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.

December 7, 1903: Demented Woman Suffers


A woman in a Mother Hubbard
Rachael Perrell as Donna Starr

Evening Telegram (Portland) 12/7/1903 p5

Urges Girl to be Firm

Frank Hurt of “Holy Roller” Fame, Follows Ester Taylor to Portland Home

Breaks Rules of Institution and Demented Woman Suffers as a Result


That the leaders of the “Holy Rollers” are bent on retaining every disciple of their strange creed is demonstrated by the fact that Frank Hurt, son of O. V. Hurt, who drove the “prophets” from his home at Corvallis, has been hanging around the home of the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid Society in the city for several days, and is urging Esther Taylor to remain true to the faith. Miss Taylor is the 16-year old-girl who has been held there for more than a week, suffering from mental derangement due to the religious mania said to have been brought on by the ravings of the fanatics.


Superintendent Gardner, of the home, stated this morning that if young Hurt again trespasses on the property of the Aid Society he will promptly have him arrested. Hurt was last seen about the grounds yesterday when he approached Mrs. Parsons as she was taking the girls to the Third Presbyterian Church for morning worship.


“May I speak to Miss Taylor?” asked Hurt of Mrs. Parsons.

“Not without a permit from Superintendent Gardner,” was her reply.

But not to be completely baffled, Hurt watched his chance and when Miss Taylor passed, stopped up and said: “Remember and keep on victory’s side.”


This greatly excited Miss Taylor, whose mind is very weak, and at church she created a scene by asking that she be allowed to testify just as the services were concluding. The pastor, knowing the situation, thought best to humor her. She talked in a very rambling manner, and finally ended by saying that she was on victory’s side and was going to lead a better life.


Young Hurt’s appearance on the scene here has caused great indignation, and if he makes any further demonstration he will be arrested.


It will be recalled that when O. V. Hurt ordered the “Holy Rollers” from his house, his son and Creffield, the latter the acknowledged leader of the sect, disappeared. Creffield’s whereabouts is still unknown, and this is the first that has been seen of young Hurt since that time.

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