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Captured Runaway Boys Go on the Lam Again

Newspapers called them the “Tarzans of Dark Hollow.”  In April 1937 the two Harris boys, 14-year-old Robert and 10-year-old David, 10 ran away from home and began living off the land behind their home in Dark Hollow, Ore.

The Jackson County sheriff and two state police officers searched for two weeks before capturing them around their campfire one night.  The boys said they were running away from home, more than from school, and wanted go to Portland where their father was living. The boys spent a week playing and reading on the roof of the jail while officials debated what to do with them.

The Harris boys finally agreed to return home and to school in return for new clothes and a vacation trip to see their father donated by the Red Cross. They also agreed to pull weeds and pick fruit for the people robbed of chickens and a piglet during their time in the woods.

Everyone found the Harris boys bright and charming and were happy not to send the them to a state institution. 

Two weeks later they ran away again.


Sources: "Dark Hollow "Tarzans" Going Back to School." Medford Mail Tribune 23 Apr. 1937: 1+. Print; "Dark Hollow Tarzans on Loose Again." Medford News 7 May 1937: 1B. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.