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.
January 18, 1903: Fred Mitchell Attempts Suicide
Sunday Oregonian (Portland) 1/18/1903 p24
Had Troubles Of His Own
Why Motorman Mitchell Attempted Suicide. Recent Religious Convert Hovers Between Life and Death as a Result of Bullet Wounds.
Suffering from some unknown sort of religious trouble, Fred Mitchell, 24 years old, a motor man, attempted suicide yesterday morning at the Merchants’ Hotel on Third street by sending one bullet through his left breast, near his heart, and another bulled into his forehead. He was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital, where it was stated that his chances for life and death are about evenly divided. When asked the reason for his having attempted to take his life, Mitchell answered: “None of your business. Attend to your own affairs. I’ve troubles of my own.”
Mitchell was employed as motorman on the Lower Albina run, and up to quite recently was known as a man of a jovial disposition, but within the past few days he acted strangely and talked in a rambling way about religion. Friday he informed Superintendent Swigert that he was going to quit, and did so, although he failed to mention any reason for this course. Previously he had told his friends that some things were not satisfactory about his work. Friday night Mitchell rented a room at the Merchants’ Hotel and paid for two nights in advance. His trunk was brought to the hotel, and it was assumed that he was going to live there.
Early yesterday morning, probably about 4 or 5 o’clock, he fired the two shots which he hoped would end his earthly career, but nobody heard the reports of the revolver at that time, and he lay bleeding until 8 o’clock, when a chambermaid unlocked the room door to make up his bed supposing that he had already left for work. She summoned aid, and Jailer Roberts arrived and found a 38-caliber revolver lying beside the bed. Roberts summoned Holman’s ambulance and the wounded man was taken to the Good Samaritan Hospital. Here he refused to explain what had caused him to attempt suicide.
A letter found in one of his pockets, from a friend in Idaho, stated that the writer was glad that Mitchell was converted, and continued in a religious strain. The wounded man’s father is Charles Mitchell, of Danville, I;;., and his brother works in a lumber mill on the East Side.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 1/17/1903 p2
Fred Mitchell Sought Death
Attempted Suicide Early this Morning. Will Probably Die--Refuses to Say Why He Sought Oblivion.
“I want to die,” said Fred Mitchell when found this morning in Room 14 of the Merchant Hotel at Third and Davis streets. He shot himself twice at 3 o’clock this morning and was found by a chambermaid at 8 this morning, still alive and conscious, though with a bullet in his head and one through the left breast under the heart.
Mitchell, who is 24 years old and lives near Twenty-second and Savier streets came to the hotel at noon yesterday and registered. No more attention was paid to him until the chambermaid’s attention was attracted this morning by a slight knocking in his room. She investigated and the young man was found bathed in blood, lying on the bed and suffering intense agony. The police were immediately notified and Doctor Candiani, of Sixth and Couch streets, was summoned.
TAKEN TO HOSPITAL
After a hasty examination, which disclosed two wounds, Mitchell was taken by his own request to the Good Samaritan Hospital. Here he was put on the operating table and it was found that the first shot had been fired in an upward direction through the scalp. This ball was lodged under the skin and the injury of no consequence. His second shot took effect under the left nipple and range through the body. This would probably prove fatal.
Mitchell would tell nothing at first to reveal his identity, but weakened later and gave information that he had a brother, George Mitchell, working at Inman & Poulsen’s mill, a brother-in-law, Bert Starr, working for the Standard Oil Company. His father, Charles Mitchell, lives in Danville, Ill.
The weapon used by the young man was a Harrington hammerless 38-caliber revolver. Two empty shells were found in the gun and a number of cartridges on the table. Mitchell would give no reason for his act, but said, “Troubles. None of your business.”
Morning Oregonian (Portland) 1/19/1903 p8
Would be Suicide Lives.
Fred Mitchell, Who Shot Himself, Refuses to Give Motive.
Fred Mitchell, the motorman who attempted suicide in the Merchants’ Hotel Saturday morning is still alive, but his recovery is regarded as doubtful by the physicians of Good Samaritan Hospital. He steadfastly refuses to give any reason for his act, and repeats his statement given yesterday that it is none of the inquirers business.
