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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.

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

 

Creffield ArrestedCorvallis Times 7/30/1904 p3

Creffield In Jail

At Corvallis--Was Found Yesterday Forenoon by Roy Hurt Under His Father’s House

 

HEADLINE IN ANOTHER PAPER FOR A SLIGHTLY ABRIDGED VERSION OF THE SAME ARTICLE

 

Brownsville Times 8/5/1904

Holy Roller Captured

Creffield Found Under Dwelling by a Boy

 

With his body entirely nude and his frame a mass of skin and bones, from the effects of his famished condition, Creffield, the man, who by his wild religious teachings has sent half a dozen of his followers to the insane asylum and several others to the Boys’ and Girls’ home in Portland, was found secreted under the house of O. V. Hurt yesterday morning at a quarter to eleven o’clock was lodged in the Benton county jail at Corvallis. The discovery was made by Roy Hurt, aged 14, the adopted son of O. V. Hurt. He was looking for corks about the house, when he noticed something white in the northeast corner. He crawled out from the house again, and pulling out bricks here and then, discovered first a pillow, then a quilt, and was at last getting so close to the apostle, whom he had not yet seen, that the latter spoke to him. The lad knew the voice, and hurried to town, and informed his father, who with Chief Lane went at once to the scene. With some difficulty they induced Creffield to come out, and after supplying him with clothing, they hurried him into a buggy, and drove him via a back street to the Benton county jail, in which the apostle was at once lodged. The whole occurrence transpired within a half an hour, and Creffield was locked securely in one of the steel cells of the jail, before many Corvallisites had learned of what had taken place. Creffield was so weak from his long reclining position under the house and from his famished condition, that after he came out from under the building he had to be supported between his captors to the carriage.

 

LIVED IN A HOLE

 

It is believed that all these weeks and months that Creffield has been the object of reward and search that he has been in hiding under the Hurt house. It is believed also that he was fed and maintained there by Mrs. Hurt, and that the latest freak notions in the practice of the religion of the sect has been due to communications made to them from Creffield while he hid under the house. Since the departure of Mrs. Hurt for the asylum, and the close watch kept on Mrs. Hartley, there has been no agency by which Creffield could secure food.

 

Creffield’s time under the building was spent in a hole in the ground under the northeast corner of the house. It is three months or more ago that Creffield fled from Portland officers and disappeared from view. The hole in the ground is alongside the brick foundation, and is six feet long, eighteen inches deep and two and a half feet wide. The northeast corner was apparently selected because it is the darkest place under the house.

 

In the hole there was a pillow and two old bed quilts. Under the pillow were a pair of old drawers and a shirt. These were the only articles the apostle had to keep him warm. The dirt from the hole had been leveled off, and under it were found 11 half gallon and seven quart fruit jars, all empty, save that in one there was a little sugar, in another a little flour, and in several decayed remains of a little uneaten fruit. A small tin cup had butter in it, and another showed that it had been used for stirring flour. In one of the jars fruit and flour had been stirred together. These articles with a knife and spoon, all hidden under the dirt completed the naked apostle’s commissary department. Roy Robinett & Edmund Creffield

 

IN THE JAIL

 

In the county jail Creffield was silent as a sphinx. To a newspaperman, he would not talk. When Dr. Pernot was summoned to feel the prisoner’s pulse and investigate his physical condition, it was some time before the long-haired, light-bearded, ghost-like man would say anything. On one subject, though he was profuse in speech. He insisted on talking about Jesus. In whispers and disjointed sentences, he said, “Oh, I feel so good; Jesus is so near me; Jesus told me last night, this would happen.” In this kind of vein he wanted to chatter all the time. When the doctor diverted his attention with, “When did you have your last meal,” there was no reply. “What did you have for your last meal” was followed by hesitation and then a whispered, “A little flour.”

 

All the time, the gray eyes shone bright, and there a lurid setting for the hollow cheeks, the unkempt hair, the long white beard, and the steel cell bars. “Wouldn’t you like some food,” inquired the doctor, and after some hesitation and more rambling about Jesus, he answered in a whisper, “Yeas, if there is no hog meat in it; Jesus don’t want us to eat hogs, you know.” In reply, the doctor suggested a little mush, a little bread and milk, and the apostle added in his invariable whisper and foreign accent, “And a few eggs; can I have a few eggs?”

