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Creffield and the Holy Rollers made page one headlines from 1903 to 1907. When I was researching Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon’s Love Cult I spent months transcribing hundreds of articles. I’m not sure why I was so obsessive. Maybe it was my way of immersing my self into a cult without joining one. Anyway, I’m posting them all for those who are really interested in the story, or are interested the history of journalism, or are interested in how a scandalous story played out in the "media" in a by gone era. Since I no doubt made typos and unconsciously corrected papers' typos, these web pages should not be cited in anything serious (e.g. your dissertation). For such projects they should only be used as starting points and you should refer to the original sources. If you want a shorter version of the story, buy my book. Enjoy.

January 6, 1904: Holy Rollers Tarred and Feathered


Corvallis Times 1/6/1904 p1

Tarred and Feathered

The Holy Roller Apostles Roughly Handled--Married in his new Coat Edmund Creffield


Tar and feathers were administered to Apostles Creffield and Brooks of the Holy Roller sect by a crowd of twenty men Monday night. The affair took place under the light of a winter moon near the first bridge north of the Corvallis saw mill at about 10 o’clock in the evening. The White Caps who were all Corvallis citizens crossed the ferry and went over to the Beach house 200 yards to the eastward. They stole noiselessly up to the house which they surrounded. Then they broke in the front door, took the apostles and recrossing the ferry, went to the bridge in question, where the clothing was removed from both men, and the tar and feathers applied. With the ceremony complete, their clothing was again put on the apostles, and they were told to leave the vicinity, and not to return or worse treatment might be applied. As soon as released, both men started north along the Albany road, running at full speed. While the affair was in progress, Brooks was stoical, never uttering a word. Just before the tar and feathers were applied, however, Creffield, who had trembled all along as though much frightened said, “Let us pray.” “We have heard too much of your prayers already,” was the gruff response of one of the party, and Creffield had nothing more to say.




There was no attempt at secrecy by those who took part in the affair. None wore masks, and none affected a disguise. The identity of many of the party is known, and these are men of standing and character. They say there was not a boy or hoodlum in the party. In the main, they were persons who have felt the results of the strange spell that the apostles have seemed to exert on the members of families, often in a way to bring sorrow and trouble. It is believed that their purpose was not for motives or revenge, but an effort to get Brooks and Creffield out of the community, hoping thereby to secure a rest from the religious agitation which has dethroned the mind of one young woman of its reason, at least temporarily.


The party left Main street about nine o’clock, according to the best obtainable account. Before that they had stood in groups in various places. They did not leave the street together, but passed along in small groups. They met at the ferry, and all crossed together.


1898 Montgomery Ward Furniture advertisementBROKE IN THE DOOR


From the ferry they went direct to the Beach house, 200 yards or more beyond the other side of the river. There a dozen members of the sect have held rendezvous for the past month. Passing in the gate, the members of the party at once surrounded the house, so as to bar all avenues of escape. Then several stalwart men advanced to the font door, and after a loud knock, burst in.

Nearly a dozen members of the sect were in the room, Brooks and Creffield among them. Among the others were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hurt, Mrs. Frank Hurt’s sister, the Misses Seeley, and others whose names could not be learned. Some of them were seated on chairs and others on the floor. A number, if not all were barefooted. At the sudden appearance of the intruders the member of the sect were more or less startled. Brooks and Creffield were at once ordered to put on their shoes. It was however apparent that they were not astonished having lived no doubt in the expectation that something of the kind was likely to occur at any time. The female potion of the assembly began to singe, and so continued during the rest of the ceremony.




The rest of the proceeding at the house is quickly told. Brooks and Creffield were ordered to put on their shoes and hats. They obeyed with alacrity for the command to do so was not in gentle tones. Then both men were tied together and ordered to pass out the door. This command they likewise obeyed, and the whole party followed. While in the room one of the female members of the sect passed from one to the others of the intruders and gazed into each face intently, apparently for the purpose of further identification. After leaving the house the party marched directly to the ferry and crossed to the Corvallis side. The captors, while on the boat, stood close about the apostles to prevent any possible attempt at escape. One of the former lighted a cigar, and then held the lighted match up before the face of Brooks to make sure apparently that there was no mistake.

After leaving the ferry, the White Caps did not even take the precaution to travel by a back street. Passing under the electric lights en route, they came directly from the ferry to Main Street and then went north on Main past the saw mill and on north to the first bridge. Halting there, they ordered the apostles to remove their clothing.




