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 19, 1904: Our Brainy Contemporaries


Edmund Creffield
Joe Haege as Edmund Creffield

Corvallis Gazette 1/19/1904 p2

Our Brainy Contemporaries


About a week ago the citizens of Corvallis--a part of them at least--took two of the sect, known in common parlance, as Holy Rollers, from their home and applied to them a coat of tar and feathers, an on the following night, hearing that they had returned, again visited the house with the avowed intention of taking them out and hanging them. Now to a man in the distant background it looks very much as if these Corvallisites were carrying their hatred of a religious sect entirely too far. It may be and no doubt is true that these so called Holy Rollers are not in line with the modern idea of religious worship, but surely they are not entitled to the rough treatment they have received. They are accused of nothing worse than praying, long and loud and of possibly roasting a few “prowling cats” on a bonfire. Since the stoning of Stephen it has been a popular amusement with people of all ages to abuse religious fanatics or those whom they did not consider strictly orthodox, yet in every instance recorded in sacred or profane history future events have clearly showed the lack of wisdom on the part of the aggressors. We know nothing of the merits of the beliefs of the holy Rollers, but will venture the assertion that Corvallis is and has been for years past tolerating things beside which the Holy Rollers would appear as pure gold beside tarnished brass. It is to be doubted whether the Holy Rollers have transgressed the law of moderation and reason any further than have those who have persecuted them. -- Lebanon Criterion.



Corvallis Gazette 1/19/1904 p1

The newspapers of the state do wrong in speaking lightly of the tarring and feathering of the so-called “Holly Rollers” of Corvallis. Since the days when Lord Baltimore guaranteed religious toleration in the colony of Maryland, there has been need for demanding toleration, even of those whose views may seem absurd to us. Once start the craze of tarring and feathering every absurd form of religious worship, and the evil will spread, and the monster of intolerance will demand as many victims as the French revolution. If there are persons who, in the guise of religious worship, commit infractions of the moral or criminal laws, let them be tried by the courts, and under the laws of the land. It is only ignorance and brutality of the most flagrant character to resort to force and cowardly mob rule. Unless checked it will be resorted to more and more, until religious freedom is annihilated.--Salem Journal



Corvallis Times 1/20/1904 p2

Newspaper Holy Rollers


The Lebanon Criterion, which has the Holy Rollers for neighbors, is taking things philosophically now that it has the situation to face. It says: “We will venture the assertion that Corvallis is and has been for years past tolerating things beside which the Holy Rollers would appear as pure gold beside tarnished brass.” The Criterion is just about right. -- Albany Democrat.


Here are two recent recruits for Brooks and Creffield--Nothing [the print was blurry so Nothing may or may not be the word here] of the Democrat and the Criterion [more blurred text] since both editors so love the Holy Rollers, they ought by all means to join. With their fine talents, both would doubtless in time become apostles and a swift old Roller each would be. Join ‘em boys, join ‘em; at last you are on the right track.

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