The Stolen Boy

1879 CDV photo of four-year-old Charlie (AKA Charley) Ross, “The Stolen Boy”. On July 1, 1874, Charlie was abducted from in front of his home in Germantown, Pennsylvania by two men offering him candy and fireworks. Though the family continued to search for the boy for decades, he was never heard from again. The phrase “Don’t take candy from strangers” is said to have come about from this incident. In this CDV, Charlie is shown surrounded by dark clouds, which were commonly used in memorial photography and paintings; at this point, several years after his abduction, most assumed the worst.

The Thanatos Archive also owns a memorial stereoview of Charlie. If you’re member, just log into your account and type Ross in the search box to view it.

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Miner’s Grave, 1863

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[ Half-plate ambrotype, 1863 ] The grave of Thomas Henry Johns, who was born in 1836 in England. Around 1860, Thomas, his two brothers and their wives came over to the US and soon started working as miners at the Minesota (correct spelling) copper mine in Rockland, Michigan.

In August of 1863, Thomas died after falling down a mine shaft… (you can make out the word “accidental(ly)” on his grave marker); his wife Ellen was about 5-6 months pregnant at the time, and went back to their hometown of Breage, England almost immediately after Thomas’s burial, where she gave birth to Thomas, Jr., and died 56 years later having never remarried.
In 1863, Rockland wasn’t even an official town yet, it was just a few settlements of about 80 houses set up by the Minesota Mining Company for the miners and their families.. you can see some of the homes in the background. In 1864 the three settlements were consolidated into Rockland.
I’ve had this ambrotype for years but have never been able to find the exact location of Thomas’s grave.. just that it’s somewhere in the hills around the mine. It looks like it was made of wood, so there’s a good chance that all trace of it is gone now; pics I have seen of the area where the mine was shows mostly overgrown woods where the mine was (
I found this early pic online labeled Minesota mine.. the big white building looks like it might be the same seen in my ambrotype.

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Poor Sweet Child (Blog Exclusive)


A circa 1860 stereoview showing a sick, dying (or already dead?) girl in bed, surrounded by medicine bottles and having her pulse checked by a doctor, while mother (?) waits anxiously nearby. This appears to be a staged “genre” scene, however, “Ella Platt & Dr. Mansfield”, along with “Poor Sweet Child”, is written in period handwriting on the back. Thanatos Archive membership options @

Young Boy at Father’s Grave (Blog Exclusive)


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January, 1925: 4-year-old John McNamara Jr. taking flowers to the grave of his father, who died in 1922 at 41 years old. His grave is located in East New Market Cemetery, in Maryland. John Jr. died in 1969 at the age of 48.

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Updated Subscription Rates for 2019


We’ve introduced new, lower subscription rates for 2019. If you want to lock in this price, now is a good time to become a Thanatos Archive member.
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