Holy Rollers' Commitment Papers
Many of the Holy Rollers were committed to the Oregon Insane Asylum in 1904. They may or may not have been crazy, but they were driving their families crazy, and it didn’t take much to have someone committed. Some of the reasons given on documents related to their commitments seem laughable today, “go upon the streets bare-headed,” and “she goes about with her … hair streaming down her back as all of the women of this sect do.
Below are reasons listed in commitment papers for why seven of the Holy Rollers were committed to the Oregon Insane Asylum.
Frank and Mollie Hurt Committed April 30, 1904: Lie upon their faces upon the floor and pray day and night, claiming to receive messages directly from God; go upon the streets bare-headed, in the thinnest of raiment; destroy clothing and valuable and useful property belonging to themselves, injuring their mind and health by continuation of these practices which they claim are the commands of God. Not destructive except as above stated, not violent and have not been restrained.
Maud Hurt-Creffield Committed May 3, 1904: Religious fanatic--believes in not wearing any covering for the head and the destruction of all the unnecessary articles of apparel.
Sophie Hartley Committed May 3, 1904: Religious fanatic--does not believe there is a Christian in any of the other churches--is identified with the notorious Holy Rollers and claims that she is called to be an apostle and performing [illegible] for same.”
Rose Seeley Committed May 6, 1904: Would not shake hands with others than her sect, because with others it is only a form. Would not sit on a chair, because it is not the natural way, but on the ground or floor. She remained standing during examination. Her church is the only church. Still believes Creffield a child of God.
Attie Bray Committed May 6, 1904: She was stubborn about answering questions. She believes in the restoration of all things and as an indication of some of her beliefs, regarding dress, she goes about with her head uncovered and hair streaming down her back as all of the women of this sect do.
Sarah M Hurt Committed June 27, 1904: Claims her husband is not related to her, and that God is her husband. Goes barefooted, sits or lies on floor, continually and engages in prayer.
Attie Bray's Commitment & Asylum Records
Sophie Hartley's Commitment & Asylum Records
Frank Hurt's Commitment & Asylum Records
Maud Hurt's Commitment & Asylum Records
Mollie Hurt's Commitment & Asylum Records
Sarah Hurt's Commitment & Asylum Records
Rose Seeley's Commitment & Asylum Records
County Court of the State of
Oregon for Linn County. In The Matter of the Examination and Commitment of:
Mollie Hurt. Complaint Filed 30 April 1904.
Frank Hurt. Complaint Filed 30 April 1904.
County Court of the State of
Oregon for Benton County. The Matter of the Examination and Commitment of
Atta (sic) Bray. Filed 6 May
Rose Seely (sic). Complaint. Filed 6 May 1904.
Sarah M. Hurt. Filed 27 June1904.
Personal History, Females, Volumes 4B Oregon Insane Asylum, Oregon State Hospital, p. 277.
Chapter 9 of Holy Rollers: Murder & Madness in Oregon's Love Cult
(The Holy Rollers are Committed to the Insane Asylum)
Copies of Some of the Holy Rollers' Commitment Papers to the Oregon Insane Asylum
The Oregon Insane Asylum in 1907
From my Blog: My Day at The Oregon Insane Asylum
A Bit of History about Oregon's Asylums and Their Patients
An Excerpt from Diane L. Goeres-Gardner’s book
Murder, Morality and Madness: Women Criminals in Early Oregon
Newspaper Articles from 1904 about the Holy Rollers being Committed to the Insane Asylum
New York Times Article: "Once a ‘Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Now a Museum"
Steilacoom Insane Asylum
(Where Esther Mitchell Was committed in 1907)
Holy Rollers: Murder & Madness in Oregon's Love Cult
Part 1: The Seduction
Chapter 1: Trust Me, Brothers And Sisters
(Life Before Creffield [B.C.])
Chapter 2: God, Save Us From Compromising Preachers
Chapter 3: The Flock
(Profiles of the Holy Rollers Were)
Chapter 4: The Holy Rollers
(Things Start to Get Wild on on Kiger Island)
Chapter 5: Housecleaning
(There's a Sacrificial Bonfire)
Chapter 6: Community Concerns
Chapter 7: Esther, The Chosen One
(Creffield Plans to Marry 16-Year- Old)
Chapter 8: Tar and Feathers
(The Men of Corvallis Act)
Chapter 9: Sane People Don’t Go Bareheaded
(Holy Rollers are Committed to the Asylum)
Chapter 10: More Beast Than Man
( Creffield is Arrested)
Chapter 11: God Will Plead Creffield's Case
(Creffield in Court)
Chapter 12: Scandal
(Shocking Testimony at the Trial)
Chapter 13: Calm Before the Storm
(The Holy Rollers Resume their Lives)
Chapter 14: Giving Up The Ghost
(Men are Gunning for Creffield)
Part Two: The People V. Creffield
Chapter 16: The Widow Creffield
Chapter 19: An Inherited Streak of Insanity
Part Three: The Madness
Chapter 23: Seeking Reconciliation
Chapter 24: Another Holy Roller Page One Murder
Chapter 25: What Can Papa Do For You?
Chapter 26: Human Life is Too Cheap In This Community
Chapter 30: The Final Chapter
(What Happened to Everyone Afterwards)
Information about Brainwashing & Thought Reform
Lifton's eight 'psychological themes' that can be found in totalist groups like the Holy Rollers:
Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority
Think You Can't be Lured into a Cult? Think Again.
The Oregon State Insane Asylum in 1907
Relevant Newspaper Articles:
October to December 1903: Holy Rollers Burn Furniture & Pets
April to June 1904: Holy Rollers are Committed to the Asylum