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The Black Buccaneer

By Stephen W. Meader

On the morning of the 15th of July, 1718, anyone who had been standing on the low rocks of the Penobscot Bay shore might have seen a large, clumsy boat of hewn planking making its way out against the tide that set strongly up into the river mouth. She was loaded deep with a shifting, noisy cargo that lifted white noses and huddled broad, woolly backs—in fact, nothing less extraordinary than fifteen fat Southdown sheep and a sober-faced collie-dog. The crew of this remarkable craft consisted of a sinewy, bearded man of forty-five who minded sheet and tiller in the stern, and a boy of fourteen, tall and broad for his age, who was constantly employed in soothing and restraining the bleating flock.

No one was present to witness the spectacle because, in those remote days, there were scarcely a thousand white men on the whole coast of Maine from Kittery to Louisberg, while at this season of the year, the Indians were following the migrating game along the northern rivers. The nearest settlement was a tiny log hamlet, ten miles up the bay, which the two voyagers had left that morning.

The boy’s keen face, under its shock of sandy hair, was turned toward the sea and the dim outline of land that smudged the southern horizon.

Jeremy”Father,” he suddenly asked, “how big is the Island?”

“You’ll see soon enough, Jeremy. Stop your questioning,” answered the man. “We’ll be there before night and I’ll leave you with the sheep. You’ll be lonesome, too, if I mistake not.”

“Huh!” snorted Jeremy to himself.

Indeed it was not very likely that this lad, raised on the wildest of frontiers, would mind the prospect of a night alone on an island ten miles out at sea. He had seen Indian raids before he was old enough to know what frightened him; had tried his best with his fists to save his mother in the Amesbury massacre, six years before; and in a little settlement on the Saco River, when he was twelve, he had done a man’s work at the blockhouse loophole, loading nearly as fast and firing as true as any woodsman in the company. Danger and strife had given the lad an alert self-confidence far beyond his years.

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Stephen W. Meader

Stephen W. Meader (May 2, 1892 – July 18, 1977) was the writer of over forty novels for young readers. His optimistic stories generally tended to either concern young men developing independent businesses in the face of adversity, or else young men caught up in adventures during different periods in American history.


Meader graduated from Haverford College in Philadelphia in 1913, and initially worked in Newark, New Jersey as a cruelty officer with the Essex County Children’s Aid Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and by 1915 was working for the Big Brother Movement. After working for a Chicago publishing house in 1916, he took a position with the Circulation Department of the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, eventually reaching the position of Editor of the Sales Division publications. His first novel, The Black Buccaneer, was the first juvenile publication of the newly founded Harcourt, Brace, and Howe. Today all (or nearly all) of his novels are available in reprint from Southern Skies.

He moved his family to Moorestown Township, New Jersey in 1922.


  • The Black Buccaneer (1920) – Pirates along the Atlantic coast in the 18th century
  • Down the Big River (1924) – The voyage of a frontier family down the Ohio River in pioneer days.
  • Longshanks (1928) – a story of the Mississippi River and how the young hero became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln.
  • Red Horse Hill (1930) – Farm life in New Hampshire and a thrilling country horse race.
  • Away to Sea (1931) – Jim Slater runs away to sea, discovering too late that he had signed up on a slave ship bound for Africa.
  • King of the Hills (1933)
  • Lumberjack (1934) – Dan earns the money for college by becoming a lumberjack in the New Hampshire woods.
  • The Will to Win and Other Stories (1936) – a collection of sports stories.
  • Trap Lines North (1936)
  • Who Rides in the Dark? (1937) – Dan Drew, stableboy in a New Hampshire country inn in 1827, helps in the arrest of a band of highwaymen.
  • T-Model Tommy (1938) – How Tom Ballard built up his own trucking business.
  • Boy with a Pack (1939) – Adventures of a boy who went to Ohio country in 1837. (Newbery Honor)
  • Bat, the Story of a Bull Terrier (1939)
  • Clear for Action! (1940) – A Maine boy’s adventures as an impressed seaman aboard a British ship in the War of 1812.
  • Blueberry Mountain (1941) – Two boys start a blueberry farm in the Pocono Mountains and develop it into a thriving business.
  • Shadow in the Pines (1942) – A fifteen-year-old New Jersey boy helps to capture a Nazi spy ring that threatens Fort Dix.
  • The Sea Snake (1943) – A teenager from the Outer Banks of North Carolina finds himself captured and a prisoner in a German submarine.
  • The Long Trains Roll (1944) – a young railroad worker helps the FBI deal with saboteurs.
  • Skippy’s Family (1945) – The true story of Skippy, a mongrel dog who for 17 years was a member of the Meader family.
  • Jonathan Goes West (1946) – The pageantry of America’s westward movement is caught in this exciting story of an adventurous journey from Maine to Illinois in 1845.
  • Behind the Ranges (1947) – Dick Randolph discovers a strange sort of human being in the unexplored loveliness of the Olympic Mountains of our Northwest.
  • River of the Wolves (1948)
  • Cedar’s Boy (1949) – a vivid, swift-moving story of the harness races at the Riverdale Fair. Authentic Americana has some of the same characters as Red Horse Hill.
  • Whaler ‘Round the Horn (1950) – Rodney Glenn ships out of New Bedford on a memorable whaling voyage that leads him to the magic islands of Hawaii.
  • Bulldozer (1951)
  • The Fish Hawk’s Nest (1952) – Cape May New Jersey is the setting of this dramatic tale of smuggling in the 1880s.
  • Sparkplug of the Hornets (1953) – an exciting story of a small high school basketball team and its uphill fight for the state championship.
  • The Buckboard Stranger (1954)
  • Guns for the Saratoga (1955)
  • Sabre Pilot (1956) – The action-packed story of Kirk Owen who enlists in the US Air Force and becomes a jet fighter pilot in the Korean War.
  • Everglades Adventure (1957)
  • The Commodore’s Cup (1958)
  • Wild Pony Island (1959) – a city boy is transplanted to North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island, noted for its wild ponies, and finds a new and challenging way of life.
  • Buffalo And Beaver (1960)
  • Snow on Blueberry Mountain (1961)
  • Phantom of the Blockade (1962)
  • The Muddy Road to Glory (1963)
  • Stranger on Big Hickory (1964)
  • A Blow for Liberty (1965)
  • Topsail Island Treasure (1966)
  • Keep ‘Em Rolling (1967)
  • Lonesome End (1968) – A shy young cowboy finds a place for himself on the high school football team in his western Kansas town.
  • The Cape May Packet (1969)

Stephen W. Meader

Stephen W. Meader