 

Dr. Pernot believes the man is demented, whether from his physical condition or his religious notions the doctor does not suggest. Three months or more under the floor of a house, always in a reclining position, naked all or most of the time, half-starved all the day long, hunted by the law and hated by men--all this is enough to craze.

 

HOW HE WAS FOUND

 

Roy Hurt, who made the discovery said: “I had been piling wood and stopped for a while to hunt some corks [worms used as fish bait]. There are always a lot of corks under the house, and I crawled under there to look for them. After I got a considerable distance under the house, I noticed something white back in the northeast corner. The thing looked like a big pillow, but it was so dark that I could not tell what it was. Then I crawled back out from the house, and pulled out some loose bricks. Then I peeked under the house again, but I was in the wrong place and could not see anything, except the corner of an old quilt. Then I went around the corner, and with a stick, pushed a piece of cement out of the foundation. When I did that, a voice from under the house spoke to me in broken English saying something that I could not understand. I made up my mind at once that the voice was that of Creffield. I had heard it lots of times, and after he spoke to me I was sure that it was he. I went at once to the house and asked my aunt if I could go over to town, and she said I could go. I hurried to Kline’s store, and told Papa that Creffield was under our house, and explained to him what I had seen and heard. Then with Chief Lane we hurried back to the scene.

 

Edmund CreffieldCREFFIELD CAME OUT

 

Roy Hurt continued: “When we got to the house, Papa took some bricks out of the foundation and called out Creffield’s name two or three times. But there was no answer. Papa continued calling and at last Creffield answered. Then Papa crawled a little way under the house, and told Creffield to come out. Creffield answered that he had no clothes on, and Papa told him that he would provide him with clothes. They kept on talking, and at last Creffield crawled out. When he came out from under the house, he was an awful looking thing. He had great long hair and long whiskers and was so weak he could scarcely stand. We got some clothes and put on him. then he went off to one side and lay down under the cherry tree. He said, “It is cold,” and Mr. Lane said he would send for a doctor. He said, “No doctor.” Then Papa went up to Fischer’s and phoned for a buggy. When it arrived they put Creffield in it, and took him to town.”

 

SAW HIM TAKEN

 

Half a dozen people saw Creffield crawl, naked and forlorn, from under the house, saw him arrayed in borrowed clothes, lay down under the cherry tree, and then saw him supported to the carriage to be driven to the county jail. The man, according to every account, was a sight never to be forgotten. White and wan, hollowed cheeked, and spent from his long hiding in the darkness under the house, weak and nerveless from his lack of exercise and from starvation, he was indeed a picture of miserable humanity. Connected with his long hiding under the house, neighbors recall now that on numerous occasions a follower of the sect was observed by them bending or sitting near the house in the apparent attitude of picking flowers. It was there and then that Creffield was communicating his doctrines and keeping up the influence that in these days has driven so many of the sect into the insane asylum and eleemosynary homes.

 

Akin to the incident in the statement of Mr. Hurt, who in the search for the fugitive apostle, three or four times crawled under the house and took a survey of things, but in each instance failed to see the pillow, the quilts or the other things that attracted the quick eye of the boy and brought Creffield back into the world.

 

The charge against Creffield is adultery with one of his sect. He is wanted in Portland, and Sheriff Word has wired that he will arrive tomorrow after the prisoner. A reward of $350 was offered for Creffield’s capture, and conviction, part of which is contingent upon a conviction, and part simply on the capture.

 

(Beneath this article is a notice--S. L. Kline has just a few more worsted remnants on the bargain counter, and next to the article is a very large ad for Kline’s clothing.)

 

 

Morning Oregonian (Portland) 7/30/1904 p5

Months In Hiding

Creffield Found Under a House at Corvallis. Small Boy Makes Discovery. Holy Roller Had Been Fed by Members of Sect--Physical and Mental Wreck--Will Be Brought to Portland.”

CORVALLIS, Or., July 29--(Special,)--

(A shorter-edited version of the above Corvallis Times 7/30/1904 p3 article …Edmund Creffield after he was arrested

 

NO TALK OF VIOLENCE

 

Contrary to general expectation, the capture of Creffield was quietly received here. A big sensation went around town as the news leaked out, and knots of people poured on the streets inquiring into the details. No expressions of possible violence have been heard, thought there is an intense hatred here of the man. several families are broken up by the demented condition of members of them as a result of the man’s teachings/ Creffield himself here believed Dr. Pernot to be of unsound mind. Throughout the examination made in the prisoner’s cell this morning Creffield talked incessantly of Jesus and of death, making all manner of extravagant announcements. He is locked securely in a steel cell at the County Jail, awaiting the arrival of Sheriff Word who will come for the prisoner tomorrow.

