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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.

September 21, 1906: Both Women May Go Scott Free

 

HEADLINES IN PAPERS FOR THE SAME ARTICLE

 

Seattle Daily Times 9/21/1906 p1

Insanity Excuse Arouses Much Indignation

 

Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 9/21/1906 p8

Both Women May Go Free

 

Corvallis Times 9/25/1906 p1

May Go Scott Free

 

Corvallis Gazette 9/25/1906 p4

May Go Free

 

Legal Way Is Opened for an Epidemic of Murder. Murderers May Go Free. Judge Frater Orders Esther Mitchell and Maud Creffield Taken to Oregon and Stops Prosecution. Mackintosh Demands Enforcement of Law. George Mitchell’s Slayers Cannot Be Confined in Asylum of Neighboring State Until Again Declared Insane.

 

Seattle Court Orders Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield Sent to Oregon--Authorities Here May Refuse to Accept Them.

 

Seattle Court Orders Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield Sent to Oregon. Authorities May Refuse to Accept Them--An Oregon Commission Must Declare Them Insane Before They Can Be Admitted.

 

In Spite of Trial--A strange Ending to Insanity Case.”

 

(In a box in Seattle Daily Times) Throughout the city is heard the strongest condemnation of the Mitchell-Creffield insanity proceedings. “A travesty on justice” is one of the mildest expressions used. Everywhere the question is asked: “Does this mean that any person may kill another and then go scot free by pleading insanity.”

___

 

Unless Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh can secure a writ of prohibition from the Supreme Court preventing Sheriff Smith from carrying out an order issued by Judge Frater this morning requiring him to take Esther Mitchell and Maud Hurt Creffield to Oregon and turn them over to the superintendent of the insane asylum both women will probably be free within a few days at the outside. The finding of the insanity commission in King County has no effect in Oregon and before the superintendent of the asylum there would have a legal right to confine them an insanity commission in Oregon must declare them insane.

 

If the superintendent of the Oregon asylum obeys the laws of Oregon he will refuse to admit the women to asylum until they have been committed in Oregon. If he refuses to accept them Sheriff Smith will have no authority to bring them back here for trial. A writ of habeas corpus issued out by friends of the women as soon as they enter Oregon and served on Sheriff Smith would prevent the sheriff from even taking them to the asylum. The order of Judge Frater is not binding on any of the authorities in Oregon.

 

To prevent the women from escaping all punishment for their crimes and believing that the insanity commission was simply a subterfuge conceived and engineered for the purpose of saving the women from a trial for a brutal homicide Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh will this afternoon or tomorrow morning apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition. Judge Frater has declared that he is satisfied with the work of the commission and that no appeal lies from the orders of deportation he has signed.

 

INSANE NOT RESIDENTS

 

The order of deportation was made under a statute passed by the last legislature which declares that insane persons who have no legal residence within the state shall be sent to the place where they belong. The superior court is empowered to discover the legal residence of the insane person. The sheriff is charged with transferring them at the expense of the state.

 

Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh is determined that the women shall stand trial for the murder of George Mitchell. He asserts that he will exhaust every legal means within his power to prevent their escaping a trial by a jury, as the law provides. Mr. Mackintosh said this afternoon:

If I were to passively allow these two women to be taken out of this state without a trial I would be unfit to hold my office. Those two women are going to be tried if I can compel the observance of the laws, and I intend to do my utmost to have them tried. As long as I am prosecuting attorney the laws are going to be enforced. No insanity commission can prevent me from trying to bring assassins to justice. If a jury wishes to turn them loose that is their province.

 

DENIES COURT’S RIGHT

 

“No court has a right to free them and make life unsafe in this community. I will not be a party to any such proceeding. The women will not leave this county until I have exhausted every means in my power to prevent it. I shall apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition. I will ask the Supreme Court to aid me in forcing Judge Frater to try these women.”

 

The clash between the prosecuting attorney’s office and Judge Frater over the disposition of the Mitchell and Creffield murder cases occurred this morning when the report of the commission was filed. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Miller took the floor and denounced the commission in the strongest terms. He declared that Judge Frater had not followed the statue in the conduct of the commission. The law provided that it should be held before a judge and Mr. Miller declared that Judge Frater had been present at the hearing but a few hours at the most. The fact that the commission had not filed a report of testimony for the court to pass upon, Mr. Miller declared was a good reason why the court should not sign the order for the deportation.

