The Llewelyn Davies boys
Here are the originals---The Llewelyn Davies boys, Jack, George and Peter, armed and ready in 1901, as documented by James M, Barrie in a special book he made for the family he grew to love and play with. The boys were the inspiration for his stories, and his stories eventually became Peter Pan. There are pictures of lost boy gangs in nearly every boy's family album. Here's one from mine, about 1951.
I'm the deadeye Dick, shooting center. We had no need of Peter Pan, we could fly down the wild arroyo right outside. And we all had mothers to bake us cookies, read us stories, tuck us in, and make sure none of us ate too much rich damp cake. We were gone from sunrise to sunset, which never happens to kids anymore. We were gay, and innocent, and heartless.
Not much has changed, actually.