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.
June 11, 1904: Attie Bray Escapes
Corvallis Times 6/11/1904 p3
Attie Bray’s Journey
Escaped the Asylum and Traveled Afoot to Corvallis--Her Condition.
A tedious journey of thirty odd miles on foot, with nothing but a few strawberries to eat, was an act Tuesday by Attie Bray, one of the Holy Roller girls, recently sent from Corvallis to the insane asylum. The trip was from the asylum farm to Corvallis, and the distance was covered between four in the morning and seven in the evening. Considering that Miss Bray is a frail young woman, suffering with a religious mania, the feat takes on the character of the unusual. She managed to escape from the attendants at the asylum farm about four o’clock in the morning, and at once started for Corvallis. How many of the roads she traveled she was unacquainted with is not known, but she managed to thread them with sufficient certainty to reach the Albany bridge at two o’clock in the afternoon. Passing over it, she found a secluded spot on this side, and there rested until four o’clock, after which she resumed her journey. A few minutes after seven o’clock she passed through Corvallis and made her way to the home of Victor Hurt, south of Mary’s river. There she was given food and kindly treated, and her arrival reported to the authorities.
Miss Bray is apparently not improved in mental condition. When taken to the sheriff’s office, pending the return to Salem, she refused to be seated in a chair, but insisted, while she waited, in sitting on the linoleum with which the floor is covered. She was asked to sit on a chair, but persistently refused to do so. Then a cushion was offered her, but this too, she declined.
At the home of J. D. Wells, where she was taken to wait the arrival of an asylum attendant, she manifested the same solid disregard for the conveniences that sane people are wont to utilize. She sat on the floor with her head bowed. Asked by Mrs. Wells is she was sick, Miss Bray replied in the negative, adding that she was only engaged in prayer. During most of the hour or two that she was at the house, she maintained this attitude. When food was offered her at the dinner hour, she refused it. She started for Salem in charge of an asylum attendant early in the afternoon of Wednesday.
The case, though not in any sense unlike nearly all the others of the sect, is deplorable. Miss Bray is a graduate of the Corvallis public schools, and is of estimable character and amiable disposition. Her gentle traits always endeared her to those with whom she came in contact. Her victimization by the despicable teachings of the villain Creffield is a condition that every respectable citizen would like to see avenged.
Corvallis Times 6/11/1904 p3
They Want Creffield
More Reward for Him--His Capture Would Net Four Hundred Dollars
Renewed interest has been awakened in the whereabouts of Creffield, the bogus apostle. A week or two ago, a certain report to which some credence was attached, seemed to indicate that the man wanted was in hiding at a certain point in the Northwest, and that a diligent effort might result in his discovery. The reward offered is so small as to be insufficient to induce detectives and others to spend time and means in a search that in the end might turn out to be fruitless. With a number of his victims in the asylum for the insane, and with a growing belief that Creffield continues in communication with some of his Corvallis followers, a general desire is manifest for the further pursuit and possible capture of the fugitive. Those in position to know say that the very success Creffield has in eluding the officers has an unfortunate effect upon the unbalanced minds of the members of his sect. On this account, and for other reasons, an effort to increase the reward has resulted in raising the sum to $400, which will go to the person or persons who bring the guilty man to justice. Of the amount, $100 is offered in Multnomah county, and additional $100 has been in Sheriff Burnett’s hands ever since Creffield escaped from Corvallis, and these sums have been further increased by another $100 raised in subscription in Corvallis, and $100 appropriated for the purpose by the county court of Benton. The order for the latter amount was made at last week’s session. The order recounts that Creffield is a criminal out of the ordinary that at large, he is a menace to the peace and happiness of the community, that six of his followers have been committed to the insane asylum from Benton county, and that the sum of $100 be placed in the hands of the sheriff to be paid for the arrest and conviction of the said Creffield.