Register
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default Kidnapping Charley Ross

    Germantowns Charley Ross

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    529 East Washington Lane

    On July 1, 1874 two little boys were abducted in front of their family's
    mansion. It was the first kidnapping for ransom in the history of the United States. And it would be the major event of its kind until the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.
    The Story of Charley Ross

    also at Charley Ross - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    AN IMAGE OF CHARLEY ROSS
    http://www.library.upenn.edu/collect...ffer/b27n3.jpg
    __________________
    $20,000 REWARD!

    The cotton shirt that little Charlie Ross was wearing acted like a wick as it soaked up the warm July sunshine. Four-year old Charlie was watching his 6-year old brother Walter as he rolled a steel barrel hoop across the yard with a long stick.

    The Ross home was a handsome, three story, stone house located in the Philadelphia suburb of Germantown. The whole town was looking forward to the July 4th, 1874, celebration which was only three days away. Yet the city was also preparing for an Independence Day celebration that was coming up in two short years!

    Philadelphians were excited about hosting their country's 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The 4th of July holiday was always a favorite here, because it was so closely identified with the city's early history.

    As Walter rolled the hoop closer to the dirt street in front of his home, he let it roll to a stop and fall to the ground.

    Walter had noticed a familiar horse and buggy coming down the street and he had hoped that it was the same two men who had given him and his brother candy on the previous Saturday. The two men had stopped by on the next two days and engaged in idle chatter. The boys did not realize that the men were trying to gain their trust.

    Sure enough it was them, and today the boys ran to meet the strangers. The men offered to take the boys to the general store to purchase firecrackers for them. The boys climbed into the wagon and the men positioned a lap cover so that the neighbors were unaware that the children were being kidnaped..

    The wagon wound through streets that the boys were unfamiliar with and finally the little guys became restless. The buggy driver pulled up to a cigar store and gave Walter a quarter and told him to go in and buy some firecrackers.

    As soon as Walter entered the store, the buggy pulled away. When the child came back out and realized his dilemma, he started to cry. His crying attracted some passers-by who were able to return the boy to his family.

    The tragic chain of events was just starting. The kidnappers believed that the family was wealthy, but they were mistaken. Christian Ross owned a retail grocery store that was actually suffering financially.

    On July 4th, 1874, their first ransom note demanding $20,000 was received and before this event was over, the kidnappers had exchanged 23 letters with the Ross family. Of course,

    the way the Ross family communicated with the kidnappers was writing messages in the newspaper.


    This is the text of an actual letter:

    "be not uneasy you son Charley Bruster be all writ we's him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand. You will have to pay us before you git him from us, and pay us a big cent too. If you put the cops hunting for him yu is only defeting yu own end. We is got him put so no living power gets him from us a live. If any aproch is maid to his hiding place tha is the signil for his instant annihilition. If yu regard his lif puts no one to search for him yu can fetch him out alive and no other existin powers. Don't deceive yuself and think the detectives ca git him from us for that is imposebel. Yu here from us in a few days."

    http://www.universityarchives.com/we.../50158-001.jpg


    Thousands of men, women and children were involved in searching for the child. The story spread across the nation about the child and millions hoped that he would be returned.. Here, and in Europe, people were shocked that such an evil crime could be perpetrated. Kidnapping was so unheard of at the time that there were no laws to cover such a crime!

    The case dragged on throughout the summer and fall, with every lead and tiny clue checked out. Without the communications systems that we have today, it was a tedious and frustrating task.

    People reported seeing what they thought was the lost child, but each lead proved to be wrong. Men with little boys were stopped and questioned around the world!

    Charlie was the first lost or kidnapped child to have his image placed on a product container! That's right! Charlie's likeness was embossed onto cologne bottles! Also, fliers were sent throughout the state in an effort to enlist the public's help.

    On December 13, 1874, two men were shot while robbing a home. One of the robbers died immediately while the other, Joseph Douglas, lived just long enough to admit the kidnapping. When he was asked who had the child he replied, "Ask Mosher," pointing to the body of his partner, not realizing he was dead. William Mosher was the only one who knew where Charlie was.

