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 24, 1906: Creffield Establishes a Camp Near Waldport


Waldport, OregonMorning Oregonian (Portland) 4/24/1906 p7

Creffield Stirs Up Holy Rollers.”

Former Followers of ex-Convict Establish a Camp Near Waldport, Lincoln County. Spell Binds Them Again. Frank Hurt Gives Up Position at Seattle and Takes His Wife With Him Again to Engage in Terrible Orgies.


CORVALLIS, Or., April 23.--(Special.)--

There is a new eruption of Holy Rollerism with half a dozen of the former victims affected. An exodus of these people has taken place, with a spot, not far from Waldport, 20 miles south of Newport, Lincoln County, as the objective point. Creffield is the leader of the band, and is supposed that he and his fellows will go into camp on the southern beach in a fashion similar to that which prevailed near this town two years ago, when they were for a period of several weeks in camp in a secluded spot in the Willamette River bottom, several miles south of Corvallis.


Signs of the new eruption have been apparent for fully two month past. Creffield’s release from the penitentiary last December was followed by his departure to Sacramento, Cal., where it was homed by families interested here, he would remain. From Sacramento he went to San Jose and finally turned up at Seattle.


In February, some of his victims here, who had been completely cured of their former dementia, began to show signs of relapses. A clandestine correspondence was found to be in vogue between them and their former prophet. He did not write direct to them, but sent his letters to a family of his former victims at Oregon City, who remailed them to their objective point here.




Under this stimulus, the old frenzy began to return, and the upshot is that today it leaked out that Creffield actually passed through this county a day or two ago on his way to the Waldport camping place. With him is his wife, who secured a divorce from him last year, but to who he was remarried in Seattle recently. A telephone message from Waldport this morning relates that five or six others are with the Creffield's, and the all have proceeded to the camp, where the peculiar rites of the crazed bunch will be carried on.


As all those who took part in the performances two years ago are involved in the new eruption. Of the eight or ten in the insane asylum by reason of the former work of Creffield, several have held responsible positions and have manifested the utmost repulsion for the faith. Some of them have held Creffield in loathing and contempt, among [illegible] more than one of those now returning to his fold. Among these is Frank Hurt, who resigned his position as deputy assessor at Seattle and, accompanied by his wife, passed through here a few days ago on the way to the camping site.


The practice of the religion in this city would not be tolerated for a moment by the authorities, for they know that underneath his pretended teachings, Creffield practices methods most scoundrelly.




It is learned tonight that Creffield drove yesterday from Airlie, the terminus of the Dallas Railroad, and took the Corvallis & Eastern Yaquina-bound train at Wren, a dozen miles to the west of Corvallis. At Airlie it was suggested to him that he could make the trip by train for $3 and that the trip by private conveyance would cost $6, but he declared that he preferred the latter route.


Creffield alighted from the conveyance, and entered a grove near the station. He was attired in rough clothing when he went in, but was neatly dressed when he came out and entered the train. He alleges now that he is Christ risen from the dead, his death being the two years incarceration at the Oregon State Penitentiary for illicit relations with one of his followers. It is said that some of his band accept his claim of Christhood.




The wife and daughter of Louis Hartley took Saturday’s train to join the exodus and their disappearance was only uncovered in time for Mr. Hartley to catch the Corvallis & Eastern train on which they were passengers. At Blodgett station they eluded the husband and father and in the evening appeared at a farm house some distance from Blodgett, where they were given food and lodging.


When the family arose next morning, they had departed, no one knew where. A half dollar left on the table was a mute witness to their flight. Mr. Hartley went on to Newport and is now searching for the missing wife and daughter.


1906 Johnson Furniture wax advertisementHEADLINES IN DIFFERENT PAPERS FOR THE SAME ARTICLE


Corvallis Times 4/24/1906 p2

In Benton Again

But Only Passed Through--Creffield, the Monster--More Rollerism.


Brownsville Times 5/4/1906 p4

Holy Rollerism Again


Creffield, the scoundrel who poses as a saint, passed through Benton county Saturday, and followed by some of his former victims, is again up to his old tricks in a camp near Waldport. This time he is palming himself off on his foolish followers as Jesus Christ risen from the dead, his resurrection having been his emergence from the State penitentiary. Some of his followers are said to accept him as the risen Christ.


