Artists rendering of Charley Ross
by Michael Thomas Barry
On December 14, 1874, a botched burglary attempt at the home of wealthy New Yorker Holmes Van Brunt leads to the possible perpetrators of notorious child kidnapping. On July 1, 1874, Charley (then four years old) and his older brother Walter Lewis (aged five) were playing in the front yard of their family's home in Germantown, a well-to-do section of Philadelphia. A horse-drawn carriage pulled up and they were approached by two men who offered the boys candy and fireworks if they would take a ride with them.