    Charlie was never found. On some of the bottles with Charlie's image, he is dressed like a little girl because it was believed that this was how the kidnappers hid him.

    Mrs. Ross's health broke and the family spent $60,000 in the search for the boy. When the money ran out, Mr. Ross wrote a book about the kidnaping and he continued the hunt for the last 20 years of his life.

    For years, men came forward claiming to be Charlie, but for 65 years the court system recognized none of them as Charlie.

    In 1923, a Kansas man, then 53, said that he thought that he was Charlie Ross. He did not know he was a boy until he was 13 and ran away from home. He had been dressed as a girl and never sent to school. He was always kept in hiding or at work in the kitchen. He said that the woman whom he thought was his mother once said that his name was Charlie Ross, but he paid little attention to that until he read of the kidnaping in 1922.

    Dozens of other men claimed to be Charlie Ross and some were from Michigan but, to this day, nobody knows for sure what happened to Charlie.

    The crime was not repeated until the 1920's, with the Lindbergh child. And the two crimes were almost a perfect parallel in their similarities.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    thFrom "Ransom Kidnapping in America" by Patterson Smith -

    It is generally agreed that the first American kidnaping for ransom took place on July 1, 1874 in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Charley Ross, the son of a merchant of comfortable but not wealthy means was walking with his older brother Walter when they were enticed into a buggy by two men who offered them candy. Walter was released many blocks away but not Charley. Not certain that his son was the victim of a crime, the distraught father placed an advertisement in a Philadelphia paper: "Lost—a small boy, about four years of age, light complexion, and light curly hair."

    When no result followed, Ross placed another ad offering a $300 reward. An unsigned letter arrived advising him that his son was being held for ransom, that "no powers on earth" could free him, and that his life was forfeit if detectives were put on his trail. The letter was replete with misspellings so frequent and systematic that they seemed purposeful. It was the beginning of a series of 23 letters from the abductors and a remarkable correspondence in the annals of crime.

    A few days later Ross received the second letter, which set the ransom at the then enormous sum of $20,000 and again threatened the life of the boy if detectives were put on the case. Ross was directed to respond through the personal columns of a city newspaper, a medium in wide use before the age of the telephone. The police discounted the kidnapers’ threats and advised the father against paying ransom lest further abductions be encouraged. Several weeks went by while Ross, at the bidding of the police, made equivocating replies to the kidnapers’ letters, which grew longer and more insistent but never left any clues which the police could seize on.

    Despite massive searches for the buggy and its occupants, the Philadelphia police could make no headway. The authorities made offers of reward for information leading to the boy and called on the Pinkerton Detective Agency for assistance. On August 22 Pinkertons issued a three-page circular on which was pasted a copy of the only known photograph of the boy, taken at age two-and-one-half. The circular offered a reward of $20,000 and listed identifying questions to be put to any child thought to be Charley. ("Question: Who is your uncle on Washington Lane? Answer: Uncle Joe. Question: What horse does mama drive? Answer: Polly.")

    On September 1 Pinkertons made a much broader distribution of a single-sheet reward flyer. It contained a lithograph of a painting that had been derived from the photograph by an artist working with the Ross family to provide an up-to-date likeness. This flyer generated thousands of false leads from around the Eastern seaboard, including a youngster named Charley Loss, who, when asked his name, was thought to be the missing child talking with a lisp. The entire nation became caught up in the Ross tragedy and a song entitled "Bring Back Our Darling" was published in sheet-music form. Its last verse began: "O Father in Heaven, please hear Thou our pray’r! / Pray soften the hearts of those men / Who robbed us of one who is dearer than all / To bring back our darling again."

    Unknown to the general public, the first break in the case had come the previous month in New York City, where Police Superintendent George Walling was approached by a man with underworld connections. The informer told Walling that his brother, a burglar named William Mosher, had once proposed that he join him in a kidnaping plot similar to what transpired in Philadelphia. The informer, who had turned down the offer, added that his brother had also written a novel with a kidnaping plot. Mosher was said to be accompanied by a younger burglar named Joseph Douglas (or Douglass).