Like all other commands given, the men proceeded at once to do as told. Creffield hesitated long enough to propose a prayer, but the gruff response was that he had no time for that sort of thing and that there had been too much of his prayers already, and he began at once to remove his clothing.


The scene at the moment was unquestionably dramatic. The moon shone clear and bright in the eastern sky. The two apostles, nude and shivering in the center of the group. Silence was only broken by the movements of the men and by an occasional remark. One man surveying Creffield after his head and body had been well smeared with tat and feathers remarked, ”Well you would make a fine old Santa Claus now.” The apostle made no reply. All the time he trembled like an aspen, and was undoubtedly much frightened. It was otherwise with Brooks who was stoical throughout, and apparently undisturbed by the proceedings.


After the tar and feathers had been applied, the apostles were required to put their clothes on again, and then they were told to leave, and never to return to the community. Both started off at full speed, running northward along the Albany road. Later, however during the night, Creffield returned to the Beach house.




It is supposed that Frank Hurt intercepted the fugitives in their flight toward Albany. It is known that he followed the White Caps across the river after the apostles were taken prisoners, and is supposed also that he was an unseen witness of the tar and feather act. At any rate, Creffield was back at the Beach house by midnight, and about that time Frank Hurt applied at a local drug store for linseed oil for use in removing tar.


A sequel to the incident was the marriage yesterday of Creffield and Miss Maud Hurt. Early in the morning a Corvallis livery carriage drove up to the door of the Beach house and stopped. Later it drove away in the direction of Albany with Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hurt, Miss Maud Hurt with F. E. Creffield as occupants. A dispatch from Albany to the Times about noon related that the party had reached Albany and had driven to the court house where a marriage license was obtained, that with Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hurt as witnesses, Maud Hurt and Creffield had been married at the court house, Judge Palmer officiating. The dispatch added that the odor of tar was noticeable in the room when the ceremony was performed.



Corvallis Gazette 1/8/1904 p3 1898 Montgomery Ward Furniture advertisement

Rollers are Rolled

Four of them Receive Coat of Tar and Feathers

Creffield Weds Miss Hurt

Incident Brings to an End a Disagreeable Reign of Rollerism--Frank Hurt Warned


The last act in the famous Corvallis Holy Roller drama came to a close in a genuine Southern whirlwind style on last Monday night when the four leaders of this fanaticism that has made out quiet little city a reputation that will long be remembered, were taken from their meeting place by twenty determined men and treated to an old-fashioned coat of tar and feathers. The four gentlemen so elaborately decorated were “Apostles” Creffield and Brooks and “Parsons” Campbell and Levins. Earlier reports and press dispatches say that only Creffield and Brooks were tarred and feathered, but we are reliably informed that Campbell and Levins were also found in the house and were treated in the same manner as the “apostles.”




It has been known for some time that all that was lacking in carrying out the Monday night episode was a leader. Plenty of assistance could have been procured weeks ago had any one been willing to shoulder the responsibility of leadership. Who the leader was on Monday night we do not know, but sufficient to say he did his work well. Getting twenty men whom he could depend upon, they marched across the river and made their way to the Beach house, where the Rollers have been holding forth for about two weeks. Upon arriving at the house they were compelled to break open the door and entered the room where the services were going on. Stating their mission in a manner that none dare refuse to obey, the four above expounders of religion were tied together and marched down to the ferry where they recrossed the river and scoffing any idea of secrecy and without masks they marched their victims through the quiet streets down past the sawmill. When made aware of what was going to happen Creffield broke down and cried like a baby, begging in an appealing manner to be spared the humiliation of being made one of the feathered tribe. Leniency and sympathy were both missing in the heart of the tar-and-feather artists and Creffield was compelled to abandon his wail of woe by the persuasion of a switching, administered in no gentle manner.


Standing under the mocking glare and freezing glances of a winter moon, the four victims were compelled to strip themselves and with chattering teeth, shaking knees and stubborn silence, they were presented with a nice layer of tar and then bedecked with feathers galore. The mob was somewhat partial toward Creffield and wanted to make sure that he would get all that was coming to him, so gave him two coats and the beautiful amount of feather donated him would make the biggest bird known turn blue with envy.


