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 12, 1904: “Put yourselves in our place!”



Creffield & Holy Rollers

Joe Haege, Maren McGuire, Sara Robbin & Brighid Thomas
as Edmund Creffield Maud and Mollie Hurt and Esther Mitchel

Corvallis Gazette 1/12/1904

Editorial Comment

The press of this part of the sate have all expressed their sentiments regarding the Holly Roller episode of last week, some in praise and some in condemnation. Our own sentiments are expressed elsewhere. To our neighbors, we can only say: “Put yourselves in out place!”



While it is necessary for the news columns of a paper to contain the news of the town, like the lynching of the Rollers, and recount as far as is consistent the daily happenings, still it is not meet that in its editorial columns it should approve any act of violence on the part of the people, or a part of them, even though the common sentiment stamps it as an act of justice. That the perpetrators of this deed thought themselves fully justified can be seen by the fact that no attempt at disguise was made, no pretense of hiding the act. Without masks, and without secrecy, the victims were taken through the town, over a public ferry, and started well on the way they were expected to depart. Although they were the rankest of fanatics they had as much right to exercise their own peculiar superstitions as we have ours. It is only when those acts encroach on the rights of others that any one has the right to object. It is a well known fact that the practice of this gang has driven one fair young girl to insanity. But this is not an exceptional case. The statistics of the insane asylums of the country show that a very large percentage of the inmates have been rendered insane from the emotional effects of some religion. The law, unfortunately, take no cognizance of these cases. But justice is above the law, and a relative of one of these victims has the undoubted right to claim reparation for this crime, even to the taking of life. It is the false sentiment that condones these despicable crimes that degrades our civilization and pollutes our fountains of justice. It is this that makes mob violence possible. We are opposed to all mobs, and to any such acts as have disgraced our town and state in the last few days. We hope we shall never have occasion to again chronicle any such breach of law in our county.

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