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 11, 1903: Holy Rollers Roll Into Eugene Church

Edmund Creffield
Joe Haege as Edmund Creffield

Eugene Morning Guard 12/11/1903 p1

Holy Rollers Roll Into Eugene Church

Eyes Roll While Their Tongues Wag and Wheels Revolve


Devotional exercises at Humphrey Memorial church last evening were enlivened by features not down on the program. The customary services were progressing without unusual incident when suddenly there swooped down upon the devout congregation three blustering zealots with bombastic hallelujahs and rambling and almost incoherent testimonies of the many mercies and blessings bestowed upon them. Instead of looking the parts of brands plucked from the burning they could have sustained with honors the roles of assassins.


Their exhortations were filled with such expressions as “worshiping God up in the air,” also that is, they were out of sight.


A little adroit questioning developed the fact that the four walls of the church contained no less notorious personages than three “High Roller,” be pardon “Holy Rollers” from the effete precincts of Corvallis. If the three visitors are fair types of the “Holy Rollers” fanatics, then Corvallis would be an excellent place for playwrights to get material for melodrama. There would be thrilling situations enough every hour to furnish a nucleus for Theodore Kremer climaxes by the score.





Morning Oregonian (Portland) 12/12/1903

Holy Rollers at Eugene


Corvallis Times 12/16/1903 p4

Now in Eugene

Take Possession Of A Methodist Prayer Meeting.

Frantic Performances and Boisterous Hallelujahs Create Great Scandal--Are From Corvallis.


Captures A Methodist Prayer Meeting And Broke It Up

Holy Rollers Indulged in Frantic

Performances and Boisterous Hallelujahs--Other News

Eugene, Or., Dec. 11-- (Special)--Eugene seems to be doomed to endure a sensation to that inflicted upon the people or Corvallis recently by the alleged devotees of a religious faith which calls upon its followers for the most ridiculous performances. The name of the “Holy Rollers” has been applied to them, and whether a better name could be chosen in doubtful.


Most unexpectedly did three of the self-styled “chosen of God” make their appearances last night, much to the annoyance of the good people of the Methodist church during the hour of the weekly prayer meeting service. The annual exercises were progressing in an appropriate manner, when suddenly the worshipers were surprised and startled by the breaking out of three strangers whose looks and actions bespoke unusual excitement, and whose vociferous and boisterous hallelujahs were most annoying.


They went on with their frantic performances, disregarding the wishes of the people of the church, and apparently not caring for the fact that they were unwelcome trespassers, and the prayer meeting was broken up for the evening.

As near as can be learned from their sayings and actions, they are a part of the aggregation that has been so obnoxious about Corvallis; at least that is the conclusion of all who have seen them. Many express the belief that they will open up headquarters and attempt to carry on their orgies as they have done elsewhere. It is needless to say that they are most unwelcome accessions to the population and will meet with no encouragement. In fact every legitimate means will be employed to rid the community of them.


Corvallis Gazette. 12/11/1903 p2

Young Frank Hurt of this city has not yet recovered his normal mental equipoise and still remains under the spell cast on him by Parson Creffield. He recently made an attempt to influence Miss Esther Taylor, once a member of the society here, to remain true to the faith. The young lady is now at the home of the Boys and Girls Aid Society in East Portland suffering from mental derangement due to the religious mania said to have been brought on by the ravings of the fanatics. With a carelessness almost criminal, Miss Taylor was allowed to be taken to church on Sunday last, and on the way young Hurt met and urged her to “Remember and keep on victory’s side.” This greatly excited her as her mind is still very weak, and she made a scene in the church. The officers of the Home are to be blamed for making this scene possible, and it is hoped that greater care will be exercised in the future.

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