After the allotted mission was completed the mob commanded the victims to put on their clothes, and we warrant the never dressed with more alacrity before in their lives. After dressing they were told to get, and never again be found in Benton County under penalty of being hanged to the nearest tree. It is needless to say that they got, and whether the feathers aided them in their flight we cannot say, but the first 100 yards was made by Creffield in 10 flat and if we had him on our track team in the spring, honors would all fall to us as his speed is something marvelous.




The remainder of the night was spent in an attempt to remove the tar and feathers after they returned to their rendezvous. One of our local druggists was called upon after midnight for a quantity of turpentine to remove the glue like substance. Early in the morning, Frank Hurt came to town and procured a carriage and returned across the river. Accompanied by his wife, sister, and Creffield he drove to Albany, where a license was secured and Miss Maud Hurt and Creffield were married, Frank Hurt and wife acting as witnesses. After the ceremony they drove to Tangent where, we understand, Creffield and his bride boarded the train.


The marriage of Creffield and Miss Hurt was a sensation in itself. O. V. Hurt, the father of the girl, was not made acquainted wit the facts of his daughter’s marriage until it was too late to interfere. He denounces Creffield in scathing terms and the “apostle” has not only the wrath of the community to contend with it he returns, but also that of Mr. Hurt.




Upon his return from Albany related above, Frank Hurt returned to town with the carriage and was met on the street by a committee of citizens, who gave him warning that unless he abandoned his late practice, that he would be treated as were the four above-named victims. Sentiment is very strong against him in Corvallis for he is the cause of Creffield returning after the latter had been compelled to leave town. Had it not been for Frank Hurt, Corvallis would have been spared this last unfortunate affair.



On Tuesday night the mob again called at the Beach house to make sure that none of the feathered tribe had returned. Upon going to the house they found no men there, but the women were still in the building. As stated in another column some of our ambitious pencil pushers were mistaken for the Roller leaders, but fortunately were able to identify themselves.




We sincerely hope that the happening of the last few days will forever close the Holy Roller fame in Corvallis. It has made our county the talk of the state and the finger of ridicule has been pointed steadily toward us for several months. On account of the actions of a few the entire community has been laughed at and made fun of. While we do not approve of Monday night’s affray, yet we feel that the end could only have been brought about by some violent measure and no easier method could have been adopted than the one resorted to. All the partied tarred and feathered were given warning after warning to leave the community. They ignored the danger signals and had no one to blame but themselves. Corvallis citizens sincerely regretted to be compelled to resort to the means adopted in ridding the vicinity of such a nuisance, but it was only by force that they accomplished such an end.




Maud Hurt
Maren McGuire as Maud Hurt

Albany Democrat 1/8/1904 p7

Holy Rollers Tarred and Feathered at Corvallis

Creffield and Maud Hurt Married


F. E. Creffield and Maud Hurt were united in marriage at the court house at 11:20 o’clock this forenoon by Judge H. M. Palmer. Frank c. Hurt and his wife, Mollie, were the witnesses.  These are the members of the famous band of Holy Rollers of Corvallis about which there has been so much talk, of whom Creffield is chief. This is one chapter.


Last night the most sensational chapter in the muddy story was enacted. About 10 o’clock an band of about twenty prominent Corvallis men crossed the river on the ferry boat, took Creffield and his fellow apostle Brooks, conveyed them to a place near the saw mill near Corvallis where they stripped them and applied a liberal dose of tar and feathers and then permitted them to return home, which they did and spent the remainder of the night in cleansing themselves, but not so well but what the tar could be smelled on Creffield this forenoon when married. Crooks skipped out, but Creffield seems to have appreciated one of the things the people objected to, the free love part of the establishment, which has been disgracing the outfit as well as the entire community and early this morning left for Albany resolved in getting that much out of the way.


The Democrat has received a private letter from a Corvallis friend who was probably one of the crowd who manipulated the tar, who confirms the above. When covered with tar and feathers they were told that if they ever came back again they would wake up some morning dangling to a telegraph pole. Creffield wanted to pray, but they told him he had done enough of that. Then he said: “Lord forgive them they know not what they do.” Two are reported insane from the doings, one already in the asylum besides all the things destroyed. During the tarring the women followed praying and singing.


This afternoon the couple and Mr. and Mrs. Hurt got in their back and left for the Beach farm where they will do well to behave themselves as it is said to be more tar and feathers left.




