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.
April 1, 1904:“Holy Roller” Chief Very Badly Wanted
Joe Haege as Edmund Creffield
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 4/1/1904 p9
“Holy Roller” Chief Very Badly Wanted
(Special Dispatch to the Journal.)
CORVALLIS, April 1.--The longing for a sight of High Priest Creffield of the Holy Rollers grows in intensity hereabouts, augmented by the reward of $100 that is offered for his return. The opinion is frequently expressed by substantial citizens that Creffield is in Corvallis, or very near by. They base their idea on the fact that the present condition of the public highways makes it impossible for the fugitive to travel very fast by road, and that he has not gone by rail or boat there is little or no doubt, advertised and hunted for as he is at present.
Among the local members of the former Roller fraternity conditions exist at present that cause the onlooker to smile. Whereas, only a few brief weeks ago about 20 of the followers dwelt in peace and harmony, most of the time at on one residence, in this city, now the husbands of some of the “Roller” wives do not allow their dames to visit one another nor to indulge even in the melancholy pleasure of discussing the days of good old roller times.
Though not told for publication, one husband of the former fanatical wife in this city declares that not long since he saw two of the Holy Roller leaders, who, with Creffield and Brooks, first started the religious agitation of the sect hereabouts; that he told them to clear out of the country, and that they have “cleared.” His desire now is to see Creffield apprehended and summarily dealt with, as he so richly deserves. There is no doubt but that Holy Rollerism in Corvallis has ended.
Oregon Sunday Journal (Portland) 4/3/1904 p10
The Salvation Army Gets Mission Money
The Salvation Army’s world-wide week of prayer and self-denial for home and heathen missions will close today. Throughout 49 countries and colonies--wherever the army exists--funds have been gathered. Portland corps has done its share and more for the work, and Adjt. and Mrs. Joseph Hawk, in charge of the local branches, feel very jubilant. Corps No. 1, over which the personally preside, had its “target” set at $265. Already $400 has been raised, and it is expected that before the end of the campaign, it will total $500.
Corps No. 2, or the branch designated as the social department, in charge of Ensign Fred Braun, had a “target” of $50, all of which will be raised. Corps No. 3, or the Rescue Home, had the same “target,” and will have the sum asked for.
Corps No. 4, in charge of Ensign and Mrs. P. E. Heisinger, will raise its “target” of $200, and hoes to add $75.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 4/4/1904 p6
Not Religion But Murder
(By Rev. Thomas B. Gregory.)
It strikes us that it would not be well to permit too many repetitions of the barbarity that came so dangerously close to getting itself enacted the other day up in the good old state of Maine.
On Beal’s island, off the coast of Washington county, Maine, the ”Holiness Society” had been holding a heated “revival,” which they purposed to round off by the murder of a 7-year-old one of one of the members of the society.
It was “revealed” to them, they asserted, that the child’s death was “demanded” as a “sacrifice unto the Lord.”
In obedience to this “demand” they gathered in force, and were about to make the “sacrifice” when the meeting was broken up by the authorities, who got wind of the intended murder just in time to prevent it.
When the sheriff reached the island from the mainland, the little boy, Frank Beal, was already bound and blindfolded.
Over the poor little fellow stood the fanatics who were unmercifully beating him, to “cast out the devils” in him before offering him up as a sacrifice.
Reaching the house, and realizing that the situation called for quick action on his part, the sheriff, is said, burst in a door and threw himself, without ceremony, into the midst of the fanatics, scattered them and saved the child’s life.
But the “Holiness” people did not stay scattered, we are told. Gathering themselves together they attacked the sheriff like so many demons, and were about to overcome him when he backed himself into a corner, holding the boy behind him, and drawing his pistol, finally succeeded in driving his assailants away so that he could make his escape with his little charge.
The people who are responsible for the disgraceful attempt that was so heroically frustrated by Sheriff French, call themselves religionists, but good people and sensible people everywhere will admit that they are nothing but crack-brained fanatics.
They were engaged, there in that house, not in religion, but in murder.
Now, while in this broad land of freedom and equality every man is entitled to his religion, no man certainly is entitled to carry his religion to the point of making it the instrument of murdering other people--especially when the other people are poor, innocent, helpless little children.
The proper place for such people as those who were about to “offer up” little Frank Beal is in the padded ward of some hospital for the insane, where they can rear around without doing very much harm either to themselves or to others.
Those of us who are rational and in our sober senses owe something to the helpless little children that will never be paid until their would-be murders are prevented from getting at them.
Corvallis Times 4/16/1904 p4
O. V. Hurt arrived yesterday morning from attendance at the republican state convention.