Creffield’s trip through Benton was by private conveyance from Airlie, Polk County, to Wren, Benton County. At the latter station, he took the Corvallis & Eastern for Yaquina, where on arrival, he took a small boat and crossed the bay, journeying via South Beach to Waldport. Near the latter place, a camp, according to all accounts, is to be established, and a revelry in rollerism be carried on after the manner of a similar camp maintained by Creffield and his followers up the Willamette a couple of years ago. Creffield was accompanied on his trip through Benton by his wife. She was divorced from him last year, but they were re-married at Seattle several weeks ago. At Airlie when Creffield sought a private conveyance to get to Wren, he was told that he could go by train for $3 and it would cost $6 by team. He said he preferred to travel by team. At Wren, he alighted and went into a grove near the station. He was then attired in rough clothes, but when he emerged to enter the train he was neatly arrayed. It is surmised that the old clothing was a disguise. His avoidance of Corvallis is no surprise. His dildos are not regarded in this vicinity with favor. It was here on a lovely autumn eve that he was tarred and feathered.


Creffield was released from the penitentiary last December. He went to Sacramento, thence to San Jose and other California points, and finally landed at Seattle. It is supposed that from the day of his release, he began a clandestine correspondence with former victims in this city. His letters went to the Seeley girls in Oregon City, by whom they were remailed to persons in Corvallis. In February their effects began to be apparent in new, though slight, manifestations of rollerism. Suspicions aroused by the manifestations led to a discovery of the clandestine correspondence. Six or eight of his former followers are with Creffield, some having preceded him to the Waldport headquarters. Not all of his disciples of other days have returned to him. None of them have shown the violent manifestations of two years ago. That development is perhaps to be a feature of the near future. Mrs. Hartley and daughter attempted to join Creffield on the trip to Yaquina Saturday, but an incident happened to prevent. Mr. Hartley discovered their disappearance in time to catch the train on which they took passage. At Blodgett the wife and daughter, left the train unobserved. They took lodgings at a farm house in the vicinity. The next morning when the family arose, the guests were gone. A half dollar on the table was evidence that their departure was studied and that flight was the motive. Mr. Hartley went on to Newport and at last accounts was uninformed as to the whereabouts of his missing family.



Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 4/24/1906 p10

Holy Rollers Gathering Near Waldport

Apostle Joshua Creffield Remarries Divorced Wife and Passes Through Corvallis.


(Special Dispatch to the Journal)

Corvallis, OR., April 24.--The Apostle “Holy Roller,” Joshua Creffield, who left the penitentiary at the end of a two year term last December, has been remarried to his divorced wife, Maud Hurt, at Seattle. The wedding took place several weeks ago, but it was not known here save to the authorities and the woman’s parents.

When Creffield left the penitentiary he disappeared and finally located in California. He was a San Jose and San Francisco, then at Seattle with his brother-in-law, Frank Hurt. He managed to communicate with his divorced wife, and persuaded her to come to Seattle, and they were married. Saturday the apostle, with his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hurt, passed through Corvallis, en route to the coast near Waldport. They were joined here by Mrs. Lewis Hartley and her daughter, former rollers.


Mae Hurt, for a time in the boys’ and girls’ home, being cured of the roller mania, also Atta Bray, one of the victims formerly sent to the asylum from the craze of Creffieldism, have gone to the coast.


A report today says all the partied mentioned are camped near Waldport, and the supposition is they will open a Holy Roller convention. Mrs. O. V. Hurt remains in this city.


Lewis Hartley requested the police to restrain his wife and daughter from going, but they could not.



Morning Oregonian (Portland) 4/24/06 p3

Lives With Negroes

Wife of Pastor in Rockefeller’s Church Deserts Him. Follows Strange Faith. "Holiness" Takes Such Hold of Mrs. Arnold that She Declares Her Preacher Husband and All His Ways Ungodly.

CLEVELAND, Oh., April 23. (Special.)--As the alleged result of Mrs. Delia Arnold taking up the “Holiness” religion and going to live with a company of colored believers in Chicago, Rev. I. R. B. Arnold, assistant pastor of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, John D. Rockefeller’s religious home, filed a suit for divorce today.


