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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 1, 1906: Creffield’s Ghost Controls His Flock

 

Kenneth MackintoshSeattle Sunday Times 7/1/1906 p3

Creffield’s Ghost Controls His Flock

Former Holy Rollers Brought Here to Testify in Defense of George Mitchell Returning to Old Beliefs.

Morris and Shipley Encounter Wall of Fanatical Mysticism in Effort to Array Evidence for their Side.

Two Sisters of the Defendant Under Spell of Dead Man’s Teachings, and Father and Brother Thought Infected

 

by Walter Deffenbaugh

 

Although it is admitted by the defense, as well as charged by the prosecution in the George Mitchell case that “Joshua” Creffield, one-time leader of the Holy Rollers, is dead, his personality and his teachings are still a live factor in the case.

 

Insist as it may, that the doings of Creffield and the peculiar beliefs with which he inculcated the minds of his cult, have nothing to do with the case, the prosecution cannot bar the influence of his teachings from the minds of the jury.

 

Try as they may to override the efforts of the county prosecutors and to rally their witnesses to the earthly needs of this brother of two of their women associated, the attorneys for the defense are met by the wall which the doctrines of “Joshua” has fixed in the minds of his followers, that this defendant is a man without the pale--that he is an unbeliever and that God has turned his face from him.

 

George Mitchell never did believe the gospel which Creffield taught and one of the articles of his Holy Roller creed was that a man who did not believe--be he brother, husband, father or nothing--was “of the devil” and displeasing in the sight of God. He was not to be cherished, aided or even tolerated in the most sacred obligations of the family. He must be made an outcast and an enemy.

 

This is the condition, which confronts Will H. Morris as he strives to array the witnesses of the defense, the majority of whom have been brought from Oregon and nearly all of whom have been or are members of this cult.

 

PERSONALITY STILL LIVES

 

The personality of this dead “Joshua” is still alive in the minds of his followers. He had prepared them for just such a contingency as this. He had told them “I will come again,” with vivid, but far-reaching blasphemy.

 

It is easy enough for a man or a woman in full possession of healthy faculties to laugh at such teachings as the words of a conscienceless hypocrite, but it is not so easy for those who have watched the change in this man Creffield from a sincere, if extravagant religious teacher to a masquerading libertine.

 

These witnesses for the defense are not mental heavyweights. They are simple folk. In their minds it is not easy to distinguish between religious doctrine with is good and sound and uplifting and a frenzy based upon the same fundamental idea--the pleasing of god--which more cultivated minds immediately pronounce evil, degrading and bestial.

 

It was among these simple folk that this man Creffield found first his converts and then his victims.

 

The man was a born leader, goodly of figure, strong and with a peculiarly musical voice. he did with these people as he willed and out of them he made what he would. As in all religious teaching, particularly those which have to do with the emotions the women, were the most enthusiastic. The more unusual of the demonstrative elements of religion are more apt to repel a man and more apt to make him retire onto his own self and think it over outside the compelling influences of the teacher.

 

MEN ARE MAINLY SANE

 

So it is, that in this flock from which a bullet impelled by the though of wronged women has removed the leader, the men are in the main returned to sanity and the affairs of the world. It is the women with whom the defense now has to deal, and it is the effort to induce them to look at affairs as the world and particularly the law views them, which occupies the minds of George Mitchell’s attorneys.

 

In this effort they are being steadily fought by the spirit of “Joshua” Creffield. If it is not the spirit, which he taught would return to earth after his death, it is at least the remaining power of his influence when he was on earth. It fills these women with a mysticism, which cannot be accommodated to the necessities of the understanding of mere mortals and covers them with a veil of superstitious prejudice, which the attorneys have been unable to penetrate.

 

Esther Mitchell is one of these women. She is the boy’s young sister. She is a girl whom he says this Holy Roller cruelly wronged. She is one of the few persons on earth whom the naturally prevailing rule of blood kinship should bring to his side, almost with perjury if that were necessary.

 

Mrs. B. E. Starr, the married sister, for adultery with whom Creffield was once sent to the penitentiary in Oregon, is another one of these. She is a married woman with children--one of them a baby of eight months. Her husband--one a Holy Roller himself--has repeatedly forgiven her religious follies, and it was he who persuaded her to come to Seattle to testify upon behalf of her brother.

 

RETURNS TO THE FOLD

 

It required but one brief conversation with her sister and Mrs. Creffield to revive all of the prejudices of the religious fantasy which had caused the wreck of her household before. Her husband is still faithful, but almost hopeless. He fears the return of the passion of belief which will again make of him an outcast and “one of the devil.”

 

Mrs. Creffield is, of course, the chief of these. Her attitude, her faith and her beliefs have already been described.

 

There are also two or three others whom the defense has within reach of the courts of King County, but whose identity has not been disclosed. They may or may not be called. It depends upon the hold the return of the old fervor obtains with them before the day comes.

 

As for the others the defense is practically committed to call them, although Mr. Morris has but little idea of how they will answer his questions. He only knows what to ask. He must trust to good fortune and his own abilities to draw out the truths which he desires, and to which he knows these women, willy-nilly, are the best witnesses.

 

The returning wave of this peculiar religious fervor has even gained and overwhelmed backsliders and obtained new converts of a sort among men.

 

FRED MITCHELL INVOLVED

 

Fred Mitchell, the older brother of George, who was once a member of the faith in its earlier days is said to have returned to his old beliefs. He is somewhere in the city, but George and his brother, Perry, who worked his way out from Illinois to be with him and who stands beside him, do not know where he is. He seems to avoid them and is only heard of in consultation with the known followers and firm believers in the divinity of Creffield and the glory of his teachings.

