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.
Most of these earliest articles are from the Corvallis Gazette and Corvallis Times, the latter of which had a regular feature titled, Local Lore, News Of Corvallis and Vicinity Told in Brief, The comings and Goings of People, Social Gossip, Personal Mention and Other Items of Public Interest. While not as juicy as the later stuff (the sex scandals, the mass insanity, the murders, etc.) they do give one a glimpse into what life in Oregon was like in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Corvallis Times 12/28/1893 p3
The Salvation Army captured nine prisoners last week.
Corvallis Times 6/31/1894 p1
The Salvation Army occasionally gets a new recruit. The other day a little lassie came into our midst being very poorly clad; no shoes, not bonnet, no wrap, a Mrs. Sam Dixon took her in and gave her a home. Sam says she is looking for more soon.
Yamhill County Reporter (McMinnville) 12/14/1894 p3
Sometime during the last winter Alfred Moore put an apple away in his trunk to see if it would keep until the 4th of July. The apple was forgotten until one day this week when it was found to still be sound, but on being exposed to light and air it soon turned black.
Yamhill County Reporter (McMinnville) 12/14/1894 p3
Mrs. Mitchell, the wife of Chas. Mitchell who resides a mile northwest of Newberg, died suddenly Wednesday night at two o’clock. The deceased has a spell of sickness two weeks ago, but seemingly had about recovered. On Wednesday she felt rather badly, but no alarm was felt in the family until in the night, when she was taken worse suddenly and died in a few minutes.
Corvallis Times 1/7/1897 p3
A PIECE OF HOODLUMISM
While the Salvation Army was busied with the usual nightly parade on Main Street, the other night, some unknown person emptied on the floor of the barracks the contents of a bottle of skunk musk. The musk is supposed to be the same that Barber Case bought of a country lad, mention of which transaction was made in the TIMES last issue. When the army with its congregation arrived at their headquarters to proceed with the usual nightly meeting, the stench inside the room was so vile that few people cared to brave it, even in the hope of securing salvation free. The odor, it is said, even hangs about and haunts the place to this day, in spite of the fact that every effort was made to remove it.
Corvallis Times 8/7/1897 p1
The Salvation Army of Corvallis attacked Philomath last Tuesday night in force under the leadership of Ensign Leigh with his kintograph, assisted by Capt. Duthie and Lieut. Spencer. The meeting was held in the brick college chapel. Ensign Leigh explained the social work of the Salvation Army and what has been done to relieve the poor and destitute in this division known as the North Pacific Chief division.
Corvallis Times 12/8/1897 p3
MANY ARE PROSTRATED
There was Poison in the Food -- Head Cheese and Sausage that made People sick.
Forty-six Corvallis people prostrated, all seriously and some dangerously ill, with all the physicians in town on the jump in caring for them is the unfortunate condition brought about as a result of the consumption of poisonous food the latter part of the week. So far no fatalities have resulted, and it is believed by physicians in charge that the danger point is passed; but some of the victims are still in a bad state of prostration, with the deadly poison thoroughly distributed through the physical system.
The food eater was head cheese and sausage, made last week on the farm of John Hurlburt who resides several miles south of Corvallis. A quantity of the product was brought to town and distributed as a delicacy among a circle of relatives and friends, many of them, being members of the Salvation Army. In every instance, according to the best information obtainable, where one ate either the head cheese or sausage, serious illness has resulted. The symptoms are invariably the same, and include violent vomiting and purging, accompanied by terrible pains in the stomach and bowels. The physicians have in each case diagnosed the illness as poison, and the antidotes applied have usually had the desired effect in reducing the pain and arresting the further progress of the disease toward an alarming stage. The affected food has not only been fatal to persons but also to domestic animals. A friend took a small slice of the head cheese to Mrs. Horton, who suffers with the illness. She declined to eat it, and her daughter Addie ate a small portion and laid the remainder of the slice on the table. The house cat came along, ate the remainder and has ever since been the sickest cat in town. A pet dog on the premises of O.V. Hurt ate a small quantity of the stuff and its health has since been similar to that of the cat.
So far as known those ill as a result of eating the food are: O.V. Hurt, wife and four children, besides Burt Sharp and Miss Whiteman residing in the same family; Captain Plumstead, wife and child, and Marion Woods, all residing at the Salvation Army barracks, Plutarch Lewis, wife and three children, ... Mr. Starr, a brother of Mrs. O.V. Hurt; ...
Of all the victims probably O.V. Hurt, Mrs. Plutarch Lewis, Miss Whiteman, and Mrs. Gardner have been the most seriously affected. Mr. Hurt ate of the head cheese Friday evening at supper. Before daylight the next morning he was taken sick, but was at his place at Kline's store during the forenoon Saturday. Pains in the stomach and bowels and during the succeeding night violent purging and vomiting made his case alarming. Dr. Farra was summoned and the case was at once pronounced as a result of poison. By this time, which was early Sunday morning, all the rest of the household was similarly ill. Up to yesterday all in the house were still confined to bed, with the exception of Mr. Hurt their condition was considered improved. Mr. Hurt himself was in a serious condition of prostration, still suffering more or less pain, and very much exhausted.
Corvallis Gazette 12/31/1897 p3
The debut of the Corvallis Salvation Army Brass Band is to shortly occur.
Corvallis Times 1/5/1898 p2
Salvation Army Affairs
A ten days session of the annual camp meeting of the Salvation Army was concluded on Monday evening last. The services were largely attended and to the ranks there was an accession of four recruits. Major Marshal, chief division officer for the Northwest and Staff Captain, sectional officer with headquarters at Salem were present Monday evening, the former commissioning a number of minor officers. Among them were members of a band recently organized. The work here under the direction of Captain Plumstead and Lieut. Pearson is being prosecuted energetically and successfully. The soldiers now enrolled in the Corvallis corps number thirty-three.
May (sic) Hurt, listed an excellent Young Soldier boomer for the Salvation Army newspaper [The War Cry], and receives second prize nationwide for greatest amount of papers sold. This enterprising Salvation Army lassie wins a fine guitar.