 

The star chamber sessions, the refusal of the commission to listen to testimony of Dr. McLeish, former superintendent of the insane asylum at Steilacoom, in whose opinion the women are sane, the open evidence that the commission had been “framed up” to find the women insane and showed it from the beginning of the hearings, the refusal to allow the prosecuting attorney to question witnesses and the ejection of that official from the hearings upon several occasions, Mr. Miller declared were sufficient reasons for the court refusing to accept the commission report.

 

Mr. Miller said:

With reference to this report that has been filed in these cases of Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield. I must say that as far as myself, individually, and as far as the prosecuting attorneys office is concerned, we are absolutely astounded. I am not only inexpressibly surprised, but I am absolutely astounded that the criminal laws of this state for the protection of our lives and people can be set aside and criminals can avoid the consequences of crime on any such subterfuge, as in this case.

 

“Here we have a spectacle, when two women commit one of the most cowardly, one of the most brutal assassinations that has ever taken place in our city. They are placed in jail and remain there for weeks, and even after the case is set for trial there is nothing done until two or three weeks before the day set for trial when a third party comes in and asks for a commission to examine into their sanity.

 

“The prosecuting attorney’s office had no voice in protecting the interests of the people. The commission held secret sessions, as they state in their report, at which I do not know what transpired; but I do know that from first to last, from the character of the words used by the commission, I feared the result of this inquisition. They said they did not care for the presence of others save the ones being examined on certain occasions.”

 

Here Mr. Miller referred to the statutes covering the conduct of such inquisitions.

 

USURPED JUDICIAL FUNCTIONS

 

“This commission has not only usurped all the rights of counsel, but has usurped the judicial functions of this court without any authority on earth, according to the statutes.

 

“The statute requires that the judge shall examine the charge. There was not one hour out of the time that the judge of this court was absolutely personally present when the examination was taking place. A complete delegation, a complete usurpation of the judicial function has been granted to this commission, where in the statute it says the judge shall examine these people. Not one question was asked by the judge of this court as to whether these people were sane or insane, nor at any time was your honor present during the procedure.

 

“They had secret sessions. I am the great believer in the broad open light upon all judicial and quasi-judicial investigations.”

 

The court interrupted to say that when instructions were given to this commission at the outset that if any counsel for or on behalf of the state or the parties accused were not satisfied at any time with the examination they were authorized to ask the witnesses such questions as they desired, and that Mr. Miller was present when such instructions were given.

 

Mr. Miller claimed that he did not so understand the instructions; that the commission said it had no objections to his being present, but that the commission did not indicate to him that they desired him to ask any questions.

 

The judge stated further that the sessions were to be open, except in case of physical examination, and also that one of the physicians, Dr. Loughary, in Mr. Miller’s presence stated that he refused to testify before the commission unless in secret session. This Mr. Miller Conceded.

 

OPEN SESSIONS REQUIRED

 

Mr. Miller argued further: “The examination should be held in open court before the judge as the statue provides; that the record of the testimony was not before the court; that counsel was present at all times; that from the report he was simply astounded from the character of the evidence.

 

“Here, a witness comes before the commission and says: ‘I know I violated the law, I know it was wrong to take a man’s life; I expected to be arrested, I knew I would be arrested; I am willing now to suffer the penalty, but I am satisfied; I don’t care.

 

“But I presume under the statue of 1895, if the court is satisfied of the insanity of these people, the procedure is to return them to the State of Oregon.

 

“It is your honor’s privilege, if you find that these people are fit subjects to be incarcerated in a hospital for insane to have them deported to Oregon. Your honor must obtain this from the facts and testimony. Your honor cannot delegate this judicial function to a commission.

 

“From the character and class of testimony in this case no (illegible) simply demand your honor, that this case shall be tried in ordinary and unusual method of trial of persons accused of crime and they not be deported to the State of Oregon.”

 

The court stated that he was satisfied as to the method of procedure, and if there were any question in the mind of the prosecuting attorney he could take the matter to the Supreme Court and have its validity tested; that he would not sign the order until such appeal is taken.

