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The Salvation Army in Corvallis in 1902
Corvallis Gazette December 5, 1902, pg. 3Edmund Creffield in the Salvation Army
The big drum of the Salvation Army is no longer in evidence about eight o'clock each evening and tambourines are very cheap in Corvallis. The army has gone to its religious "Waterloo"--it met a body of Divine Healers, Army of Holiness, or something, and went over to the enemy. True religion of a respectable character, a religion that is reasonable, that commands at least the respect of the greatest thinkers and the better class of people, is the last thing on earth that should be treated in a contemptuous manner. But a "holy show" that is a burlesque on religion is a bad thing for any community as it is not taken seriously and consequently lays the foundation for the youth of the land to scoff at religion in any form. There should be reason and moderation in all things. There may be efficacy in prayer--who can say there is not?--but it must be the prayer of a sane mind and a reasonable being. The prayer of a religious fanatic cannot avail much.

Corvallis Times June 10, 1903

Major Brooks Forsakes the Salvation Army and Joins the Comeouters.
Major Charles Edward Brooks who has had charge of the Salvation Army work in this locality for some months has a charge of desertion laid against him by his former associate and ex-comrade who so long marched by the major's side in pursuance of his duty as a lieutenant of the Corvallis corps. "Yes," said Lt. Mannes to a Times writer, "the major has deserted us. In his talks on the street you no doubt have heard him declare how certain he was that was saved in the army. At last he concluded that he was not saved and affected to to believe that he could be saved only through the Comeouters. He pretends to know now that he is saved and affected to believe that he could be saved only through the Comeouters. He pretends to know now that he is saved, but whether he was lying before or now I can not tell. Ever since months ago so many members of the army here went over to the Comeouters, or Holy Rollers as they are sometimes designated, the work of the army has been very difficult because that organization seems to make a greater effort to win members of other churches than it does to win sinners." These were the words of Lt. Mannes, spoken in a dejected manner, and he was doubtless much affected by conditions of affairs. Ensign Brown, who has charge of the social work of the army in Portland was here Monday to wind up the affairs of the organization in Corvallis. He gave up the building in which meetings have been held, and the furniture and fixtures were stored for the present in rooms near by. The Salvation Army is to withdraw from Corvallis for an indefinite time. The boom of the bass drum is hushed, and the notes of "Down Where the Living Waters Flow" is silent, possibly forever in Corvallis.

At one time membership of the Salvation Army here numbered about 25, but some months ago they went over almost in a body to a sect established here denominated Comeouters. This new order is apparently very devout, but their customs, rites and formalities are so queer and unusual that the organization has been the subject of much comment from those who do not enter fully into the idea of allowing persons to worship God in the manner that seems to them best. At present the Comeouters are holding a protracted camp meeting on the Kiger Island, and here it was that Major Brooks was converted to their belief. It is said that the conversion of of Brooks was quite spectacular; that in his spiritual excitement he saw and described the devil approaching enwrapped in a network of snakes, and having frogs, lizards and other hideous reptiles clinging to his body; that as a means of placating his devilish majesty he tore off his Salvation Army cap and coat and hurled them into the fire. Then he swooned and became oblivious to his surroundings, and incident common to the rites of the sect.

Access to the camp ground and to the services is not enjoyed by the public, presumably for the reason that many wish to attend through curiosity mainly.

Corvallis Times April 19, 1904
The old Salvation hall is being remodeled and will be occupied by the Corvallis Steam Laundry about May 15.
The work of the Salvation Army continued elsewhere, though. In Portland, Sergeant-Major Phoebe Mitchell, the sister of two of Creffield's most devoted followers, married days after Edmund Creffield's arrest.

"We do solemnly swear that we seek this union not alone for our own happiness," Phoebe and her husband to be vowed, "though we hope that through it it may be advanced, but because we believe we will be better fitted to carry on the work of the Salvation Army. We will in no way let this union come between us and the work of the Salvation Army. We will each of us not object to anything the other may desire to do to further the work of God through the Salvation Army."

The Morning Oregonian's headline, "Wife Second, Army First," succinctly told readers how this was not going to be your typical marriage.


Holy Rollers

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Holy Rollers is a story that has everything a good read should have: sex, religious fervor, mass insanity, the downfall of prominent families, murder and sensational court trials.

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Sample Chapters from Holy Rollers:
Murder and Madness in Oregon's Love Cult


The Cast of Characters
Photos and Bios of the Holy Rollers


Holy Rollers' Asylum Commitment Papers


Info for Book Groups

Book Reviews


1903 to 1907 Newspaper Articles About the Holy Rollers

1906 Editorial Calling for Gun Control
After Multiple Murders Involving the Holy Rollers

Stewart Holbrook Holy Rollers Article

Advertisements from 1893 to 1913


Oregon Insane Asylum
Where the Holy Rollers Were Committed

Creffield, Brainwashing & Thought Reform

Early Cases of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

1906 Autopsies Of Holy Rollers
Forensics Before CSI

Holy Roller Bizarre Divorce Decree
Hartley describes trying to kill his wife's lover


Comedians on Edmund Creffield

The Shadow Testament
A Play About The Holy Rollers

How the Fire Fell
A Movie About The Holy Rollers


Life in Corvallis in the early 1900s

Life in Waldport, OR in early 1900s

Heaven's Gate

Facts & Stats about 1906
And How The Holy Rollers Measured Up

Oregon State Penitentiary
Where Creffield Was Incarcerated


Info about Cults

Could you ever be lured into joining a cult?

Share your thoughts about, and experiences with, cults


Creffield's Preachings

Creffield Vs. Crefeld

The Salvation Army Opening Fire in 1886

Holy Roller Theology

Reverend Knapp's Bible Songs of Salvation & Victory
Songs Sung by the Holy Rollers


About the Authors

Theresa (T-) McCracken

Robert B. Blodgett

In addition to writing, McCracken is a cartoonist.

To see some of her 'toons, go to the Home of McHumor Cartoons mchumor.com

McCracken's Blog

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Snail Mail
Theresa (T-) McCracken
890 North Bayview Loop
Waldport, Oregon 97394

(541) 563-3112


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Theresa (T-) McCracken