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.

August 19, 1904: Followers in Asylum Stick To Faith


Creffield's Followers in the AsylumOregon Daily Journal (Portland) Fri 8/19/1904 p3

Many Of Creffield’s Victims May Recover


Corvallis, Or., Aug 19.--The asylum superintendent informs O. V. Hurt that his wife is hopelessly insane. Frank Hurt and his wife, Maude Hurt-Creffield, and Sophia Hartley will probably regain their mental balance.


Hurt is firmly of the opinion that all were thoroughly victimized by Creffield. He says that all knew everything they did, but could not resist, and not explain why they acted as they did. Mrs. Hartley is now at the Bohemia mines and although able to cook for six men, was not improved in mind. She keeps her Bible hidden from relatives and there seems to be no help for her mental condition.




Evening Telegram (Portland) 8/20/1904 p5

Elijah’s Sway Is Not Lost

Followers in Asylum Still Believe in So-Called Prophet. Attribute His Rescue From Starvation to Divine Interposition.

[Telegram Coast Special]


Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 8/21/1904 p7

Stick To Faith

This Is Motto Of The Holy Roller Ban Confined In The Asylum. What Effect Will Creffield’s Capture Have on Minds of His Faithful Followers Who Were Told to Fear Not, as the Lord Was His Keeper.


SALEM, Or., Aug 20.--“Stick fast to the faith!” is the motto of the members of the Holy Roller band who are confined within the walls of the Insane Asylum for the purpose of curing them of the strange belief with which they have been convicted through the agency of Creffield, the self-styled “Elijah.” The question which is bothering the minds of the officials of that institution, who are watching the actions of the Holy Roller band very closely, although they are separated males from females and not allowed to commune with one another in any manner, shape or form is: “What effect will the capture of Creffield from his erstwhile hiding place under the house of O. V. Hurt, at Corvallis, have upon the minds of his faithful followers.”


About the last words which were spoken by Creffield to his small “flock,” before they were separated, were: “Fear not for me as the Lord is my keeper and will not let me famish or deliver me into the hands of my enemies.” Although this speech seemed to have a wonderfully stimulating effect upon the “persecuted” few, up to the time of capture of Creffield, Frank Hurt appeared to be improving gradually, coming out from under the “spell,” as it were, and the officials of the asylum began to hope that he would recover entirely and be in a condition to be released within a short time. When Creffield was dragged from his hiding place it was thought that the influence which he held over his followers would be irretrievably shaken since his parting words to them had not been borne out as he had predicted.


It seems, however, that his capture has had just the opposite from the desired effect upon those undergoing treatment for insanity for they now appear to regard Creffield in a different light, crediting his timely rescue from a seemingly inevitable death from starvation to the Supreme Being. Although every effort is exercised to prevent them from hearing a single word as to what is transpiring in respect to Creffield, they appear to know what is going on, yet not one word will they utter to reveal their feelings in the matter. They keep their own counsel, answer all questions that are put to them, but evade all direct questions pertaining to Creffield and their regard for him.


Although they do not state in so many words, it seems to be the opinion of the officials of the asylum that it would be better for those who are confined in that institution, if Creffield were sent to the penitentiary, instead of to the asylum, for their faith in Creffield is so strong that they believe the Lord will come to his deliverance before he will allow him to be punished by his mortal enemies.

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