 

The discovery of Creffield’s-hiding place explains the conditions that were hitherto mysterious as to the sane members of families in which other members were affected with the Holy Roller dementia. Recently it became a fad among members of the sect to go bareheaded and barefooted. It was when the religious mania appeared in this form that the practice began of sending affected persons to the Insane Asylum and other eleemosynary places. This entirely broke up the home of O. V. Hurt, the wife, a daughter, a son and the son’s wife going to the Asylum, and a daughter to a Portland Society. A daughter in the home of Louis Hartley went to the Asylum, and the wife, completely crazed by the fad, was kept under constant surveillance. The misery and sorrow incident to these conditions was beyond the public conception of it. Thus denied the husbandship of their husbands, refused to speak to them, denied all relation with them, went shoeless and hatless, and but poorly clad. Sons and daughters repudiated paternal relations of fathers who rejected the sect, refused to converse with them or to call them “father.”

 

KEPT UP HIS WORK

 

The finding of Creffield under the Hurt house explains the source of the influence that thus divided and broke up households and family relations. It is recalled now by neighbors that a member of the sect was often seen at the northeastern corner of the house of Hurt, just across the brick foundation from Creffield’s hiding place, bending or sitting as if in the attitude of picking flowers. It was then and there that the fugitive apostle, in his nakedness, was communicating to the followers the revelations from on high that caused them to forsake headgear, shoes, undergarments and family ties, all productive [illegible text] of intense humiliation and sorrow for the sane heads of the affected families. Several times in various searches for Creffield, O. V. Hurt crawled under his house to survey things, but the apostle’s hole in the ground was in the darkest corner under the floor, and each time, though Creffield must have been at the moment in his hiding-place, the searcher failed to see the white pillow that the eye of Roy Hurt was so quick to detect this morning.

 

All afternoon crowds of people have visited the bogus saint in his cell at the jail. His eyes shine with a bright light, and form a lurid setting for the hollow cheeks, the unkempt hair, the long light beard, and the steel sell bars. During the afternoon the prisoner was shaved and his hair trimmed. An effort was also made to photograph him.

 

 

Corvallis Gazette 8/2/1904 p1

Creffield Captured

Found Half Dead Under Vick Hurt’s House

 

Creffield, the long-sought-for out law and religious enthusiast, was captured Friday morning about 10 o’clock under the residence of O. V. Hurt, who lives in the south part of town near Fisher’s mill. How long he had been under there no one except his immediate followers know, but he was living in a hole scraped out in the earth, with two old quilts to cover him, subsisting upon what was given by his accomplices, and without anything to eat for at least two weeks.

 

Mr. Hurt’s little boy was playing about the house and crawled under the house looking for a cork for his fishing line when he noticed something moving in the dark northwest corner. He crawled out and running around removed a brick from the foundation and looked in when what should meet his gaze, but a long haired, be-whiskered man. It was Creffield. The boy ran swiftly over to town and told his father who with Chief Lane secured a buggy and went over at once. It was with some difficulty Creffield was induced to come out: “When we go to the house,” so the boy tells the story, “papa took some bricks out of the foundation and Called Creffield’s name two or three times, but there was no answer. Papa continued calling and at last Creffield answered. Then papa crawled a little way under the house and told him to come out. Creffield answered that he had no clothes on, and papa told him that if he would come out he would furnish him with clothes. At last Creffield crawled out. when he came out, he was an awful looking thing. He had no clothes on and his hair and whiskers were long, and he was so weak he could hardly stand. Papa got some clothes for him, and he put them on and he went off and lay down under a tree. He complained about being cold. Mr. Lane wanted to call a doctor, but Creffield, whose faith forbids him, would have no doctor.

 

Several people saw the fugitive crawl from under the house, and will never forget the sensation as the semi-human creature emerged where he could be seen, more beast than man, without clothing, emaciated from long fasting, hair and beard shaggy and uncombed, his whole frame emaciated and trembling from weakness caused by exposure and want of exercise.

 

He was put into a buggy and quickly driven by a back way to the county jail where he remained until Saturday when he was taken by Sheriff Word, of Multnomah County, to Portland where he is wanted upon a heinous charge.

