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.

February 1, 1904: Camp In Linn County Is Broken Up By Officers



Morning Oregonian (Portland) Mon 2/1/1904 p4

Holy Rollers Run Out

Corvallis Times 2/3/1904 p4

Driven From Linn

Camp In Linn County Is Broken Up By Officers.

Apostles in a Remarkably Filthy

Personal Condition Are Moved on Toward Marion County



Holy Roller Apostles Sent Away By Lebanon Citizens

Brooks Was Among Them, but Creffield Was Not Their--Camp was Surrounded in the Belief That They Were Robbers.


ALBANY, Or., Jan. 31. -- (Special.) -- Camped in the dense timber on the Meeker place in the extreme northern part of Linn County, avoiding the people of the neighborhood and passers-by; unkempt and unclean, the Holy Roller apostles were taken for the robbers who have recently been at work in Woodburn, Brownsville, Dallas and elsewhere.


Their presence was reported to Constable Jones, of Jefferson, who communicated with Sheriff Huston and Chief Police McClain, of Albany. These officials immediately repaired to the scene of action, located the bold robbers and prepared to capture them. Denizens of the neighborhood to the number of a dozen, armed with shotguns and such firearms as are found on a farm, joined the police.


When the lair of the supposed fugitives was reached, the hastily collected army began to surround the retreat, so as effectually to block any attempt to escape. Great was the surprise of the man-hunters when the cordon of justice had closed in, not to find a number of desperate and determined defiers of justice, but instead to see Apostle Brooks, Levine and Campbell, of the Holy Roller denomination, humbly perusing their Bibles.


The apostles were camped under the open sky, with no protection from the elements other than a windbreak improvised with fir boughs. Their beds were of ferns and a ragged blanket. A few potatoes, some dirty flour and a little whole wheat constituted the bill of fare in the Holy Roller Kitchen. The apostles themselves were in a disgusting state of filth, with matted hair and unkempt person.


People of the neighborhood entered a complaint, and Sheriff Huston ordered the Rollers to move on. The men protested against moving on Sunday, saying they wanted to read their Bibles. But finding protests were useless, they inquired the distance to Marion County and immediately took up their beds and walked.

There were no women with the apostles, who had not been heard from since they were in Brownsville some time ago. Brooks refused to divulge the hiding place of Creffield.





Albany Democrat 2/5/1904 p4

Holy Rollers


Brownsville Times 2/5/1904 p4

Holy Rollers

Raided, Routed and Rolled Northward.


1899 savage rifle advertisementA telephone message was received in Albany Saturday evening from Constable Jones, of Jefferson, that three suspicious looking men were camped in the woods on this side of the Santiam and was believed they were the Woodburn robbers.

In response to the message on Sunday morning Sheriff Huston, Chief-of-Police McCain, with a heavily loaded shotgun and revolvers left for the place being joined by Constable Jones and Ex Recorder Ed Meeker. About 10 o’clock they marched upon the camp beyond the Meeker farm. When almost there McClain’s shotgun was accidentally discharged, and it was thought it might cause the fleeing of the men, but upon reaching the camp three dilapidated looking fellows were found around a fire under a big tree. Explanations were made and it was learned that the party consisted of C.E. Brooks, tarred and feathered at Corvallis, Sampson Levins and Lee Campbell, all Holy Rollers, who since the Corvallis affair have been kicked and bounced along, living out in the woods at different places. Brooks declared they were being persecuted for the Lord’s sake. They refused to tell where Creffield is located.


The only food in the camp was a little flour and some potatoes. Their breakfast had been potatoes straight. Brooks said he had a little money.

The sheriff ordered them to break and leave. At first they objected to traveling on Sunday, but the argument was forceable and they left. Jones warned them to pass through Jefferson without stopping, and this they did, and are now marching on the capital of the state.

The men’s Holy Rolling proclivities were as strong as ever. They said they had been there about a week waiting for orders to move according to the Lord’s will.



Corvallis Gazette 2/2/1904 p3

Lebanon’s Holy Rollers


(The usual story of Book’s filthy camp ion the woods, plus. . .)

As people in the neighborhood were anxious to be rid of them for good, the officers insisted on their taking up their line of march for the nearest way out of the county. So they put in the rest of they day on their northward march. We are sorry for Marion County, but they have several state institutions there and it is possible that the two may find a resting place in one of them.



Corvallis Times 2/3/1904 p3

Mrs. Creffield, nee Miss Maud Hurt, has arrived and was on the streets yesterday.



Corvallis Times 2/3/1904 p3

Mrs. B. F. Seeley is in Portland taking electrical treatment for tumorous or other afflictions, the exact nature of which seems not be fully understood.



Corvallis Times 2/3/1904 p3

Accounts of the doings of the Holy Rollers have penetrated even to far off Scotland. A copy of the Edinburgh Scotchman containing a column and a half story of the sect has reached the “Times” office. The article is sensationally written, and mixed with the truth there is a varied, but highly interesting amount of the imaginative. The story is founded on the original outbreak of the sect in which furniture, musical instruments, and the bodies of domestic animals were burned, and it includes the raid of the officers, the examination for insanity, and the flight and return of Brooks and Creffield. A young woman is mentioned as being selected for the sacrifice, and the story of her doings as Creffield stands with uplifted hands in the midst of the smoke from a sacrificial fire is dramatic in the extreme. The article is of engrossing interest both as a matter of curiosity and as showing the intense interest the doings of the sect have aroused all over the civilized world. The story will appear in full in Saturday’s issue of the “Times.”

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