Mitchell was until recently employed as a motorman on the City and Suburban, but quit work a few days ago and took a room in the hotel, where he attempted suicide yesterday by shooting himself through the breast. Until a few days before he left the company he was regarded as a pleasant, common-sense man, but recently began to talk strangely about religion. Whether his mind became unsettled by brooding over religious matters is not known, but this seems the only probably motive for his rash deed.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 1/19/1903 p5
Messiah With Four Children.
Wants to Go to Jerusalem at Once by the Jews Aid.
There is a new Messiah on Earth! This time he is blessed with a wife and four children. Furthermore, he wishes to go to Jerusalem and take up the duties of his holy office at once. As high priest and general manager he will appoint his wife. Rabbi N. Mosessohn of this city has received a letter from a Mrs. A. Zollinger, of Battle Creek, Mich., in which she states that she is positive her husband is the Messiah for the bold statement is made: “If my husband is not the Messiah, there never will be one.”
This latest modern Messiah must also be the “real thing,” for his wife says that he is a poor man, who has failed in all his undertakings. As to the proof that Mr. Zollinger is the Messiah, the letter states:
“God put His spirit upon him ten years ago. It was first manifested with a loud cry, something that the people never seen, or heard of. You could see drops of water pouring out of his flesh like large peas, and then when the Gentile would read the New Testament he would roar against them so that they would be obliged to sit down, and then a trumpet would sound like seven thunders, which shook everything, even the church, as though it was being dashed over mountains, yet nothing was moved. The people became suddenly afraid, and they took it as a sign that the end was nigh, and Christ was coming, but they soon found out that the spirit upon him overcame them, and they rebelled and called him a fake prophet, but God opened our eyes to see where they stood, and soon found out that the people were almost 2,000 years ahead of the times in regard to the Messiah.”
The letter concludes by stating that, “what we want is for the Jews to help us on to Jerusalem. We have four children, and it will cost something to take us there, and if you Jews will not hear, sudden destruction will come upon the people.
Corvallis Gazette 2/3/1903 p3
The presiding officers of the Salvation Army request that any one having soiled or cast off clothing to give away would notify them and they will be pleased to call and get them for distribution among the poor. Information can be left at the barracks or at the post office box 286. C. E. Brooks, Capt.
Corvallis Times 3/7/1903 p2
The Salvation Army
This week’s War Cry is a very special issue gotten up in commemoration of General Booth’s farewell from America on March 4th. It contains information in reference to the general’s tour, and also interesting pictures of prominent people who have taken part in the past campaign. The front page consists of a central picture of General Booth, surrounded by a number of the nation’s most prominent men such as President Roosevelt, the governors of Ohio, Iowa, Utah, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Senator Hanna, and the senator from Minnesota, the mayor of New York, mayor of San Francisco. Commissioner McFarland, Colonel Myron, Herrick and Hon. Ferdinand Peck.
The balance of the Cry consists of a map of the country giving an idea of the general’s trip, what leading writers have to say respecting the Army work, photos of members of the general’s family, including his eldest grand children.
We hope the people of Corvallis and surroundings will be interested in this week’s notice.
C. E. Brooks, Capt.
Corvallis Times 3/14/1903 p3
Lewis Hartley has commenced the erection of a ten-room two-story residence on the Hunter block in Corvallis. William Hartley, a brother who came to Oregon two weeks ago is doing the work and he seems to be a hustler.
Corvallis Gazette Tue 3/17/1903 p3
Jones Hartley and family arrived in Corvallis last week from Peru, Nebraska. Mr. Hartley is a brother of Lewis Hartley of this city. Another brother, William arrived a couple of weeks ago. These people are pleased with Oregon and intend making their residence here permanent. They will be welcome additions to this community.
Corvallis Times 3/21/1903 p3
Oscar Star (sic), a relative of Mrs. Hurt, came up from Portland a short time ago to reside in Corvallis, and on Wednesday, accepted a position with Sheasgreen & Buxton of the Central Planting Mill & Box Factory. Mr. Star is an all round wood-worker.
