and Pinkerton's National Detective Agency pursued all leads.

    Later, the handwriting on the ransom notes was identified as belonging to a burglar named William Mosher. Before Mosher could be captured, he and an accomplice were shot while attempting a burglary in Brooklyn, NY. Before dying, Mosher confessed to having kidnapped little Charley, but refused to say where he was before he died of his wounds.

    I have heard of bottle collectors who prize a certain bottle with little Charley Ross's picture in the glass. They were evidently distributed in an effort to get the word out about Charley's disappearance and the reward for his return. So, the idea of putting missing kids photos on milk cartons, grocery bags, etc is not new.
     
  4. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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    According to the book I read, Little Charley Ross, Mosher said he didn't know where Charley was. He said only his partner knew. I tend to believe him, but who knows for sure.

    Inicdentally, Charley's case was also the first incidence I know of where an age-progressed picture was used to help find a missing person. The last picture of him was from when he was two, so an artist got with the Ross family and using Charley's photo, and pictures of the Rosses, and suggestions from the family, made a sketch of what Charley looked like when he was abducted at age four.
     
  5. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Excerpt from RANSOM KIDNAPING IN AMERICA By Patterson Smith
    (Copyright 1990):


    ... Although The Father’s Story sold well and is often seen today, its profits were consumed by Ross’s search for his son, the publicizing of which had been one of its aims. A related publicizing effort consisted of a Charley Ross bottle which bore the boy’s name and image in clear glass.

    These campaigns engendered many alleged sightings of the child across the nation and even overseas but upon investigation all were proven false. Numerous claimants to Charley’s identity stepped forward on their own behalf. First they were young boys; as the years marched by they were adolescents, then grown men. Each believed—or claimed to believe—that he was the missing Charley. None was.
    A good history of the case by Norman Zierold appeared in 1967 under the title Little Charley Ross, published by Little, Brown (who should be spanked for not providing an index). Zierold drew heavily on The Father’s Story, which still remains the best source for events up to the time of its publication.

    As I pick up my copy of that early work, a newspaper clipping from 1939 falls out. It is datelined Phoenix, Arizona, and begins, "A 69-year-old man walked into Superior Court today and astonished the clerk by filing suit to establish his identity as Charley Ross, whose kidnaping 65 years ago shocked the nation and was never solved." ...
    Link::
    http://www.patterson-smith.com/kidnapArt.htm
     
  6. jantel74

    jantel74 Member

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    Oddly enough, I found an original missing child poster for Charley Ross today at an antique shop in rural NC. It was in poor shape. It looked like it had been hung in a store front window and ripped down. Both sides were gone but most all the information was there. I didn't buy it but I thought it was really interesting. So sad that no one knows what happened to Charley.
     
  7. dogperson

    dogperson Member

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    Maybe the other kidnapper sold Charley to a family that wanted a child. I hope! That would mean he got to live out his life.
     
  8. iowalovescaylee

    iowalovescaylee New Member

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    Does anyone know if there is a picture of the bottle with his image? That would be something to see.
     
  9. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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  10. iowalovescaylee

    iowalovescaylee New Member

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    Thank you for checking and thank you for the link to the sheet music. That picture is so haunting. The whole thing is so disturbing.
     
  11. ncinkslinger

    ncinkslinger New Member

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  12. Kat

    Kat Kind words do not cost much

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    http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20120501_American_rsquo_s_original_missing_child.html

    Posted: Tue, May. 1, 2012, 3:00 AM

    America's original missing child

    By Jonathan Zimmerman


    Op-ed piece about Etan Patz and Charley Ross.
     
  13. truecrimediva

    truecrimediva New Member

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    I was just reading about this case and wondered why the kidnappers didn't take Charley's older brother, Walter, too. He was only a year older than Charley. Why take just one? If it was truly for ransom, the kidnappers could have gotten more money for both boys. Why did they choose only Charley? It also sounded like there were attempts to pay the ransom but the kidnappers failed to show up. Christian Ross was heavily in debt so that explains why he couldn't personally pay the ransom. The kidnappers threatened Christian to not go to the police but he had no choice because he did not have the money. Maybe the kidnappers made good on their threat and killed Charley because of it.
     
  14. teeandcee

    teeandcee New Member

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    That bottle is fascinating. I'd sure hate to try to ID anyone off it.
     
  15. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Good question. Unfortunately these criminals might not have been the most logical people around. They probably would have said, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

    That said, it is possible that they released Walter because they felt that they could only handle one small boy and went with Charley. Another reason might be that they felt Walter was older and more aware and might be able to identify them and their accomplices more easily.

    It is also possible that they felt releasing Walter unharmed would be a showing of "good faith" on their part and that this would hasten ransom negotiations.

    Taking both boys together, delayed the time between the actual kidnapping and the time police could begin their search. Also, having two brothers together may have kept them quiet and at ease while they traveled through busy streets and sections of the city.
     
  16. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Former Member

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    The Story Behind the First Ransom Note in American History

    One day last March, Bridget Flynn, a school librarian who lives in Philadelphia, was searching for an old family drawing to print on the invitations to her daughter Rebecca’s bridal shower. As she and Rebecca rummaged through the several generations of family artifacts—letters, photographs, an envelope of hair cuttings—she keeps in plastic bins in her basement, they found a stack of small envelopes tied together with a black shoelace.

    “Oh, honey, these are love letters,” Flynn said.

    Rebecca untied them and began reading the first one:

    “Mr Ros, be not uneasy, you son charley bruster be all writ we is got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand.”

    “Mom, these are ransom letters,” Rebecca said.

    Flynn went through the rest of the stack with her husband, David Meketon, a research consultant at the University of Pennsylvania. They counted a total of 22 letters, all of them addressedto Christian Ross. Kidnappers had taken his 4-year-old son, whose full name was Charles Brewster Ross, and demanded $20,000 for his return.

     
  17. STANDREID

    STANDREID A slacker when slacker wasn't cool

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    Yes, just shows that there's never a time when it's too late for new evidence.
     
  18. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    140 years ago...

    ------------------------------------------------
    This July 1st will mark the 140 year anniversary of the kidnapping of Little Charley Ross from his Philadelphia home.

    There is a recent (2011) book on the subject which I find well written and thoroughly researched: "We is got Him - the Kidnapping that Changed America", by Carrie Hagen. The book covers the details from the kidnapping of Charley and his brother Walter (whom the kidnappers released after an hour or two), through the efforts of the family and police to recover the little boy.

    The kidnappers sent a series of 23 letters to the family over the course of a year, demanding ransom and threatening to kill Charley if their demands were not met. Eventually the kidnappers were shot and killed in a separate burglary attempt, but little Charley was never recovered.
     

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