Mr. and Mrs. Arnold were married in 1867, and have five daughters, all adults. Mrs. Arnold went to New York for a visit and there became acquainted with teachings which the clergyman calls “fanatical.” Rev. Mr. Arnold thus describes the effect of the holiness teaching on Mrs. Arnold:

“She abandoned her home many times and wholly failed to assist plaintiff in taking care of the family. She also refused to permit the children to assist him in his work, and refused to let them attend school and any of the churches claiming that these and even the plaintiff himself were all ungodly.


Seattle Daily Times 4/25/1906 p5

New Officers Take Up Religious Work

Volunteers of America Arrive From San Francisco for Labor in Seattle Field.


Maj. and Mrs. Wallace Markle, Capt. William Smith, Lieut. and Mrs. Charles Brooks and Bandmaster Alfred Bailey, all officers in the Volunteers of America, arrived in Seattle last night from San Francisco to take up the work of the order in Seattle. Maj Markle is in command. He succeeds Capt. Boyes, who resigned some time ago after charges had been preferred against him.


The Volunteers report that they barely escaped from San Francisco with their lives. The main headquarters and barracks, which is the head of the Pacific Coast division, were destroyed, together with all the equipment, books, records, etc., and not one cent of insurance was carried.

Meetings under direction of Maj. Markle will be held nightly in the Volunteer Hall, at 118 Second Avenue South, and on the street at the corner of Second Avenue South and Washington Street.



Yaquina Bay News (Newport, OR) 4/26/1906 p2

Holy Roller Craze Again

A Corvallis Man Gunning for Creffield.


Friday, Frank Hurt and wife and two other women of Holy Roller fame arrived over from Corvallis. Saturday evening they were joined by the notorious Creffield and his wife. They went over to South Beach the same evening and it is reported that they have since gone down the coast to Ten Mile Creek a point below the Yachats in Lane County.


(The usual about Hartley, plus) It is said that the holy rollers are going to start a colony at Ten Mile Creek.



Corvallis Gazette 4/27/1906 p2

Creffield Again


Strange as it may seem, Creffield is again the head of a little colony of his adherents and the fact that a camp is to be located somewhere near Waldport, in Lincoln County, is pretty generally known. That there are those who would be led astray a second time by such a dirty rascal is, alas! Too true.


To a person of sane judgment it seems strange, in fact is passeth human understanding, that such a creature as Creffield could have secured a following in the first place. To again establish his practices after having served a term in the state penitentiary would seem doubly impossible. Yet such is the case. Adultery landed Creffield behind prison bars and, shameful as it may be, adultery and Holy Rollerism seem inseparable.


One would think that with many, if not all of the followers of “Joshua” Creffield the First in the insane asylum and Creffield himself in the penitentiary, would have cured all their fanaticism. One by one all who were sent to the asylum were discharged and sent to their homes--supposedly cured. Later liberty was granted Creffield. Are the same conditions to again prevail? The same scenes to be enacted? And the same remedies applied? What can be done with or for a people who are so weak as to follow the damnable teachings and practices of a man like Creffield? We give it up.


What steps the Lincoln county authorities will take in the matter is not known. If we misjudge them not they will act promptly, now that they know the results of Holy Rollerism, and use every means within their power to protect their people from pollution by Creffield.


Lincoln County Leader (Toledo, OR) 4/27/1906 supplement p1

Two strange women were in this locality Sunday night. They walked from Blodgett, secured lodging of M. D. Weltin and left Monday morning. It is reported that they were Holy Rollers and were on their way to Waldport to meet Creffield.



Oregon Sunday Journal (Portland) 4/29/1906 p13

Said To Have Tried To Kill Apostle Creffield


(Special Dispatch to The Journal)

Corvallis, Or., April 28.--A man returned this afternoon from Newport and states that Lewis Hartley, who followed his wife and daughter to the coast with the holy rollers, is ill at Waldport and cannot proceed. The rollers are camped at Ten Mile creek below Waldport, but have made no public demonstration yet. It is reported at Newport that Hartley attempted to shoot Creffield, but his pistol snapped five times, it being a center cartridge fire weapon and he using rim fire cartridges. Hartley attempted to secure a warrant for Creffield, but could not swear to any positive complaint and a warrant was not issued. It is believed here that some one concerned will yet shoot Creffield. His followers are said to believe that the self-styled apostle is the risen Christ.

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