 

Under the house where Creffield had been living was found a hole six feet long, two and a half feet wide and eighteen inches deep, in which were a few articles of dirty underclothing and two old quilts. These were the only articles Creffield had to keep him warm. The dirt from the hole was so places as not to attract suspicion from any one looking under the house. Under the dirt were found several empty fruit jars. He had been supplied also with flour and butter, as remains were found in the jars. So far as is known these are the only articles of food Creffield has had to live upon for several months. It is supposed he has had little or nothing to eat since Mrs. Hurt was taken to the asylum nearly a month ago. All his culinary articles, consisting of a knife and spoon, were buried in the dirt and exhumed when needed. Neighbors recall the suspicious actions of members of the Hurt family around that corner of the house, pretending to be picking flowers, but really communicating with the apostle. It is now known that Creffield has not been far away and the officers have been successfully outwitted by this self-styled apostle. The suspicion that Creffield had been in the vicinity of Corvallis and never very far away has been constantly entertained and expressed by many here, yet no warrant has ever been issued for his arrest here and no diligent systematic search has ever been made. Creffield in Jail

 

At the jail Creffield had no word of information to impart. His whole conversation seemed to be about Jesus. He talked only in a hoarse whisper as he was too weak to articulate clearly. In strained, spasmodic whispers he said, “Jesus is so near me,” “I feel so good,” “Jesus told me last night this would happen.” When asked by Dr. Pernot who was called to wait upon the sick man, as to what he had to eat last he said, “only flour.” “Would you like something to eat now?” inquired Dr. Pernot. “Yes,” he replied in a whisper, intermingling his conversation with ejaculations about Jesus. “Yes, is there is no hog meat in it. Jesus does not want us to eat hog meat.” The doctor suggested mush and milk, and Creffield added, “and a few eggs please--a few eggs.” A good-sized meal was placed before him and he consumed it all. He was photographed in his cell about noon Friday. The flare of the flash-light caused him to jump considerably. That the man is demented there seems to be no doubt. How long he was under the house no one is able to get him to tell, but it was enough to cause insanity in most any man to go through as much as Creffield has.

 

Creffield changed his name to “Joshua” when he founded his new religion and the peculiar antics of his followers during the last few months are now easily explainable. as his followers began to be arrested and sent to the asylum, things began to come hard to Creffield, his food supply was cut off and rather than come out to certain capture, he lay in his cramped quarters and starved.

 

WHO GETS THE REWARD?

In the case of the finding of Merril’s body by Mrs. Waggoner no reward was given on the ground that the main end and object of giving rewards would have been defeated in granting it. Rewards are offered with a view to stimulate people to work and expend energy and are supposed to be a just recompense for such work. The same applies to the case of Creffield now before the county for settlement. There has been no effort to find Creffield, not even a warrant sworn out for his arrest, His capture was a mere accident and by those mainly interested in the affair. The sheriff of the county and many others ate in favor of the reward going back to those who gave it. In the matter of Creffield’s conviction there is some doubt as to the final outcome as the warrant upon which he is now held does not cover the case. The law provides that the complaint should have been made by the husband or wife and in this case should have been made by Creffield’s wife.

 

If he is not held on this count, he will probably be held for insanity and convicted on that charge.

 

Great crowds appeared at each station between here and Portland to see the prisoner as he passed. He did not fancy being looked at, however, and pulled the curtain opposite his seat in the car. The curtain was raised by the officer in charge as it was thought best for everyone to see him as he may be identified more readily should he escape.

 

 

Weekly Herald Disseminator (Albany) 8/4/1904

Creffield Has At Last Been Caught

Found in Hiding Under the Hurt Residence in Corvallis Where He Spent Months. Naked And Badly Emaciated. Holy Roller Apostle Discovered by a Little Boy Who Was at Play--Taken to Jail

 

Corvallis, July 29.-- Edward Creffield, or as he is sometimes called, Josiah (sic) Creffield, the Holy Roller apostle, was today captured in this city where he had been in hiding for the past three months, and he will be taken tomorrow to Portland to stand trial for some of his misdeeds.