    The informer also told the superintendent about a discharged policeman named William Westervelt, whose sister was married to Mosher. Walling got in touch with Westervelt and brought him into the investigation on an informal and confidential basis, while keeping his own detectives on the case. Westervelt was to attempt to locate the burglars through his sister.

    Day after day passed while Westervelt supposedly sought out Mosher and Douglas, whose whereabouts always seemed to elude him.

    Walling began to wonder whether Westervelt was dutifully tracing the suspects or warning them about the policemen’s own efforts. In the meantime Ross continued to hear from the kidnapers, whose letters were growing more impatient. The letters were now arriving from various post offices outside of New York City and Ross was replying to his correspondents through the personal columns of newspapers published in that city.

    After several weeks had passed with Ross, at police behest, stringing the kidnapers along, the desperate father decided to meet the kidnapers’ terms. "The public were clamorous for the arrest and punishment of the kidnappers at any cost, yet were ignorant of the risk to the life of my child and consequent terror to which I was subjected," Ross wrote later. "It is comparatively easy to sacrifice another man’s child for the public good." But Ross’s change in policy had come too late. When various arrangements to deliver the ransom misfired, communications from the holders of his son ceased.

    In December events took a critical turn when a night alarm signaled a break-in at the summer home of a Long Island resident. Neighbors surprised two intruders and mortally wounded them when gunfire erupted between the two groups. One burglar identified himself as Douglas and his partner as Mosher. As Douglas lay dying he said: "It’s no use lying now. Mosher and I stole Charley Ross from Germantown." Asked where the boy was, Douglas replied, "I don’t know where he is. Mosher knows." But Mosher now lay dead. Just before he himself expired, Douglas said, "The child will be returned safe and sound in a few days." That indeed is what everyone expected, but it was not to be. Charley was never seen again.

    Mosher and Douglas were identified in the morgue by young Walter Ross as the men who had driven away with his brother and him in the buggy. In January of the next year the mayor of Philadelphia issued a circular to law-enforcement agencies. It bore the outdated photograph of Charley and carried a printed description of the child, his deceased abductors, their horse and buggy, a boat which they had used to approach their Long Island target, and other facts of possible use to investigators. The circular was headed "Confidential" and recipients were asked to "disseminate judiciously the facts set forth." Like earlier efforts, it produced no useful leads.

    With the supposed kidnapers dead and no sign of Charley, the frustrated police now turned on Westervelt as their only target within reach. His many prevarications in his dealings with the authorities had convinced them of his complicity in the crime—if not in its actual commission, at least in shielding the kidnapers afterwards. The ex-policeman was brought to trial in Philadelphia in August, 1875, convicted on several counts of conspiracy in the kidnaping, and sentenced to the penitentiary.

    Immediately upon completion of the trial, Barclay, the prolific Philadelphia publisher of factual and fictional crime pamphlets, issued the Life, Trial, and Conviction of William H. Westervelt for the Abduction of Little Charley Ross (1875) in printed wrappers. At the head of the title are the words "American versus Italian Brigandage," which bespeaks the feeling at the time that child-stealing was a peculiarly Sicilian practice (the homes of Italian immigrants had been among the first searched by the Philadelphia police).
    For Christian Ross, Charley’s father, the case did not end with the death of Mosher and Douglas or the imprisonment of Westervelt. Two years after the kidnaping he wrote The Father’s Story of Charley Ross, the Kidnapped Child, published by John E. Potter in 1876.
    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.
    Last edited by CHIOSSO; 06-29-2009 at 01:00 PM.
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  2. #2
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default

    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  3. #3
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default

    sadly it was not the lost boy

    9/2/1877 new york times

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...BF66838C669FDE
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  4. #4
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default "a mystery."

