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 25: Holy Rollers’ in Hobo Camp Life
Joe Haege as Edmund Creffield
Corvallis Gazette 1/25/1904 p3
The Lebanon Advance is authority for the statement that three male Holy Rollers are stopping in a cabin in the woods a mile and a half southeast of that town, and living on the locusts and wild honey that abounds in the forests of Lebanon. Johnny, get your gun.
Brownsville Times 1/29/1904
Three male Holy Rollers are stopping in a cabin in the woods a mile and a half southeast of this place.--Lebanon Advance
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 2/1/1904 p8
Holy Rollers’ in Hobo Camp Life
Brooks The “Apostle” Found With Two Followers In Lonely Fir Forest--Each With A Well Thumbed Bible Was Devout In Worship.
(Journal Special Service.)
Albany. Or., Feb 1.--Sheltered by the spreading boughs of an Oregon fir, warmed by a campfire of dead limbs and drift wood and subsisting on very crude diet cooked in as crude a manner, Brooks, once the apostle and prophet of the “Holy Rollers,” was discovered yesterday by Linn county officers who were searching for criminals. The law giver of this peculiar and erratic form of worship was not alone in his isolation, but with him were two followers, Levins and Campbell, who braved the wintry blasts and defied the seasons inclemencies, that they might be with their teacher and apostle.
Early Sunday morning it was reported that a hobo camp had been located about seven miles north of Albany in a fir thicket and it was surmised by the neighbors that the sojourners were store robbers who were wanted at Woodburn. Sheriff Huston and Chief of Police McClain started at once for the place and when they reached the neighborhood found a posse of perhaps a dozen heavily armed men awaiting them. With due precaution the camp was surrounded and the officers swooped down on the supposed desperados. Imagine their disgust when they perceived their prisoners and realized that they had made a long hard drive for nothing. Lounging carelessly around their campfire were the three religious fanatics, intensely interested in perusing the pages of three well worn Bibles and discussing questions of theology. A few dirty blankets and dry boughs served for beds, while a couple of tin cans comprised the stock of culinary utensils. Their food was limited to a scanty supply of potatoes, a small sack of wheat and a little coffee. Here these three eccentric worshipers had subsisted for a week and they appeared happy and contented with their meager and uninviting surroundings.
When questioned by the officers they were reticent, but Brooks, who was the only one of the trio who would discuss their movements, finally said that they had walked from Lebanon last week and were seeking a secluded spot where they could study and be prepared to enter the work when the Lord called them. He recounted their wanderings since the tar and feather episode at Corvallis had induced them to seek new fields, but apparently harbored no malice against what they deem their persecutors. He expressed contempt for the newspapers and correspondents and when he spoke of the press his latent dislikes evinced themselves and he appeared quite animated. The officers gave the students hurry-up orders to leave, and in a short time they were wending their way towards the borders of Marion County, loudly protesting against being compelled to perform labor on the Sabbath day and praying that the world might be visited by the spirit of the redeemer. The posse dispersed and the members are meditating on the devious paths that many poor sinners follow when in pursuit of the everlasting kingdom.
Albany Democrat 1/29/1904 p4
In the eyes of Corvallis papers a Holy Roller is the greatest of all enormities.