Corvallis Times 3/28/1903
Captain Brooks makes the following statement as a basis for a request for aid: The Salvation Army fed over 250,000 poor and homeless men, women and children last Christmas. They are doing that sort of thing all the time and it costs a lot of money. You have a chance to show a practical appreciation of this work by helping the local branch of the Army during its self-denial week, April 5th to 12th inclusive.
Corvallis Gazette Tue 3/31/1903 p3
Louis Hartley, of Corvallis, manager of the Great Eastern mines in Bohemia, who has lately returned from a trip to the East was in town last week and favored this office with a pleasant call. He informed us that the directors of the Great Eastern recently held a meeting at Corvallis and it was decided to begin active development work in their mines April 1st. This company will no doubt put a stamp mill in operation in their mines before the close of the season, at least this is a matter they have in contemplation. Their property is said to be showing up exceedingly well--Cottage Grove Leader
Corvallis Times 4/15/1903 p2
Mrs. Berry, mother of James and Milton Berry died at Fossil, Oregon Monday night. Monday evening she was in conversation by telephone with her son James in this city. It was then learned here for the first time that she was not in her usual health. The announcement yesterday morning that she had shortly passed away was a shock. The cause is not known. James and Milton Berry, and U. G. Berry of Peoria left yesterday to be at the internment, which will take place at Fossil, where John Berry was buried a few years ago. Mrs. Berry was on a visit to her daughter at Fossil and was shortly to leave there for Minnesota.
Corvallis Times 5/6/1903 p3
Mr. and Mrs. O. V. Hurt have adopted Esther Brown. The papers are on file at the county clerk’s office and relate that the child is an orphan, and that they have had her since September 16th. The child is given the name of Martha B. Hurt.
Corvallis Gazette 5/8/1903
The local Salvation Army officers have hit upon a plan to defray expenses without having to call upon the community for contributions. They have purchased a gramophone and a fine set of records and purpose giving entertainments in various school houses in the county. These entertainments will follow the regular Salvation Army services and a small admission fee will be charged in lieu of a collection.
Corvallis Gazette 5/12/1903 p3
Almost a Riot
A Gang of Portland Toughs Disturb the Quiet of a Corvallis Sabbath Afternoon
If all those who came to Corvallis Sunday on the Grand Sachem’s excursion from Portland belong to the Order of Red Men, some one ought to be prosecuted for selling liquor to Indians. Of the 21 coach loads that arrived over the C & E at 1:30 o’clock that afternoon, at least some of them were high, wide and handsome. Young braves ranging from 18 to 25 years of age sucked at bottle of “red eye” as they walked the streets, and some of the older bucks were decidedly mellow. There were many in the party who bore the stamp of respectability, but the majority ranged from shabby genteel to ultra disreputable. The latter element were out looking for trouble and they got their money’s worth. While the respectable excursionists were visiting with friends or enjoying a walk through the college grounds, the rowdies and cheap sports were parading Main Street looking for an excuse to “get bad.” That excuse might had been lacking had not the Salvation Army pit in an inopportune appearance. Their arrival on the scene at the First National bank corner was heralded with jeers by the hundred or more roisterers assembled in that neighborhood. Chief Alexander saw the coming storm and he attempted to avert it by sending the salvationists back to their barracks. This they refused to do. Some of the Portland contingent resented this interference on their part of the police, and upon their advice “Banty” Barrett, a professional pugilist, assaulted the officer. A free for all fight ensued, and “Banty” emerged from the melee minus a portion of one ear. He was taken to a neighboring drugstore where his anatomy was sewed together. His companions were worsted fin their efforts to take the town, and they were surly because of their failure. Johnson Porter had rendered conspicuous service to Chief Alexander and he was singled out for rough treatment. But Mr. Porter was in no mood to trifle with the flowers of Portland’s pugdom, so he drew his revolver and securing an advantageous position intimated that there would be work for the coroner if the matter was carried further. This had the desired effect, and the crowd found the way back to the excursion train.
