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 23, 1904: Creffield Will Fight His Own Case
HEADLINES IN DIFFERENT PAPERS FOR THE SAME ARTICLE
Evening Telegram (Portland) 8/23/1904 p14
Needs No Lawyer To Defend Him
Apostle Creffield Pleads Not Guilty, and Will Fight His Own Case.
Corvallis Gazette 8/26/1904 p1
Charge Against Apostle Creffield
An information was filed against Apostle Edwin Creffield yesterday by District Attorney Manning charging him with adultery. He was brought into the courtroom shortly before 10 o’clock and when he took his seat he smiled benignantly upon the court. The apostle of the Holy Rollers took his seat in the jury row with just as much complacency as a boy would at a soda water stand and he entered a plea of not guilty to the charge in a manner that while not childish might not be considered as the action of a man who is in the full possession of his faculties. He appeared to have been greatly improved by his incarceration in the county jail, but he was pale and nervous and his hands shook when Assistant District Attorney Moses read the information against him.
“Not guilty,” said Creffield when the reading was completed.
“Have you an attorney to represent you?” asked Judge George.
“No, I do not want one, thank you sir.”
“Are you ready to plead?”
“I plead not guilty.”
“When your case comes to trial, have you the means to employ an attorney?”
“No; I have no means.”
“Then when your case is set for trial the court will appoint an attorney to defend you.”
“I do not desire one,” and Creffield in full exercise of his religious power, threw a hypnotizing smile at the court, but Judge George declined to receive the hypnotic influence, and ordered Creffield returned to his cell until a date is selected for his trial.
Creffield will not state what his line of defense will be, but it is believed from what he has said to fellow prisoners in the county jail that when he is tried he will make an effort to prove that his style of religion is a benefit to and not a crime against any community.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 8/23/1904 p8
Creffield Refuses Aid Of An Attorney
Edmund Creffield, self styled “Joshua” and leader of the Holy Rollers, was arraigned before Judge George in the circuit court this morning on an information filed by B. E. Starr. Creffield appeared in the court room neatly shaved and with his hair smoothly combed. Much of the nervousness that was manifest on former occasions when brought before the public was almost entirely absent and he answered the questions of the judge in a firm tone.
After the charges had been read, he waived time for pleading and entered the plea of not guilty.
“Have you an attorney?” asked the judge.
“No, sir, I have not,” answered the prisoner.
“Are you able to secure an attorney should you desire one?” asked the court.
“No, sir, I have no means with which to pay for legal services,” returned Creffield.
“Do you desire the court to appoint some attorney to represent you when your case comes to trial? questioned the judge.
“No, sir, I do not care to have an attorney,” was the blunt response.
“Very well, sir, that is all.”
The prisoner seemed in a hurry to escape from the court room and the eyes of the curious and left the room with the deputy sheriff.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 8/24/1904 p3
Creffield Trial Will Come Soon
AN ABRIDGED VERSION OF THE SAME ARTICLE ALSO APPEARED IN
Corvallis Times 8/24/1904 p3
Edmund Creffield, the chief of the Holy Rollers, was formally charged with a statutory offense in an information filed in the circuit court this afternoon. The name of Mrs. D. Starr figures in the complaint.
It was the intention to arraign Creffield, but the Presiding Judge George was not at the court house this afternoon. The self styled “Joshua” will probably be arraigned tomorrow.
Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 8/26/1904 p9
Would Sell Nerve Tonic To Creffield
A letter reached the central police station this morning. It was addressed to Edmund Creffield, chief of the Holy Rollers, and it was from a San Francisco nerve tonic manufacturing company.
The fact that the letter contained nerve tonic advertisements caused considerable laughter in the station, as many of the officers expressed themselves as of the opinion that the Holy Roller leader is not now, neither has at any time been, in need of nerve tonic.
The nerve tonic company probably read of the Creffield case in the newspapers. That portion of his history relating to his long sojourn under the Hurt residence at Corvallis was what undoubtedly caused them to mail him their literature, for it was stated in the papers at the time that the Holy Roller leader was a complete wreck, both physically and mentally, and that his nervous system was shattered.
The firm sending the letter and advertising matter set forth that its tonic is the best in the world and will cure anything. The letter will be forwarded to the county jail, where Creffield is now living.
Corvallis Gazette 8/26/1904 p5
Warren B. Hartley spent a few hours in town Wednesday. He was on his way from Bohemia to attend the mining congress in session at Portland this week.