1926 1926 1948

Stoner's Boy

This is the first book in a loose trilogy, consisting of the books Stonerís Boy, The Red Runners, and The Gray Ghost.  

Summary: Stonerís Boy and his gang are causing a lot of trouble on the river bank.  They steal just about anything they can get their hands on, commit acts of vandalism, and are quite violent.  Stonerís Boy himself shoots several arrows at the boys and the Pelhams, even hitting and injuring one club member and one Pelham member.  The book ends with Stonerís Boy attempting to set a trap for the boys in Cliff Cave, by releasing in the cave a huge dangerous flying bat that he has stolen.  However, the bat attacks Stonerís Boy, and he falls into the pit in the cave.  His body is not recovered, and he is presumed drowned and lost. 

*(FOR TKAM STUDENTS: both Stoners Boy and The Gray Ghost books contain the various references used in the TKAM novel.)

"One of the best books in the Hawkins series. It has humor, adventure and mystery, and presents boy characters of various types in a new light. In this volume, Seckatary Hawkins tells how his "Fair and Square" club was started on the old river bank, and how he and his chums would meet every day after school in their little clubhouse to solve the mystery of "Stoner's Boy", an interesting, mysterious character, who would appear all of a sudden and disappear almost as quickly. The climax of this story is one of the most thrilling anyone could wish for." - from DJ.

Stoner's Boy introduction gives a brief history of the club and the reason for forming - "To figure ways to steer clear of trouble". The book begins as the Fair and Square Club's meeting-minutes book is opened, (where Seck wrote every day), and invites the reader to "read for yourself the strange case of Stoner's Boy."

Written as daily entries in the club minute book. The dime a week dues are hidden under a loose floorboard in the houseboat clubhouse. The gray ghost, dressed in gray with a "kerchief" mask perpetually over his face, skates his entry into the boys riverbank world by tying up a stolen greyhound to their snow fort. - (Louisiana Lou, the Squire's prize winning hound). Johnny McLarren is captain, but is voted out. Dick Ferris was elected new captain. Dick was previously unable to pay his dues and sometimes helped the Pelham's who paid the old dues for him. Jerry Moore stimulated the club to elect Dick president while Seck and Lew Hunter were afraid Jerry was stumping for himself. Stolen sheep from the Dobel farm are attributed to Stoner's doings; but then, Link Lambert appears to be the one secreting sheep into the old cliff cave - Stoner's hiding place. Link was working with his dad and the Sheriff to catch the real thief - Stoner's boy and his Daddy. Mr. Stoner is captured and jailed, but his boy escapes.

Stoner has a secret rope that swings him over a large pit in the cave. Stoner takes a dare from Johnny to show his face and delivers a reply in person - no one realizes it is Stoner himself until he is gone, and no one remembers what he looked like except for the very blue eyes which were always uncovered anyway.

Briggen, captain of the rival Pelham gang across the river from the Fair and Square Clubhouse, particularly runs afoul of Stoner's boy when he steals his car/boat (spider car). Briggen is kept prisoner in Stoner's house in Watertown, and then transferred to the cliff cave where the F&S boys are able to saw him out of an old wooden doorway. Luckily, Link had spied out the whole affair.

Robert (Robby) Hood is introduced as the "stranger boy" with bow and arrow skills. Stoner steals the bow and arrows and shoots at the club boys. Harold Court is determined to catch Stoner - Harold was shot with an arrow and wounded in the wrist and Ham Gardner was shot in the foot. Harold manages to capture Stoner and turn him over to Seck and the gang, but Stoner rolls down a hill and escapes with his signature laugh. Link and Robby are also determined to catch Stoner. The three corner Stoner on the Cliff over the cave, but a rescue party of Stoner's gang foils the plan. Stoner moves his headquarters to seven Willows island, where he confounds the boys by regularly disappearing in a seemingly barren field. But how did he do it? Seck is nominated spy while Harold, Link and Robby set a trap. Seck hides in "fake" bushes on the cliff and uses the field glasses to monitor the cliff to the island and read body signals from Link.

Rags Sanders is captured by the Pelhams as a Stoner's spy, but Jerry Moore springs him and takes him home. Then Rags is captured by sinister Long Tom when he attempts to show the Fair and square boys the secret tunnels on seven willows island. The boys find Rags suffering over exposure, tied in a tree the next day. Later, Rags writes all the secrets of the Stoner gang on paper, and Seck is to take it to Robby. Long Tom is at the window and sees this, and as he secretly traverses the river hidden in a barrel, he almost upsets Seck's canoe as he tries to get the notes. Seck dodges the attack and the boys make plans to trap Long Tom. Stoner upsets the plans and traps the Fair and Square boys in the secret tunnel complete with a leaf fire that Long Tom set - and they narrowly escape. Three finger Fred is found in Stoner's Watertown headquarters and captured by the boys (and Briggen who had been held captive there). Fred is held prisoner in the Pelham shacks, but escapes. The Stoner gang steals Judge Granbery's car, but the boys get it back and capture Long Tom in the process. Robby and Seck sneak into the cave and retrieve the stolen arrows. Seck spies Stoner and Fred carrying a large bamboo cage to the cave. Seck takes a brief chance and convinces Fred to quit the bad-boy gang.

Undaunted, Stoner lets the animal go in the cave and tries to taunt the boys into chasing him back to the cave. When Stoner beats up Little Frankie, it is all the boys can take and they chase Stoner into the cave. Stoner is unexpectedly attacked by the previously caged, unknown animal - it is a huge bat - and falls into the deep pit. The boys look for him, but decide he must be dead. Later, the Judge condemns the club, has the houseboat destroyed ,and forbids the boys to play on the riverbank. Robby, Seck and Doc go back to the cave to retrieve the big lantern he had hidden there, and the bat accosts them - but Robby kills the bat with a spear and ends the danger.

The boys gather at the old Sycamore tree to talk about reforming the club, but need a place to hold meetings. They remember the old shack, and convince Doc to help them sell the idea to the Judge - Which they did.

Of more than casual coincidence is the fact that Charlie Darnell (Link?), Seck's father-in-law, grew up on the Kentucky river in Woodford County, KY. RFS made a 1913 family photo record of an old haunt - a river cliff with a hidden cave! The cave laid the seeds for the story. We found the Cliff Cave on Highway 1964, Clifton, KY.

Copyright © 1921.