Corvallis Times 5/13/1903 p3
A Street Melee
It Happened Sunday--Fists Freely Used--The Sunday Excursion
Corvallis has a had a lot to talk about since last Sunday, the spectacle of a street melee in which fists were freely used by anywhere from twenty to fifty men and in which a score of men were knocked down is a fruitful theme of discussion. To heighten the interest, one man lost a part of his ear and he claims that some Covallisite bit it off. He is a Portlander.
The Sunday excursion brought the row. Fifty or a hundred of the excursionists were maudlin drunk. They looked for more bug-juice thronging about the closed saloons in the vain effort to find it and assaulting first the front and then the back doors, all of which were closed. Some of the saloon owners fully expected to see their closed doors crushed in any moment when the demand for liquor was at its height.
Enraged at conditions they found, the drunken contingent flocked on the street and stood ready for a row. They took advantage of Chief Alexander’s order to the Salvationists to leave the street and interfered to prevent. He called on friends for assistance, and within a few minutes, fists were in use on all sides. Johnson Porter was among those who went to the rescue of the chief. He clinched with one of the men who confronted the chief in a threatening attitude. Subsequently, the Portlander turned up with a portion of his ear gone, and his friends claimed that Mr. Porter bit it off. Many other people say that the thing was done by a drunken Portlander.
Meantime many other Corvallisites were engaged in the fray. Robert Campbell who lives near the sawmill, though a man of more perhaps than sixty, became as young as any of them and in the course of a very few minutes his good right arm laid out six or eight of the toughs. His strenuous defense of his small town has since come in for many a generous compliment. Many other local townspeople had to fight. One or two got knocked down, but in the main it was the badly behaved visitors that got cracked heads. It was several minutes before the fighting finally ceased. Afterwards the crowd stood sullenly about, and when Mr. Porter left Kline’s store and attempted to make his way home, the crowd closed around him threateningly. He was accompanied by Roy Raber, and both were armed. As the crowd closed Mr. Porter drew his revolver and forced the toughs to keep a respectful distance.
The attitude of the Corvallis people in the matter was unavoidable. Those brought into the row were among the town’s most respectable and quiet citizens. The mistake in the whole matter is that provision was not made by the appointment of a score of officers for the occasion, to the end that the usual dignity and peace of the town might not have been violated by a crowd of ruffians.
Save the drunken contingent, the excursionists were all fine people. More than a thousand of them visited the college, passing through all the buildings and departments. Many others remained among the respectable portion walked about various parts of town. The excursion came in two sections and comprised 25 coaches, all packed. It arrived shortly after one and left at four.
At Albany, a large number of the drunks were arrested.
Corvallis Times 6/10/1903 p3
Desertion From The Ranks
Major Brooks Forsakes the Salvation Army and Joins the Comeouters
Major Charles Edward Brooks who has had charge of the Salvation Army work in this locality for some months has a charge of desertion laid against him by his former associate and ex-comrade who so long marched by the major’s side in pursuance of his duty as a lieutenant of the Corvallis corps. “Yes,” said Lt. Mannes to a Times writer, “the major has deserted us. In his talks on the street you no doubt have heard him declare how certain he was that was saved in the army. At last he concluded that he was not saved and affected to believe that he could be saved only through the Comeouters. He pretends to know now that he is saved and affected to believe that he could be saved only through the Comeouters. He pretends to know now that he is saved, but whether he was lying before or now I can not tell. Ever since months ago so many members of the army here went over to the Comeouters, or Holy Rollers as they are sometimes designated, the work of the army has been very difficult because that organization seems to make a greater effort to win members of other churches than it does to win sinners.” These were the words of Lt. Mannes, spoken in a dejected manner, and he was doubtless much affected by conditions of affairs. Ensign Brown, who has charge of the social work of the army in Portland was here Monday to wind up the affairs of the organization in Corvallis. He gave up the building in which meetings have been held, and the furniture and fixtures were stored for the present in rooms near by. The Salvation Army is to withdraw from Corvallis for an indefinite time. The boom of the bass drum is hushed, and the notes of “Down Where the Living Waters Flow” is silent, possibly forever in Corvallis.
