In the January 2010 issue, Downhome ran the story “The Lost Boys of Markland,” about three boys who were lost in the woods overnight near Markland in 1954. At the time of the incident, Frank Parsons, Cliff Hurley and Steven Griffin didn’t know whether they’d live to see the dawn, let alone old age.
Incredibly, just days after the January issue was delivered to readers, Downhome received a call from one of the boys, Steven Griffin, and through him we located the other two as well.
We found Cliff living in Old Shop, Newfoundland. He told us that despite his harrowing experience, he returned to the forest as a logger in the same area where he got lost years before.
“We worked on that block of woods afterwards for a couple years,” he says. “We went right back to where they found us.”
The land around that spot is different now. It’s not a forest anymore but houses and new development. Cliff says he doesn’t think about that night much anymore, and the 70 year old still goes out to cut firewood in nearby woods.
Over half a century has passed, but Cliff can still remember the logans he wore that night. Logans are knee-high boots with rubber soles that were popular at the time.
Cliff got out of the forest without frostbite, but Stephen lost the two biggest toes on each foot. The rescuers gave 16-year-old Stephen a shot of brandy to warm him up and took him to the hospital.
“The boys got me on their back and carried me out,” says Stephen from him current home in Ontario. “It’s amazing that I’m still here.”
Stephen survived but his dreams of being a police officer like his father were permanently lost with his toes. He applied to the military, but his injuries held him back from that as well.
“That really discouraged me,” he says. “My father gave me enough money to get to Ontario, I got work and I stayed here.”
Downhome couldn’t reach Frank Parsons by press time, but according to his family he’s living in New Harbour, Newfoundland.
Stephen says when the wind howls outside in winter, he still thinks of the night he spent the Markland forest.
“When you break open a window, you hear that whistling,” he says. “I hear that and I have to slam the window because I get deathly cold.”
I'm so very proud of my dad. he has faced alot of adversity in his life and overcome all of it.
Eugene Tizzard (New Brunswick) says:
I remember that incident and I think it was Stephen that I met through a frend of mine, Bert Moore. I believe they were related somehow. We (Bert and I) had gone there for the 24th of May weekend. Steve related the incident and how he had to learn to keep his balance when he walked. It's strange how I came upon this atricle just after the 24th of May weekend 2010.
Gene Tizzard, NB