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 23, 1903: Is Crazy Now

Creffield's Followers in the Asylum

Corvallis Times 12/23/1903 p2

Is Crazy Now

And May Have to be Sent to the Asylum--A Corvallis Girl


Apostle Creffield, according to all accounts is again in the vicinity of Corvallis. He arrived a few days ago, and is said to be an occupant with others of the old house across the road from the Beach dwelling, a few hundred yards east of the Ferry. Worship according to the Holy Roller idea is carried on there by disciples of the sect. There was also much activity among members of the faith in the house in the main part of town during the past week.


Meanwhile Ester Taylor is in a bad state of mental derangement in the Boys and Girls Aid Society hospital in Portland. She is a Benton county girl who was among the worshipers when the late excitement among the sect was at its height. She is a sister of Mrs. Starr of Portland, and sometime ago the latter took her to Portland and had her placed at the Boys and Girls home for care and treatment. A news item about her in yesterday’s Oregonian reads as follows:

Ester Taylor, the unfortunate young girl whose reason has been upset by religious fanaticism since she joined the “Holy Roller” movement continues to suffer with the hallucination that she must spend every minute of her time in prayer.


It is feared that her mind is permanently affected and that it will be necessary to have her committed to the insane asylum. She is still under the care of the Boys and Girls Aid Society.


Evening Telegram (Portland) 12/23/1903

"Holy Roller" Victim Better


Miss Ester Taylor, victim of the “Holy Roller” craze is reported improved today. Superintendent Gardner, of the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid Society, stated that she voluntarily asked to be put to work yesterday afternoon, which he regards as a good sign of improvement. If she continues in this manner, he says, it will not be necessary to send her to the insane asylum.

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