Morning Oregonian (Portland) 1/6/1904 p4

Put Tar on Rollers

Corvallis Citizens Rough Treatment of the “Apostles.”

Sacres On Into Marriage

Creffield, After Removing as Many Feathers as Possible, Accompanies Miss Hurt to Albany, Where a Justice Makes Them One.

(The usual story about the Tar and feathering, plus. . .)


For some time before the party went to the Beach house, which has become the headquarters of the sect since Mr. Hurt sent them away from his house, they were congregated in little groups about Main Street. In the same way they went to the ferry and crossed, serving notice to the ferryman that they would be back in a few minutes, and adding laconically that there would be others in the party upon the return. At the house they cut off all avenues of escape and then broke in the door. Present in the room were Brooks and Creffield, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hurt, Mrs. Hurt’s sister, Miss Maud Hurt, the Seeley sisters, Miss Bray and others. All were seated about the room, some on chairs, and others on the floor. Some, if not all were barefooted.


After the door was burst in the Rollers made no resistance. It is now known that they had long expected that such an occurrence might happen at any time, and they were apparently not surprised. One of the members at the house when interviewed this morning said: “They killed Christ, killed the apostles and stoned the disciples to death, and we expect them to do anything with us.” She added:

“It is either Heaven or hell, and I am for Heaven.”

. . .


The moon shone bright and clear in the eastern sky as the tar and feathers were administered. The silence was unbroken save by the movements of the men or an occasional gruff order or jocular remark. Surveying Creffield earnestly after the feathers had been added to the coat of tar on his body and head on man remarked: “Well, you would make a handsome Santa Clause, now.”

. . .


At the Beach house this morning one of the four or five young women there admitted to the reporter that Creffield had come home covered with tar and feathers, and that he had encountered much difficulty in removing them after arrival home.



Brownsville Times 0/8/1904 p1

(at the tail end of the usual article about the tar, feathering and marriage)



F. E. Creffield and wife, the Holy Rollers, who returned to the Beach farm opposite Corvallis last evening, disappeared this morning and their whereabouts is being sought--Albany Herald

A rumor has been circulated that Creffield and his wife were in Brownsville, but a diligent search and inquiry has failed to locate them.



Corvallis Gazette 1/8/1904 p1

Two “Holy Roller” apostles were given a coat of tar and feathers by citizens of Corvallis.”



Corvallis Gazette 1/12/1904

Two “Holy Rollers” came to grief at Corvallis Monday night. They are Creffield and Brooks, the leaders who were tarred and feathered and run out of town. In addition to their rantings these fanatics are also free lovers and the double dose of damnable doctrine don’t go down over in the Agricultural town. -- Eugene Register.



Corvallis Gazette 1/8/19048 p3

A Mystery of the Night

Where the Midnight Prowlers Rollers High or Rollers Holy?


Since the days when the Holy Rollers first brought themselves to public notice, no more mysterious event has taken place than the midnight raid of the “heroes three” who braved the stormy passage of the Willamette on their perilous journey to the home of the Rollers in the Linn county hop yard. Whether they went as friends or foes we know not--alas, we never will know.


When the ferry crossed the river early on Tuesday evening hidden in the densest shadow of the smoke stack, lurked three desperate looking characters. Who there were no on could tell. When the ferry boat steamed up to the Linn county shore they melted away in the darkness. Through the startled midnight air soon came a low whistle.

“Hist! Who’s there? Stand and unfold yourself!”




And the three voices merged into one and the three conspirators came together and made their way up the bank to the orchard. Here a surprise awaited them. Out of the gloom of the orchard rose the gang of lynchers who had so bravely done their duty the night before.

“Here they are” said the lynchers. “The little fellow is Creffield.”

“And the big mustached man is Levins,” said another.

“And the other is Brooks” said a third. “We’ve got the whole gang, lets string them up at once.


Then they jumped on their necks--and the moon went down behind a cloud. Did the three heroes howl? Did they weep? Did they cry for mercy” There lies the mystery. When we try to interview them they hang up. Frank don’t know, Bob won’t tell and Willie says he’s saving his news for a scoop. And the lynchers? When you ask them they look at each other and smile. And everybody smiles but Frank, and Bob, and Willie. They don’t have to.Brigadier-General Mary Stillwell




Evening Telegram (Portland) 1/6/1904 p3

Married at Corvallis


CORVALLIS, Or., Jan 6. -- Miss Clara King, of Salem, and J. K. Berry, of this city, were married Monday night at the home of the groom’s sister, Mrs. George Carl, of Corvallis. Rev. Moore officiating. Mr. Berry is a young business man of Corvallis, having been engaged in the bicycle business. The young couple will make Corvallis their permanent home.