 

JUDGE FRATER SATISFIED

 

Judge Frater, however, declared that he was satisfied with the commission, that the cases would be stricken from the trial calendar and that the women would be taken to Oregon. The court asserted that if the prosecuting attorney wished to take the matter to the Supreme Court he was at liberty to do so, and that no haste would be exercised in transporting the women. This ended the court proceedings and the orders to transport the women were signed.

 

The reports of the commission were practically the same in both cases. The commission found that Mrs. Creffield exhibited “logical and systematic delusions of persecution and self-exaltation without excitement of emotion or idea or impairment of memory. “ The commission declared that there was evidence of “a homicidal, a suicidal disposition.” Mrs. Creffield was also found to have burned clothing and furniture. The attack of insanity the commission declared had lasted for several years and was increasing. The cause of the insanity in both cases was found to be “structural defects in the nervous system.” The report made on Esther Mitchell was the same as on Mrs. Creffield.

 

The commission recommended that the women be confined in an institution and subjected to a change of environment.

 

TEXT OF REPORT

 

The text of the special report is as follows:

Throughout the investigations of this commission, the plan persisted in with unrelaxed effort was to get any and all reliable information, from whatever source, of the family and personal history, the present illness and present condition of the accused, and to make careful physical examinations, whenever possible, of all parties concerned in this history, and to make an individual study, regardless of time or place, of the mental condition of the subjects before, at the time of and since the perpetration of the crime charged against them.

 

“In following the verbal instructions of the court, which placed the entire method of procedure in the hands of the commission and gave it the privilege of holding public sessions or of holding strictly private sessions whenever the commission deemed it necessary, expedient or desirable to do so, the labors of the commission were greatly facilitated; and on several occasions, the commission believing that it was not obtaining all of the facts, for reasons which were obvious, or for the purpose of making physical examinations of for the purpose of receiving privileged communications from other physicians, found it necessary, during the course of its investigations, to resort to private examination.

 

“As a result of its labors, the commission is unanimously of the opinion that the subjects of this investigation were at the time of the commission of the crime charged against them, and are now, suffering from a form of insanity commonly classified as paranoia, which has its origin in structural defects of the nervous system.

 

“Further, that because of this disease, they were at the time of the commission of the crime, possessed of such a deranged mentality as to make them unable to distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore irresponsible criminally.

 

“Further, that these individuals belong to a class of lunatics dangerous to be at large, who persistently follow their morbid inclinations, regardless of law or ethics, and should be placed under restraint in an institution for the proper treatment of such cases.”

 

The reports are signed by Drs. Kenneth Turner, R. M. Eames and J. H. Snively.

 

 

Corvallis Times 9/21/1906 p3

She Swallowed Poison

In an Effort to end her Life--Doctors Arrived in Time to Thwart her Plan.

 

Mrs. James K. Berry, wife of the chief of the Corvallis fire Department, attempted to commit suicide yesterday afternoon, in a room at the Occidental Hotel. she attempted to take carbolic acid, but before she could carry out her purpose, the bottle was wrenched from her hand by her husband who was in the room at the time. Persisting further in her design, she swallowed three antiseptic tablets, known to druggists as bichloride of mercury. The dose would have been more than enough to kill, but Mr. Berry summoned medical assistance quickly, and after three hours hard work by Drs. Cathey and Farra, the life of the woman was saved, and she is now understood to be out of danger.

 

Family difficulties are understood to be at the bottom of Mrs. Berry’s action. She and her husband were married two or three years ago, and resided in the western part of town. During the early summer Mrs. Berry went to Salem, and was absent for a considerable time. At the time there were rumors that she was not to return. She did, however, come back, and while stopping at the Occidental Hotel was the subject of a sensational fracas. After that she returned to Salem leaving her child in the custody of her husband, by whom it has been kept at O. V. Hurt’s. Last Monday Mrs. Berry returned to Corvallis and took quarters at the Occidental. Her husband was then in Seattle as a witness in the Esther Mitchell and Maud Hurt sanity inquiry. He returned Tuesday, and the attempted suicide by the wife transpired two days later. His friends assert that Mr. and Mrs. Berry have now adjusted their difficulties and that they will hereafter live together.

 

 

Seattle Post Intelligencer 9/21/1906

Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield Insane

Slayer of Brother and Mrs. Creffield Will Go to Asylum. State Will Appeal. Judge Frater Says If Not Restrained Women Will Be Sent to Oregon.