 

At 11:30 this forenoon Roy Robinett, 12 years old, the adopted son of O. V. Hurt, while hunting for bottle corks under the Hurt Residence in the edge of this place found a hole in the brick division wall of the foundation. It had been filled in with loose bricks and clods. He took these away and beyond the wall saw something move and someone said to him, “Hello.” He seemed to know instinctively that it was Creffield, and at once went into the house and told Mr. Hurt’s sister that he was going to town. Going down he went to the Kline store where Mr. Hurt is employed, and reported his find. Mr. Hurt and Chief of Police Lane at once went to the house and pulled Creffield out from under the house.

 

Creffield was naked when found, but he donned a pair of old trousers before coming out. He was barely able to stand from confinement and probably from hunger, but he straightened up, rolled his eyes, stretched out his arms and said: “I am Elijah.”

 

The prisoner was at once brought to the county jail in a buggy. On the way over he said to Mr. Hurt: “You have used me mighty well, Mr. Hurt.”

Mr. Hurt replied: “I cannot say that of you.”

 

Creffield was found under the house in a hole about 18 inches deep, 6 feet long, 4-feet wide. He had a quantity of blankets and quits, a number of fruit cans, and a half jar of fruit, some flour and a tin cup. It is supposed that Mrs. Hurt supplied him with food until she was taken to the asylum June 27, and that Mrs. Hartley supplied him after that time until two weeks ago when her husband took her to the Bohemia mines.

 

Creffield is healthy, though somewhat emaciated. He has a beard six inches long, and his hair is long and unkempt, both white. He looks 60 years old, though but 32 or 33. The man refuses to talk, but ate ravenously when he reached the jail.

 

Officers from Portland are expected tomorrow to take him back to that place for trial on the charge of adultery. Chief of Police Lane thinks the reward offered for the man’s capture should be returned to the contributors, though many of the people think the Robinett boy should receive the money offered for the man’s apprehension.

 

 

Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 7/29/1904 p1

Prophet Creffield Is At Last In Jail

Is Supposed to Have Been Concealed. Beneath the Hurt Residence Near Corvallis for Many Weeks.”

 

(Special Dispatch to the Journal.)

Corvallis, Or., July 29.--Emaciated, colorless, his hair and beard long and unkempt, Edward Creffield rests on a cot in the county jail, starved to a great weakness. The 12-year-old (sic) Robinett boy, adopted by O. V. Hurt, saw an object move under the Hurt residence this morning at 9 o’clock. He placed his eyes to a hole in the brick foundation and a voice said, “Hello, that you? He went under and found Creffield.

 

The lad asked permission of O. V. Hurt’s sister Mary, who recently arrived from the east, to come over to town and he got Chief Lane and O. V. Hurt. They took a buggy and brought Creffield, who was too weak to stand unassisted, to the jail.

 

A pit about 18 inches deep and long enough to like in, under the Hurt house in the darkest corner, the northeast, contained a couple of quilts, blankets, 28 fruit jars, a half jar of fruit, flour, sugar, and a tin cup of milk. He was absolutely naked, and refuses to talk to anyone. He was given a scant supply of milk. He goes to Portland Saturday in charge of Chief Hunt, a warrant being held there.

 

The $400 reward offered will go to young Robinett. O. V. Hurt is vindictive and the people are much excited. Crowds are seeking admission to the jail. A Journal representative viewed the prisoner. He looks to be a man about 35 years old, very light, small stature, weight 125 to 130 pounds when in health, blue eyes, full lips, straight nose, small hands, slightly bald. He is a son of wealthy parents in the old country and is of Swedish descent.

 

O. V. Hurt hunted under the house a month ago and was six or eight feet from the pit when he gave up the search. Mrs. Hurt hooted the idea of his being there. It is supposed that she fed him till June 27, when she went to the asylum and since then his food supply has been limited. She often sat at that corner of the house presumably picking flowers. It is supposed now that she was talking to Creffield. The Corvallis victims as a result of his teaching are: Frank Hurt and wife, Mrs. O. V. Hurt, Atta Bray, Rose Seeley, Sophia Hartley, all of whom are in the asylum.

 

Florence Seeley, May Hurt and a Miss Taylor are in the Boys’ and Girls’ home at Portland. It is presumed that Mrs. Hartley supplied the food till she left with her husband for the Bohemia mines a few days ago.

 

Chief of Police Hunt was notified of the capture of Creffield this morning, and detailed Detective Hartman to go to Corvallis and bring the “apostle” here for trial. A warrant was issued for him here March 16 on complaint of B. E. Starr, who alleged his wife had been estranged from him through the influence of Creffield.