 

The very father of this boy on trial for his life, Charles Mitchell, who recently came here from his home in Mount Vernon, Ills., with every assurance of sympathy for his son, has not been seen by the boy, Perry, or the attorneys for the defense since the morning of his arrival. He is a man of strong religious tendencies, at times a Quaker and at others a member of the Salvation Army, to which Creffield at one time belonged.

 

It is believed in a way, that he too has become imbued with some of the ideas of this Holy Roller faith and has joined with those who lift their skirts out of touch with those without the fold and turn their backs upon their closest relatives in accordance to the cruel teachings of their fanatical faith.

 

There are other men and other women in Seattle, however, who are sane as others of the more commonplace world understand it and they will testify to the breaking up of families and the disgusting orgies which resulted from Creffield’s teachings and these, together with what the attorneys are able to draw out of unwilling witnesses will, it is believed, be enough. The rest will depend upon argument.

 

Thus far, with the exception of one or two dramatic incidents, the trial has been prosaic. The prosecution has aimed at calmness and coldness in is presentation of facts and its examination of witnesses. It has aimed to throw an air of finality and of matter-of-factness about its every move. It has sought to impress the jury with the simplicity of the case and thereby with the fact that nothing can mitigate its array of frigid facts indicating meditated murder. The very appearing of anything tingeing upon emotion has been ruthlessly crushed by Mr. Miller, and in this effort he has been ably seconded by Judge Frater.

 

Tomorrow the fireworks will begin, for just as the prosecution attempts to curb any natural tendencies toward emotion upon the part of the jury, the defense aims to encourage it. The defense claims to have an argument just as logical and just as legal as the statements of fact presented by the prosecution, but their case concerns the emotion of a man and that of the defense the dry facts of law books.

 

Therefore there will be a material difference in the manner in which the two are presented.

 

 

Seattle Post Intelligencer 7/1/1906 sec2 p7

Creffield’s Doings Plea of Defense

George Mitchell’s Attorneys to Try to Show Cause for Insanity

Revelations Expected

Witnesses From Oregon Thought to Have Story to Tell of Startling Nature

 

With the beginning of the defense in the trial of George Mitchell will commence, if the commonly expressed belief is to be relied on, some of the most interesting revelations ever heard before a King County court.

 

The state’s case against Mitchell was limited to the simple fact that the man killed Franz Edmund Creffield on First Avenue, Seattle, May 7, and to the presentation of evidence to show that the act was committed with deliberation, purpose and premeditation. The earliest date of which they would allow mention in the court room was the date on which Mrs. Creffield came to Seattle, April 2. Every attempt to bring in evidence relating to an earlier period was objected to by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, John F. Miller, and the objections were uniformly sustained by Judge A. W. Frater.

 

All the witnesses for the defense are not from Seattle, but from Oregon with the single exception of Patrolman LeCount, whom the defense asked to be prepared to give further evidence in the case. Mr. Shipley’s address to the jury will be concerned with what he expects to prove from his witnesses. From the questions asked of the jury men, and of the witnesses for the state, the inference is drawn that this address will contain an epitome of the doings of one of the strangest religious sects ever known.

 

From the recital of these doings to the jury by those most intimately concerned with them, the defense hopes to show that George Mitchell had the greatest of provocations. It was apparent from the questions of the attorneys for the defense to the jury that insanity would be the defense, an insanity which they hope to prove to have been a monomania induced by the relations between the “second Joshua” and his followers--those whose names were in the “holy roll.”

 

Just how much of the story of Creffield’s doings among his followers the defense will be able to prove from the evidence of their witnesses is another problem which is exciting public attention. Esther Mitchell, whose name has often been mentioned in connection with this case, is declared to be still a follower of Holy Rollerism. One of the best known of the tenants of the faith, as popularly reported, is the obligation of the followers to abandon himself or herself entirely to the religion, even to the giving up of father and family relations.

 

In this connection those in touch with the two chief exponents of the belief now in Seattle, Mrs. Creffield and Esther Mitchell, who are in custody of the police matron, point to the strange behavior of the women. George Mitchell’s father is reported to have gone back to Portland. Mitchell saw him but a few moments before he went into the court room the day his father arrived. He expected to talk with him in the court room. The father never appeared.

 

It is reported he went to the city jail, there to visit his daughter, Esther. He was not there long, and since then has not been seen in the city.

 

Perry Mitchell, also from Illinois, where Esther was sent after doubts as to her sanity had been raised in Oregon, also attempted to see his sister in the county court house, Friday, as she and Mrs. Creffield were being returned to the city jail in the custody of the police matron.

 

O. V. Hurt, of Corvallis, Or., stopped his daughter, Mrs. Creffield, in the hall a moment. Perry say eye witnesses, took the opportunity to speak to his sister. She shook hands with him, but is said to have refused all further attempts at conversation with a “Stand aside, please.”

 

It is with such witnesses that the defense hopes to prove its case. The attorneys for the prosecution declare that with one, at least, Esther Mitchell, they will be unable to do anything.

 

“The girl is still a follower of Holy-Rollerism,” said Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh, “and will give no statement against Creffield.”

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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

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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

 

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

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The Cast of Characters
Photos and Bios of the Holy Rollers

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Holy Rollers' Asylum Commitment Papers

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Info for Book Groups

Book Reviews

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

(541) 563-3112

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Theresa (T-) McCracken