 

The commission of Physicians named to inquire into the sanity of Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Maud Creffield yesterday made its report to the court and declared that it is the unanimous opinion of the board that both of the women are insane. Prosecuting attorney Mackintosh at once gave notice of an appeal, and Judge Frater declares he will today commit the women to the state asylum for the insane, giving the prosecutor plenty of time to take such action as he may wish before the prisoners are deported to Oregon, and action he says he contemplates taking, if not restrained. The court stated that in his opinion the only thing that can be done is for the state to apply to the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition to stop him from sending the women out of the state.

 

Attorney A. E. Clark, of Portland, representing Esther Mitchell, asked the court to strike the case against her from the trial calendar, as it will be impossible for the appeal to be perfected before the time set for the hearing, September 24. This was objected to by the prosecutor, who stated that the trial could take place before the appeal was perfected. The motion will not be ruled upon until today.

 

The reports were not signed by the members of the commission when they were read to the court by Dr. Kenneth Turner, who acted as chairman of the board, but it was stipulated by the attorneys that the reports were to be considered as signed. The formal filing of the report will be made today and Judge Frater declared he would sign the commitments as soon as this is done. The women will be taken to the state asylum and held there pending the action of the prosecutor. Dr. J. H. Snively and Dr. R. M. Eames were the other members of the commission.

 

Attorneys W. A. Holzheimer, A. E. Clark and C. L. Baxter, acting for the two prisoners, declare that the action proposed by Mr. Mackintosh is impossible, and that the case is practically settled. They hold that it is only one more delay in the cases, as in the end the women will be sent to Oregon.

 

WOMEN APPEAR INDIFFERENT

 

When told by her father, O. V. Hurt, of the action of the insanity commission, Mrs. Creffield showed little interest in the affair, and her only expression was: “I am glad for your sake.” The younger woman had nothing to say.

 

In making its report to the court in the two cases the commission states:

Throughout the investigations of this commission, the plan persisted in with unrelaxed effort was to get any and all reliable information, from whatever source, of the family and personal history, the present illness and present condition of the accused, and to make careful physical examinations, whenever possible, of all parties concerned in this history, and to make an individual study, regardless of time or place, of the mental condition of the subjects before, at the time of and since the perpetration of the crime charged against them.

 

“In following the verbal instructions of the court, which placed the entire method of procedure in the hands of the commission and gave it the privilege of holding public sessions or of holding strictly private sessions whenever the commission deemed it necessary, expedient or desirable to do so, the labors of the commission were greatly facilitated; and on several occasions, the commission believing that it was not obtaining all of the facts, for reasons which were obvious, or for the purpose of making physical examinations of for the purpose of receiving privileged communications from other physicians, found it necessary, during the course of its investigations, to resort to private examination.

 

“As a result of its labors, the commission is unanimously of the opinion that the subjects of this investigation were at the time of the commission of the crime charged against them, and are now, suffering from a form of insanity commonly classified as paranoia, which has its origin in structural defects of the nervous system.

 

“Further, that because of this disease, they were at the time of the commission of the crime, possessed of such a deranged mentality as to make them unable to distinguish between right and wrong, and therefore irresponsible criminally.

 

“Further, that these individuals belong to a class of lunatics dangerous to be at large, who persistently follow their morbid inclinations, regardless of law or ethics, and should be placed under restraint in an institution for the proper treatment of such cases.”

 

 

Seattle Star 9/21/1906 p1

Says Examination Was Only a Farce

John F. Miller Charges Mitchell-Creffield Insanity Commission With Deciding Upon Verdict Before the Examination Began--Commission Declares Its Belief That Both Women Were and Are Insane.

 

Before Judge Frater in the Superior Court this morning Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John F. Miller charged indirectly that the finding of the Mitchell-Creffield insanity commission was determined (illegible) before the beginning of the examination of the women or witnesses.

 

“From the manner in which the (illegible) composing (illegible) this commission (illegible) their first question it was quite apparent to me, and should have been to everyone, just exactly what the outcome of the examination would be.”

 

REPORT IS PRESENTED

 

Miller’s remarks were made immediately following the formal presentation (illegible) to the court of the (illegible) of the insanity commission (illegible) report the commission decided both Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield to have been insane at the time of the killing of George Mitchell and to still be insane.

