The Sleeper Street Gang by Fredonia’s Marshall Seddon is the latest book release from Buffalo-based NFB Publishing.
Tom Edwards and his cousin Neil are perplexed. They’re teenagers on a fishing and camping trip during the 1960s with their fathers, uncles and cousins. It’s the last fishing trip that the men and their boys will take together. The Henry Motors Automobile Factory is closing and all of the families are heading their separate ways. “All of the great fishing holes,” their Uncle Walter tells them. “We’ll fish for bass, trout, Walleye and Muskellunge. And we’ll camp at all of the best campgrounds any of us has ever heard of. It’ll be the trip of a lifetime. Just the men; the women don’t want to go.”
The men — brothers and friends — grew up together on a small lane called Sleeper Street during the Depression. They went off to war and then returned to raise their families. They call themselves the Sleeper Street Gang. But Tom and Neil notice something strange: The men sit up together late at night, poring over a book by lantern light and whispering. The boys know what the book is: it’s their grandfather’s journal. They’re determined to find out what’s in it.
Tom sleeps in the back of his father’s Pontiac station wagon at night and the journal is kept in his Uncle Walter’s satchel, which he keeps on the front seat floor. Tom decides to read it. What he finds, reading by flashlight late at night, is the story of a coal miner who immigrated to America from Wales after fighting in World War I. But he’s not just a simple coal miner; he is a member of the infamous Blodwyns, a secret organization of Welsh miners who use sabotage and violence against the mining company on behalf of the miner’s union. He also finds that there was a robbery of the company bank that was never solved. Somewhere in the journal are clues to the robbery, and the answers to several dark family secrets.
Seddon graduated from Fredonia State University in 1971. He served six years in the New York State National Guard, taught history at Brocton Central School for 40 years and was a founding member of the Blackhorse Rugby Football Club. He enjoys fly fishing and playing jazz guitar. He and his wife Heidi live in Fredonia, and they have eight children.