Mrs. Starr, whose husband signed the complaint here, is a sister of Hester (sic) Mitchell, a young woman who, while at Corvallis, became a disciple of the sect. Later she was turned over to the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid Society where she remained until a month ago, when she went to her father in Indiana. She gave up the belief in the sect.

 

Mrs. Starr was a firm believer, and to try to get her to abandon the faith and cut loose from all the influences her husband brought her to Portland, Creffield followed and Starr charged that he had broken up his home.

Florence Seeley, another young girl who became fascinated with the “Holy Roller” sect at Corvallis, was committed to the aid society. She gradually gave up the faith and three weeks ago left the receiving home for a little town near Vancouver B. C. where she is now living with friends.

 

 

HEADLINES IN DIFFERENT PAPERS FOR THE SAME ARTICLE

 

Evening Telegram (Portland) 7/29/1904 p1

Creffield Captured

Self-Styled Joshua Dragged From Under Residence at Corvallis. Naked and Emaciated, Holy Roller Is Found by Small Boy. Insane Followers Furnished him Food as Months Rolled By.”

[Telegram Coast Special]

 

Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 7/30/1904 p1

Holy Roller Captured

Joshua Creffield, the Sanctimonious Leader of this Religious Sect, Captured.

 

CORVALLIS, Or., July 29--(Special)-- Naked as a new-born babe and emaciated from starvation, Joshua Creffield, the former sleek and sanctimonious leader of the Holy Rollers, was hauled out from under O. V. Hurt’s house at 10’ o'clock this morning by officers of the law. From all indications this has been his hiding place ever since his disappearance some three months ago.

 

Secretly hidden in his unsuspected retreat, he was fed at first by the infatuated members of his flock, and from there he gave out the messages from on high, which now accounts for many of the peculiar antics of his followers, such as going bareheaded and barefooted on the streets.

 

As his followers were in turn arrested and sent to the insane asylum things began to come hard for Creffield. His food supply was cut off, and rather than come out to certain capture, he lay in his cramped quarters and starved.

 

This morning, Roy Hurt, aged about ten, while playing around, crawled under the house and found the apostle lying there. He came to town and notified his father and Chief Lane, who hastened over to verify the boy’s report.

 

The place where the apostle has been hidden is under a floor about 18 inches from the ground in a cave 15 inches deep and 6 feet long. A blanket, a pillow and about two-dozen empty fruit cans comprised his worldly possessions. Not a stitch of clothing of any kind could be found, except a soiled shirt.

 

His only remark when captured was to raise his hands to heaven and exclaim: “I am Elijah.”

 

Creffield is now in the county jail here. The house where he was found is the same one at which household articles, musical instruments, wearing apparel, and other articles of value were burned in a spectacular demonstration that astonished all Christendom several months ago. In all, half a dozen of his followers have been sent to the asylum, and two or three to the Boys and Girls Home. the last to go was Mrs. Hurt, who was committed to the asylum four weeks ago. It is supposed than in her going the agency for Creffield’s maintenance and food supply was largely cut off, which accounts for the apostle’s starving condition.

 

The dirt taken from the hole was leveled off and under it were found, besides the 18 fruit jars, all empty, a little sugar, a little flour, two tin cups, a knife and spoon. One of the jars showed that he stirred the fruit and flour together for his meals.

 

At first when accosted by the officers Creffield refused to come out from under the house, but at last yielded and crawled out. He was so emaciated and weak that he could scarcely stand alone. A reward of $ [illegible text] was offered for his arrest and conviction.

 

BRING CREFFIELD TO PORTLAND

 

Will Probably Be Arraigned Tomorrow on Adultery Charge

 

Portland police were notified this morning of Joshua Creffield’s capture. Creffield is wanted here on the charge of adultery, the complaint being sworn to by B. E. Starr who alleges that the Holy Roller had undue relations with his wife.

 

Detective Hartman, who has been working on the case will leave for Corvallis this evening, and return with the prisoner tomorrow. Creffield will probably be arraigned before Judge Hogue tomorrow morning.

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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

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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

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Comedians on Edmund Creffield

The Shadow Testament
A Play About The Holy Rollers

How the Fire Fell
A Movie About The Holy Rollers

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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

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Info about Cults

Could you ever be lured into joining a cult?

Share your thoughts about, and experiences with, cults

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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

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

(541) 563-3112

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Theresa (T-) McCracken