 

“I am absolutely astounded that the commission, after hearing the (illegible) in this investigation should hand in a report to the effect that these women are insane, declared(illegible) Mr. Miller after the report had been received by the court.

 

CONDUCT OF WOMEN

 

“The conduct of the women themselves and their examination by the commission could leave no doubt in the mind of any man as the their sanity,” continued Mr. Miller. “Listen to the words of Esther Mitchell: ‘Yes I killed George and for good cause, and I’m glad that I did, and I would do the same thing again under the same circumstances. I knew what the penalty for the act was, and I am prepared now to suffer the penalty.”

 

“Does that sound like the statement of an insane person?

 

“Will you tell me how the prosecuting attorney of this county is going to punish murderers when it is possible for a third party to slip in, suggest insanity and secure the release of the murderer.”

 

CRITICIZES THE COURT

 

Judge Miller criticized the manner in which the examination had been conducted and charged the court with negligence in not being present throughout all of the sessions of the commission.

 

Following Mr. Miller’s address Judge Frater declared himself perfectly satisfied with the report of the commission, but declared that he would give the prosecuting attorney’s office every opportunity to perfect an appeal. To this end he stated that he had determined to commit the women to a Washington state institution, where they could remain until the appeal had been heard.

 

Attorney Clark, of Portland, representing Esther Mitchell, asked that the case be stricken from the calendar, and this was done.

 

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON

 

That both Maud Creffield and Esther Mitchell are insane was declared informally in Judge Frater’s court yesterday afternoon to be the finding of the commission.

 

Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh announced when the report was made to the court, that he would appeal to the Supreme Court from the findings, but Judge Frater announced that the only course that could be taken to prevent the commitment was for the state to ask for a writ of prohibition to prevent him from sending the women out of the state.

 

Pending the action to be taken by Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh to prevent the women being taken to the Oregon asylum they will be taken to the Washington asylum at Steilacoom where they will be within the jurisdiction of the state courts.

 

The commission consisted of Dr. Kenneth Turner, Dr. J. H. Snively and Dr. R. M. Eames.

 

 

HEADLINES IN PAPERS FOR THE SAME ARTICLE

 

Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 9/21/1906 p1

Holly (sic) Rollers Found Insane

 

Corvallis Gazette 9/25/1906 p2

Pronounced Insane

 

Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 9/22/1906 p1

Issued Order

 

Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield not Responsible Both Suffer from Paranoia. Insanity Commission Declares Women Are Unable to Distinguish Between Right and Wrong. Prosecuting Attorney Dissatisfied With Report and May Ask Supreme Court to Restrain Judge Frater From Ordering Women to Return to Oregon.

 

Trial Ended at Seattle--Creffield-Mitchell Case.

 

Judge Frater Determined to Deport Holy Roller Women to Oregon. Prosecuting Attorney Denounces Insanity Commission and Demands That Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield be Tried for Murder.

 

SEATTLE, Sept 21.-- In conformance with the report of the Mitchell-Creffield insanity commission, Judge Frater this morning issued an order directing the sheriff to deport the women to Oregon, their home state, under the law passed at the last session of the legislature for the disposal of alien insane. The prosecuting attorney renounced the insanity commission and demanded that the women be tried. Judge Frater, however, struck their cases from the docket. The prosecuting attorney says he will ask the Supreme Court for a writ of prohibition, preventing the deportation of the women.

 

Judge Frater stated he would allow the prosecution sufficient time to secure a writ from the Supreme Court, which had been declared may be asked for. The judge says, however, that unless restrained by the Supreme Court he intends to have the women deported.

 

 

 

Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 9/21/1906 p8

Corvallis Woman Takes Dose of Poison

 

(Special Dispatch to The Journal)

 

Corvallis, Or., Sept. 21.--Mrs. J. K. Berry attempted to commit suicide yesterday afternoon in a room at the Occidental hotel by taking a drug. Two physicians arrived in time to save her. She will recover. Her act was due to family troubles. She was recently separated from her husband, J. K. Berry, who figured as a witness in the Holy Roller trials at Seattle. The trouble was over the baby, whom the father took away, leaving it at O. V. Hurt’s home. The mother wished to have it, was melancholy, and attempted to kill herself.

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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