At one time membership of the Salvation Army here numbered about 25, but some months ago they went over almost in a body to a sect established here denominated Comeouters. This new order is apparently very devout, but their customs, rites and formalities are so queer and unusual that the organization has been the subject of much comment from those who do not enter fully into the idea of allowing persons to worship God in the manner that seems to them best. At present the Comeouters are holding a protracted camp meeting on the Kiger Island, and here it was that Major Brooks was converted to their belief. It is said that the conversion of Brooks was quite spectacular; that in his spiritual excitement he saw and described the devil approaching enwrapped in a network of snakes, and having frogs, lizards and other hideous reptiles clinging to his body; that as a means of placating his devilish majesty he tore off his Salvation Army cap and coat and hurled them into the fire. Then he swooned and became oblivious to his surroundings, and incident common to the rites of the sect.
Access to the camp ground and to the services is not enjoyed by the public, presumably for the reason that many wish to attend through curiosity mainly.
Corvallis Times 6/20/1903 p3
James Berry was not able to be on hand for business yesterday morning. Late Thursday evening he started south on the state road on his motor bicycle. He rode swiftly. Out a short distance south of the Smith school house the front fork of his machine broke. A traveler came along afterward and picked James up. There were scratches and bruises about his face, and James was so shaken up that he didn’t quite know what was going on. He was brought to his home at Victor Hurt’s where a good night’s sleep restored him sufficiently to realize everything, save what happened when the wheel broke and for a few hours thereafter.
Dalles Weekly Chronicle 6/24/1903 p3
After raving for several days in the city jail, the young man by the name of Phillips, who was arrested Monday night for running about the streets yelling and disturbing the peace, quieted down and was discharged last night. It was not thought necessary to examine him as to his sanity as it was supposed undue excitement at a holiness meeting caused the temporary unbalancing of his mind.
Corvallis Times 6/27/1903 p4
J. K. Berry--Bicycles
The bicycle has become such an important means of conveyance that the city has not an agency or repair shop for this 20th century vehicle is indeed and exception. Mr. J. K. Berry conducts an up-to-date bicycle store and repair shop and is prepared to give entire satisfaction either in the way of a new wheel, skillful repairing, or in supplying any of its parts. He is the agent for Rambler, Raycycle and Tribune wheels and conducts a bicycle livery in connection. He also handles the California motorcycle and the Fairbanks-Morse gasoline engine, and carries a full line of fishing tackle. In the repair department he does brazing, enameling, and is fully equipped for doing any kind of repairing promptly and skillfully. He also handles guns and ammunition and loads shells to order. Mr. Berry has been in business here for two years and his prices are reasonable and all his work guaranteed. Give him a call.
Corvallis Times 6/27/1903 p3
May Hurt and Grace Starr went to Portland Monday for a visit with relatives.
Corvallis Times 7/22/1903 p3
Frank Hurt and Miss Molile Sandell were married Monday. The ceremony took place at the Hurt home, and was witnessed only by relatives. The knot was tied by Justice Holgate.
Corvallis Gazette 7/24/1903 p3
The marriage of Mr. Frank Hurt and Miss Mollie Sandell was solemnized at the home of the groom’s parents of this city last Monday afternoon. The ceremony was performed by Justice Holgate in the presence of relatives and a few invited guests. The groom is a well known young man of this city. His bride came here from Seattle, where her parents reside, for a visit last March. With another young lady, she had charge of the work of the Salvation Army here about three years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Hurt will remain in Corvallis until fall when they will go to Seattle to reside.
Corvallis Gazette 7/31/1903 p3
The marriage of Mr. a. H. Sharp and Mrs. Sarah E. Dennis was solemnized at the home of the bride’s daughter, Mrs. Oscar Starr, in this city yesterday morning at 10 o’clock. Rev. Nobel officiated. The happy pair took the morning train for Albany, from which point they will proceed to Portland. After a few days at the metropolis they will return to Corvallis to make their home.
Corvallis Gazette Fri 7/31/1903 p3
J. K. Berry went to Portland Tuesday to secure an Oldsmobile, which will be placed on exhibition at his bicycle factory. He is expected home tomorrow.
Corvallis Times 8/1/1903 p3
A marriage license was granted Wednesday to A. H. Sharp and Sarah E. Dennis.