Miss King is the daughter of Mrs. J. Scott, of Salem.


Corvallis Times 1/9/1904 p3

The marriage of James K. Berry and Miss Clara M. King of Salem, occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Carl, Monday evening, Rev Frank L. Moore officiating. Only relatives were present. Both are young people of high character and standing. They are temporarily at home at Mrs. Espey's.




Evening Telegram (Portland) 1/6/1904 p3 Edmund Creffield

Creffield Disappears

Thorough Search of Beach Premises Fails to Locate Hated Apostle.

Believed to Have Escaped in Attire of Woman--Mob Holds Vigil.


[Telegram Coast Special]

CORVALLIS, Or., Jan. 6.--Creffield has evidently changed his mind about making his home in the neighborhood of Corvallis. Yesterday at Albany, after his marriage to Miss Hurt, the “apostle” stated to a reporter that criminal methods would not drive him away from God’s work, and that he intended to return to Corvallis to live. This news reached here yesterday about noon, and from then till midnight the Beach cottage and its inmates and visitors were under constant surveillance. About 3 o’clock in the afternoon a carriage drove up to the house, and Creffield and his wife got out. Later in the day Mrs. Creffield was seen on a back street here in conversation with her father, O. V. Hurt.


About 4 o’clock, Frank Hurt drove from town in a rig and stopped at the Beach cottage, and two women came out and got in with him, and all drove off in the direction of Albany. The belief now is that one of these supposed women was Creffield in woman’s attire, as since entering the house about 3 p.m. none of the watchers have had a glimpse of him.


Last night at 8 o’clock a party of 12 men crossed the river in small boats and surrounded the Beach cottage, while several of their number entered and searched it from top to bottom for the apostle. They found six women only, three of whom were the Seeley sisters. The others were Mrs. Frank Hurt and two young girls who would not give their names. The party then quietly left the house and stationed themselves near by and waited and watched until midnight. All travelers were held up till their identity was discovered.


About 11 o’clock Frank Hurt drove back and threw some quilts and robes into the yard, and then crossed over to Corvallis and disappeared quietly. Indications were that if Creffield had been found he would have received much rougher treatment than mere tar and feathers.

Brooks has not been seen since he was turned loose the night before with his coat of tar and feather, and all the male hanger-on at the Beach place have likewise disappeared.

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Newspaper Articles about Creffield & the Holy Rollers

1897-1899:Local Lore, News Of Corvallis and Vicinity Told in Brief B. C. (Before Creffield)

1900:Holy Rollers' Lives Before Creffield

1901:Holy Rollers' Lives Before Creffield

1902:Holy Rollers' Lives Creffield

January 18, 1903: Fred Mitchell Attempts Suicide

June 10, 1903: Salvation Army Major Deserts and Joins the Holy Rollers

October 31, 1903: Zealot Worshipers Burn Furniture, Dogs & Other Things

November 2, 1903: Fanatics In Court

November 3, 1903: Had Promise of Tar and Feathers

November 4, 1903: Flight of The Apostles

November 5, 1903: Once-Esteemed Family No Longer Has the Sympathy of the Community

November 6, 1903: Rollers Take On New Life

November 7, 1903: Is Creffield Back?

November 11, 1903: “Apostle” Creffield Still Under Cover

November 24, 1903: Girl of Sixteen Almost Insane

November 25, 1903: In Pursuit of Creffield

November 27, 1903: The Lord May Starve Them

November 28, 1903: Holy Rollers Receive Unwilling Baptism

December 7, 1903: Demented Woman Suffers

December 8, 1903: Hurt Seen In Portland

December 11, 1903:Holy Rollers Roll Into Eugene Church

December 21, 1903:Holy Roller Victim Worse

December 22, 1903: Linn County Holy Rollers

December 23, 1903: Is Crazy Now

December 29, 1903: Holy Rollers’ Not Liked at the Dalles

December 30, 1903: Owner of Property Refuses to Permit Séances

January 6, 1904: Holy Rollers Tarred and Feathered

January 9, 1904: Their Welcome Departure

January 12, 1904: Editorial Comment: “Put yourselves in our place!”

