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.
May 7, 1904: Attie Bray & Rose Seeley are Committed
Corvallis Times 5/7/1904 p3
Corvallis Times 5/7/1904 p3
Victims Of Creffield
Two More Young Women Taken to the Asylum--Miss Bray and Miss Seeley.
There was a melancholy scene in the county judge’s office yesterday morning. It was the fruit of Creffieldism, in which two young women were under examination as to sanity. One was Attie Bray, aged 22, whose parents reside on the Coast, and the other was Rose Seeley, aged 28, whose mother is dead and whose father is in unknown parts. The examining board was County Judge Watters, Dr. Cathey and Dr. Farra. Both girls were bareheaded, and during the examination, Miss Seeley remained standing because of the fool notion in the Creffield creed that a chair and other furniture is contaminating. One young girl at a former examination remained seated on the floor for the same reason.
The questions by the board were all gently and kindly asked. Often they were not answered, though Miss Seeley, who is now the leading spirit in the faith, talked freely. Miss Bray was asked if she did not want to go home, and she said “no.” When asked if she believed Creffield was good, she said, “he is a man of God.” When asked concerning her future plans, she remained always silent, though the question was frequently repeated, the inquirer sometimes pressing it. She admitted that she had destroyed her hat, but declined to explain why.
Both girls were perfectly rational on all ordinary subjects, but when the subject of their particular belief was touched upon, a complete consuming delusion was manifest. Deep sympathy was observable in the faces and voices of the members of the board as well as among others present for the melancholy plight in which the teachings of Creffield have placed the girls. Both girls have had situations as help in Corvallis homes, but each left her place, and had taken a room at the farmers Hotel where it is supposed they intended to spend their time idly, on Creffield’s plan that “God will provide.” Miss Bray is a graduate of the Corvallis public schools. Both were committed to the asylum and were taken to Salem by Sheriff Burnett yesterday afternoon.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 5/7/1904 p11
Asylum Receives More Fanatics
Two More Supporters Of The So-Called Apostle Creffield Are Committed.
(Special Dispatch to the Journal.)
Albany, Or., May 7.--Rose Seeley and Attie Bray, two young women of Corvallis who have for the past six months been connected with the Holy Rollers, were brought to this city yesterday afternoon by Sheriff Burnett and taken to the Salem asylum, having been committed to that institution by the Benton county court. Miss Seeley is an older sister of Florence Seeley, who a week ago was sent to the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid society at Portland by the Linn county court. Rose Seeley has been an ardent supporter of Creffield ever since that so-called apostle invaded Corvallis. She is 28 years old and was born at Alsea.
Recently she worked as a domestic in Corvallis, and when her sister was taken to Portland, she feared commitment to the asylum and left her place of employment, giving out that she was going to Hood River. Instead she was secreted at the home of O. V. Hurt, father of Mrs. Creffield, who was sent to the asylum from here a week ago. Yesterday her whereabouts was discovered by Mr. Burt, and she was promptly arrested and committed. With her was Attie Bray, who was also a native of Lincoln County, 22 years old. Both hanging women were bareheaded, with loose hair hanging down their backs. While waiting for the train they stood in the waiting room at the station ignoring the curiosity of the people crowding about them. They scorned taking seats in the room, as they never make use of anything made by common man if they can avoid it, and this objection to the works of man extends to articles of wearing apparel--almost.
Sara Robbin as Mollie Hurt
Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 5/7/1904 p1
Two More Of The Sect Brought To The Asylum From Corvallis. There Are Still Others and It Is the Opinion of the Authorities That the Only Solution of the Problem Is to Commit All to the Asylum.
WHERE THEY MAY BE WATCHED
Two more of the famous band of “Holy Rollers” were yesterday afternoon brought to Salem from Corvallis by Sheriff M. F. Burnett, of Benton County, and taken to the asylum, having been committed to that institution by the county court of Benton county, as being dangerous to the peace and good morals of the community. Those brought were Rose Seeley, aged 28 years, a servant girl by occupation, of good habits and born in Alsea, and Attie Bray, aged 22 years, also a servant girl, of good habits, and born in Lincoln county.
There are now six members of this particular sect in the insane asylum, all having been committed from Corvallis, and all of good habits, with no charge against them except on account of their outlandish method of worship. They are Frank Hurt and Mrs. Millie Hurt (sic), aged 25 years (sic); Miss Sophia Hartley, aged 20 years, a daughter of a respectable and well-to-do family of Corvallis, and Mrs. Maud Creffield, aged 23 years, who was enticed from her home and induced to marry apostle Creffield, originator of the sect.
There are yet several who espoused the faith who are still at large or confined in other cities, and it seems to be the opinion of those who have come in contact with them that the only way of breaking up the movement, which threatened to undermine a certain element in society, is to send them to the asylum, where they may be looked after and prevented from spreading their abominable doctrines and exerting a hypnotic influence over others. It is admitted by all that they are not crazy, and any one conversing with them can tell that their minds are as well balanced on general subjects as those of ordinary mortals. They declare that it is necessary for them to return to the old manner of living, as was practiced by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it is their mission to convert the world to the new doctrine.