    July 1 Headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "A MYSTERY." The story: "On Wednesday last, Charley Brewster Ross, aged 4 years and his brother, aged 6, sons of Christian K. Ross, were playing in a lane in the rear of their residence, Germantown, when a wagon containing 2 men drove up, and at their invitation the children got in for the purpose of taking a ride. The vehicle was driven off and the oldest boy was....put out of the carriage, but Charley, the youngest, is still missing. The former states that he had been given some money by one of the men to buy shooting crackers, and that he started for the store for that purpose, but when he returned, the carriage and his little brother were missing."


    The abduction of Charley Ross was America's 1st major kidnapping for ransom. The 2 kidnappers asked $20,000. Ross's fairly wealthy father, determined not "to compound a felony," refused to pay it. P. T. Barnum came forward, offering to pay the ransom if he could exhibit Charley Ross once the boy was released. Barnum's offer was ignored. Later, the elder Ross tried to negotiate with the kidnappers through classified ads, but following police advice, he continued to withhold the ransom. The kidnappers were trapped during a robbery and were both shot to death. Little Charley Ross was never found.

    Trivia on United States and American History: 1874 | Trivia Library

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...B5668383669FDE

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...BE66838F669FDE

    $20,000. REWARD!
    Last edited by CHIOSSO; 06-29-2009 at 01:01 PM.
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  5. #5
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default

    THE CHARLEY ROSS ABDUCTION.; TRIAL OF WESTERVELT IN PHILADELPHIA RESUMED--WALTER ROSS TESTIFIES THE BAY RIDGE BURGLARS WERE THE ABDUCTORS.

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...BF66838E669FDE

    http://www.answers.com/topic/charley-ross
    Last edited by CHIOSSO; 07-02-2009 at 09:00 PM.
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  6. #6
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default

    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  7. #7
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default man claims to be kidnapped boy

    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  8. #8
    Rod Miller is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Chiosso, et al RE: Charley Ross

    I have sent you an e-mail with detail regarding my interest in communicating with you. I am a descendant of Rinear Miller who, in the story alleging Gustave Blair was actually Charley Ross, swore by affidavit to have cared for the abducted child, Charley Ross, in July 1874. His testimony by affidavit was crucial in the 1939 AZ jury trial declaring Gustave Blair to be Charley Ross, a finding adamantly denied by the Ross family. Please take a moment if you can and reply. Any readers of this thread are also welcome to contact me through my registered e-mail. Thank you.

  9. #9
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default

    i received no email Rod. PM me.
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  10. #10
    Rod Miller is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Chiosso: I am having some technical difficulties with this site but believe I have successfully navigated to send you a PM. Please let me know if you do not get the PM. In the PM, I gave you an e-mail address that I'd prefer we use to communicate with each other. I anxiously await your response. Rod

  11. #11
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

    Default 'We Is Got Him': Delving into a mysterious Philadelphia kidnapping

    Inquirer Staff Writer

    By the time photos of missing or abducted children appeared on milk cartons in the 1980s, American parents were terrified of kidnappers.

    They had learned, in large part from the Lindbergh baby kidnapping in 1932, to fear the presence of strangers in proximity to their children.

    But more than 50 years before little Charles Lindbergh Jr. was snatched from his crib, another child with fetching blond curls, also named Charles, was stolen from the front lawn of his home on Washington Lane in Germantown.

    'We Is Got Him': Delving into a mysterious Philadelphia kidnapping | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/15/2011


    The disappearance of 4-year-old Charley Ross was the nation's first recorded case of kidnapping for ransom, says Philadelphia author Carrie Hagen, who explores the peculiarities of the case and its impact on the country's psyche in We Is Got Him: The Kidnapping That Changed America. (Overlook Press, $27.95).
    Moyamensing became known for its penitentiary, violent hose company, cemeteries, wretchedly poor inhabitants, and crime. Harry C. Silcox

  12. #12
    CHIOSSO's Avatar
    CHIOSSO is offline Schuylkill Ranger
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    2 TWELVE FOOT ALLEY
    Posts
    5,322

 

 

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2