The Marriage of Bert Sharp and Mrs. Dennis occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Starr Thursday. The ceremony occurred at 10 o'clock and Rev. Noble of the Baptist church officiated. Mr. and Mrs. Sharp left on the 11 o’clock train for Albany where the bride has relatives.
The automobile that has been spinning about town the past two days is the property of James Berry. He brought it from Portland, arriving here Saturday evening. It is an Oldsmobile, which is one of the handsomest styles manufactured in that it exhibits no ungainly housing. All machinery is encased in what might be an ordinary jump-seat buggy box arranged for two persons. Its speed capacity is 30 miles per hour under favorable conditions. It is claimed that it can be propelled up any hill road which wagons ordinarily traverse. The price of this machine in Corvallis is $690.
Corvallis Gazette 8/7/1903 p3
Early peaches are ripe in the Kiger orchard. Mr. Kiger has kindly remembered the Gazette man with a box of this luscious fruit, and our thanks are hereby expressed.
Corvallis Gazette 8/7/1903 p3
The Gazette man is indebted to J. K. Berry for his first spin in an automobile. He didn’t ride far. The ethics of his profession do not permit of enjoyment to the point of satiety. But the exhilaration; the pulse quickening strange sensation of even a short excursion on an Oldsmobile machine beats the tintinnabulation of the sleigh bells and the--see how easy it is to lapse into poetry when there’s inspiration. This machine is the one referred to in this paper a week ago. It is a handsome vehicle capable of making 30 miles an hour and is propelled by a four-horse motor. It is valued at $690.
Corvallis Times 8/8/1903 p3
J. M. Ingle took a ride on an auto the other day, but not without temporary and preliminary difficulties. He climbed into the Berry machine on the apron in front of the brick livery stable. He sat down with an air of satisfaction with the world and expectation of a delightful ride. From some cause the machine seemed to start off so briskly that John lost his balance. His feet flew up, and the late candidate for congress rolled out over the cushioned seat and dropped all heels up on the walk a couple of feet below. He was not hurt, and gathering up his hat Mr. Ingle climbed in again and with the wisdom of experience braced for the start, and the outfit glided away with speed and grace ...
The speed, ease and grace with which the Berry and Fisher autos glide through the streets and out into the country make on-lookers sigh for a ride, or for the wherewithal to own a machine. Prevailing opinion is that the auto is to be largely the conveyance of the future, and in time the buggies, even for general use will be largely superseded. Even then, however there will have to be lower priced machines so that the man with the hoe can take his turn at ownership. Even on Benton county roads the local machines make a speed of fifteen or twenty miles an hour without sensibly shaking up the rider.
Corvallis Times 8/12/1903 p3
Last Sunday Wm. Hartley and a friend strolled out on Mary’s river flat and the former approached a pony which was staked there. Mr. Hartley liked the looks of the animal and began caressing him. “I like the looks of this little fellow very much” said Mr. Hartley. “I should like to buy him. He appears so kind and gentle.” Mr. Hartley passed his hand down the pony’s hind leg to discover any blemishes. Like a flash the animal smote the hand that caressed him, and wheeled and kicked viciously with both hind feet sending Mr. Hartley’s hat high in the air. The gentleman essayed to retaliate in kind, but he was soon compelled to retreat the length of the stake rope only saving him from utter annihilation. Since the encounter Mr. Hartley has not been able to work on account of a lacerated hand and probably a number of in apparent injuries which he does not care to disclose. He is endeavoring to find the owner of the pony, not for the purpose of buying the animal, but with the intention of presenting a claim for damages.
Corvallis Times 8/22/1903 p3
J. K. Berry thinks he knows who is digging potatoes in his garden on Second Street between Adams and Washington, but he offers $5 reward for conclusive evidence. Somebody better “look a little out.”
Corvallis Gazette Fri 9/4/1903 p3
J. K. Berry has sold his interest in the bicycle business heretofore known as Berry Bros., and will leave shortly for the East. The business will be carried on by Berry and Carl, both young men expert in the business.
Corvallis Gazette 10/2/1903 p3
Warren B. Hartley came down from Bohemia Tuesday and will remain several days.