“We Is Got Him” the Kidnapping That Changed America by Carrie Hagen

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In the non-fictional book we is got him: The Kidnapping that Changed America by Carrie Hagen, she chronicles the first kidnapping for ransom in United States’ history. On July 1, 1874, Brothers Charley and Walter Ross, ages 4 and 5 were kidnapped from their front yard of their Germantown, Pennsylvania home. The sons of a local business man named Christian Ross; the boys were kidnapped under the assumption that they would be of high value. As the boys played outside, the kidnappers, William Mosher and Joseph Douglas approached them with candy in hand to lure the boys into their nearby wagon. The boys did not shy away from either of the men. Charley, the younger brother, asked the man to take him to one of the local shops in order to buy him some firecrackers. With both boys aboard the wagon, the kidnappers headed to a tobacco store that sold the firecrackers. Along the way, Walter made frequent inquiries about their whereabouts. The men quickly realized that Walter was much too smart for his own good. When Walter came back outside with firecrackers in hand, the wagon with Charley still aboard had vanished. The kidnapping of 4-year-old Charley Ross ignited a level of national hysteria all too uncommon place during that time in the United States.

The word of Charley’s disappearance quickly circulated throughout the community. The day after the kidnapping many eyewitnesses stepped forward with information. A local doctor recounted that on the day before the kidnapping he saw two men in a dirty buggy near the Ross’ residence. A few days prior, a handyman remembered hearing a stranger talking to the Ross boys and offering them candy. Another neighbor also reported seeing a man offer candy to the boys previously. Christian Ross, the boys’ father, immediately placed an advertisement in the “Lost and Found” column of the Philadelphia Public Ledger. The advertisement went as follows, “Lost- A SMALL BOY, ABOUT FOUR YEARS of age, light complexion and light curly hair. A...
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