January 13, 1904: Where Brooks Went

January 19, 1904: Our Brainy Contemporaries

January 25: Holy Rollers’ in Hobo Camp Life

February 1, 1904: Camp In Linn County Is Broken Up By Officers

February 6, 1904: How They Tell The Holy Roller Story In Far Off Scotland

February 11, 1904: Medium Mystify Corvallis People

March 1, 1904: The “Holy Rollers” Offend Humanity

March 16, 1904: Holy Rollers to Be Arrested on Serious Charge

March 17, 1904: Where is the Apostle?

March 21, 1904: Reward For Creffield's Capture

March 23, 1904: Fugitive Creffield

March 28, 1904: Reward is Offered

April 1, 1904: “Holy Roller” Chief Very Badly Wanted

April 18, 1904: Holy Roller High Priest Is Seen

April 29, 1904: Urania Seeley is Arrested

May 2, 1904: Frank & Mollie Hurt are Committed to the Asylum

May 4, 1904: Maud Hurt-Creffield & Sophia Hartley are Committed

May 7, 1904: Attie Bray &Rose Seeley are Committed

June 11, 1904: Attie Bray Escapes

June 17, 1904: Mae Hurt is Committed

June 29, 1904: Sarah Hurt is Committed

July 22, 1904: Holy Roller on Death Row

July 29, 1904: Creffield Found Half Dead Under Hurt’s House

July, 30 1904: Armed Guards Protect Creffield

July, 31 1904: Corvallis Could Not Raise a Mob

August 1, 1904: Creffield says, "I am Elijah"

August 2, 1904: Creffield Does Not Dislike Prison

August 4, 1904: Creffield Says He Is Entirely Purified

August 5, 1904: He Does Nothing Unless Directed by God

August 6, 1904: Creffield Believes in Satan and Eternal Punishment

August 9, 1904: No Flowers For Creffield

August 13, 1904; The Holy Rollers And The Man Who Made Them

August 16, 1904; Creffield Reward Will Be Returned

August 19, 1904: Followers in Asylum Stick To Faith

August 23, 1904: Creffield Will Fight His Own Case

August 28, 1904: Creffield Destroys His Revelations

September 16, 1904: Creffield is Guilty

September 21, 1904: Holy Rollers go in and Out of the Asylum

March 22, 1905: Prison Life Of Joshua Creffield>

April 8, 1905: Life In Corvallis Returns to Normal

December 12, 1905: Frank & Mollie Hurt Have a Baby Girl

April 24, 1906: Creffield Establishes a Camp Near Waldport

April 30, 1906: Donna Starr Leaves Children to go to Her Spiritual Love, Joshua Creffield