They can be easily recognized at sight as members of the sect, by their peculiar manner of dress, although they have not yet adapted the original human habit of attiring themselves in a fig leaf, at least not in public. All of the ladies who have so far been brought to Salem wore brown dresses, caught with a draw string around the neck, without collar. They invariably wear their hair unbraided and unkempt, flowing in tangled masses over their shoulders, and they scorn to wear such a thing as a hat or other head gear.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 5/7/1904 p3
Two Young Women Are Committed
(Special Dispatch to the Journal.)
Corvallis, Or., May 7.--Two more of Apostle Creffield’s converts were taken to the insane asylum by Sheriff Burnett yesterday. They are Miss Rose Seeley and Miss Attie Bray, aged 28 and 22 respectively.
The young women were formerly employed as domestics in Corvallis, but since their conversion to the Creffield faith had given up their positions and took up their abode in a hotel, where barefooted, with hair hanging loosely over shoulders and eyes turned heavenward, they idly passed the time away.
The examining committee was composed of County Judge Watters and Drs. Cathey and Farra.
Corvallis Gazette 5/10/1904 p3
Committed To Asylum
Miss Rose Seeley and Miss Atta (sic) Bray of this city, adherents to the “Holy Roller” sect were arrested Friday morning at the Farmers Hotel, taken to the Court House, examined as to sanity and were committed to the State Insane Asylum at Salem. They came to the Farmers Hotel Wednesday evening and were followed by Mr. Hartley who asked Mr. Howell, the proprietor, to make complaint to the county judge. They ate neither supper nor breakfast, but it was discovered later that they had a basket of preserves, bananas, etc. These no doubt were supplied by accomplices still remaining in the city.
When taken before the Judge, Miss Seeley answered such questions as she chose. When asked concerning the peculiar belief of the sect, she refused to answer. Both girls are young and quite pretty. The sheriff had no difficulty with his charges as both seemed willing and are anxious to be sent away. It is the evident intention of law-abiding citizens to rid the city entirely of this foolish outfit. If there were no other reasons for sending them away; their reckless disregard for decency and the sanctity of the house would be just and sufficient cause.
Albany Democrat 5/13/1904 p5
More Holy Rollers
Miss Seeley, a sister of the girl sent to the Girls Home in Portland, who has been hiding in Corvallis, and another girl, with bare heads and long hair loose, today were being examined at Corvallis for insanity with prospects of being sent to Salem.
Albany Democrat 6/13/1904 p1
Rose Seeley and Attie Bray, Corvallis Holy Rollers, are now residing at the asylum. Under the present plan the state of Oregon will have the settlement of Holy Rollerism.
Albany Democrat 5/13/1904 p4
-Mr. Hurt would like to hurt Creffield with a bullet.
-Corvallis, Albany and Salem these days seem to form a chain in Holy Rollerism. It will take another link to reach Creffield.
-(Under Court House News)
Sheriff Burnett of Corvallis, brother of R. L. Burnett of this city, returned from Salem this noon. He thinks there will be no further arrests of Holy Rollers at Corvallis.
Corvallis Times 5/21/1904 p4
The building on Main Street occupied some years ago by the second hand store of Dunn & Campbell and later on by the Salvation Army, has been leased by the Corvallis Steam Laundry Company. Removal to the new quarters will take place in the near future. The change is made in order to secure more room.
Corvallis Gazette 6/1/1904 p1
The $100 is still in the bank and 10 of the best republicans in the county to pick from. Here they are J. E. Henkle, Robt. Huston, O. V. Hurt, S. L. Kline, M. S. Woodcock, D. M. Smith, Robert Kyle, John E. Wyatt, E. R. Bryson and Joseph Edwards. Shame on a four-barreled liar.
Corvallis Gazette 6/8/1904 p4
Seventh Day Adventists
Will hold regular service at S.D.A. Hall East Main Street between Washington and Adams Streets each Sabbath or Saturday, as follows: Sabbath school at 2 p. m., Bible study 3 p. m.
Preaching as announced from time to time.
Rev. C. J. Cole
Corvallis Gazette 6/11/1904 p3
Another of Creffield’s victims is to be sent away from her home today. She is Miss May Hurt, an estimable young girl who has become so far entangled in Creffield’s nonsensical creed that it is deemed best to remove her to a place where she will not be constantly in contact with other members of the sect. An order of the county court yesterday, in answer to a petition, commits her temporarily to the care of the Boys’ & Girls’ Aid Society in Portland. Under the order all her rights are not surrendered, and she can at any time, when sufficiently recovered, return to her home. Miss Hurt is to be taken to Portland today by Sheriff Burnett.
Brownsville Times 6/17/1904 p4 “Another Holy Roller Victim.
May Hurt, of Corvallis, another victim of the infamous Holy Rollers, has been ordered sent to the Boys’ and Girls’ Home at Portland. Several More Holy Rollers remain in Corvallis administering the poison of their insane doctrine whenever possible. Come to think of it, those tar and feathers ought to have been glued upon Creffield.