May 1, 1906: Creffield Takes Credit for The San Francisco Earthquake

May 3, 1906: Creffield In Fear Of His Life

May 7, 1906: Holy Roller Shot Down Like A Dog

May 8, 1906: Medal to Be Given Mitchell in Recognition of His Killing

May 9, 1906: Oregon Prosecutor Would Aid Mitchell

May 10, 1906: Shows No Emotion At Husband’s Grave

May 11, 1906: Bail Is All Ready

May 12, 1906: Mitchell Denied Bail

May 13, 1906: Creffield is Due To Rise Today

May 14, 1906: Creffield’s Widow Watches At Grave

May 15, 1906: Corvallis Starts Fund for Defense of Mitchell

May 16, 1906: Holy Rollers Starving Near Heceta Head

May 17, 1906: Public Sentiment Favors Mitchell

May 18, 1906: Creffield Railed in Vermont

May 19, 1906: Mitchell to Enter Plea of Not Guilty

May 27, 1906: Joshua Says Not to Worry

June 1, 1906: Morris Claims Mitchell Rid World of a Fiend

June 16, 1906: Prosecution and Defense are Making Last Preparations

June 19, 1906: Many Witnesses For Mitchell

June 24, 1906: Trial Will Cost Taxpayers Ten Thousand Dollars

June 25, 1906: George Mitchell on Trial For His Life

June 26, 1906: Mitchell Jury is Selected With Care

June 27, 1906: Mitchell Trial Held Up By Squabble

June 28, 1906:  Jury is Secured to Try Mitchell

June 29, 1906: Trial is Now on in Earnest

June 30, 1906: Mrs. Creffield's Testimony

July 1, 1906: Creffield’s Ghost Controls His Flock

July 2, 1906:  Esther Mitchell on Stand Refuses To Aid Brother

July 3, 1906: Hurt Tells of Debauched Wife and Debased Sisters

July 4, 1906: Creffield’s Unsavory Record Presented to the Jury

July 5, 1906: Expected Admissibility of Evidence Will Arouse Controversy

July 6, 1906: Others Testify They Wished to Kill Creffield

July 7, 1906: Insanity Expert on the Witness Stand

July 8, 1906: Plan To Revive Holy Rollerism

July 9, 1906: Killing of Judge Emory May Effect Mitchell

July 10, 1906: Mitchell Case Goes To Jury

July 11, 1906: Not Guilty

July 12, 1906: General Rejoicing at Mitchell’s Acquittal

July 13, 1906: Esther Mitchell Kills Her Brother!

July 14, 1906: Mitchell Boys Are Done With Esther

July 15, 1906: Hurt Will Come to Aid of His Daughter

July 16: 1906: Will Mortgage His Home for Daughter

July 17, 1906: Let’s Think When We Talk

July 18, 1906: Mrs. Starr’s Life Threatened

July 19, 1906: Mrs. Creffield Weeps in Jail

July 20, 1906: George Mitchell’s Attorney Offers Aid to Murderesses

July 21, 1906: Mitchell Boys to Stand by Esther

July 22, 1906: Hurt Thinks Both Women Are Insane

July 23, 1906: Frater Favors a Commission of Alienists

July 24, 1906: Mackintosh Will Oppose Calling Commission

July 26, 1906: Is Reconciled to Holy Roller Wife

July 27, 1906: Holy Rollers Seek Home in Wyoming

July 28, 1906: Mitchell Juror is Insane

July 30, 1906: Esther Will Deny Committing Murder In The 1st Degree

July 31 1906: Esther Mitchell Says Not Guilty

August 1, 1906: Relatives to Help Esther Mitchell

August 4, 1906: Creffield Greatly Hurt True Religion

August 6, 1906: Mitchell Boys in Drunken Row

August 8, 1906: St. Louis Woman Coming to Convert “Rollers”

August 12, 1906: Esther Mitchell Close to Death from Typhoid

August 13, 1906: Esther Mitchell Not Seriously Ill

September 1, 1906: Four Charged with First Degree Now in County Jail

September 10 1906: To Examine Minds of Slayers

September 12, 1906: Hurt Thinks His Daughter Insane

September 13, 1906: Esther Mitchell Objects to Help

September 14, 1906: Women Not Agitated

September 15, 1906: Mrs. Creffield’s Trial Set for Next Month

September 17, 1906: Mrs. Creffield on Stand

September 18, 1906:  Maud Creffield Anxious to Hang

September 19, 1906: Are They Sane of Insane?

September 21, 1906: Both Women May Go Scott Free

September 22, 1906: Where is This Thing to End!

September 23, 1906: Murders Must Be Tried

September 24, 1906: Must Not Deport

September 25, 1906: Judge Frater is in Very Small Business

September 28, 1906: Insanity Board Not Paid

October 1, 1906: Holy Roller Woman Dies While in Trance

November 9, 1906: Mrs. Creffield Said to Be in Very Nervous State

November 17, 1906: Maud Creffield Dies in the County Jail

November 18, 1906: Death May End a Hypnotic Spell

November 19, 1906: Reviews Findings in Examination of Brain

November 20, 1906: Mrs. Creffield Killed Herself with Poison!

November 21, 1906: Poison Is Found In The Stomach Of Mrs. Creffield

November 22, 1906: Esther Says Maud Did Not Kill Herself

December 4, 1906: Washing Dirty Linen

December 17, 1906: Sad Christmas For Holy Roller

February 21, 1907: Esther Mitchell Goes to Asylum

April 30, 1907: Esther Mitchell Still Believe in Creffield & His Return

April 6, 1909: Esther Mitchell Leaves Asylum

April 9, 1914: Esther Mitchell Marries James Berry

August 3, 1914: Esther Mitchell is Dead By Own Hand

1953 Stewart Holbrook's Murder Without Tears

1951 Startling Detective Magazine: Nemesis of the Nudist High Priest

A List of All the Articles


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


copyright by
Theresa (T-) McCracken