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 13, 1906: Creffield is Due To Rise Today


Creffield's GraveSeattle Daily Times 5/13/1906 p1

Creffield is Due To Rise Today

Holy Roller ‘Prophet’ Expected by His Wife to Emerge From Grave at 10:45 O’clock, Hour He Was Buried


“JOSHUA” Creffield is scheduled to arise from his grave at 10:45 o’clock this morning. According to his wife and some of his followers, George Mitchell did not kill the Holy Roller “prophet” because he is a divine being, and after four days from the hour when his body was placed in a grave in Lake View Cemetery he will return to life and again take command of his followers.


It was for this reason that Mrs. Creffield refused to allow any religious services either at the Bonney-Watson chapel or at the grave. She said it was useless, as the man was not dead, and confidently predicted that he would return to his flock at the expiration of the allotted time. Her faith is still absolute, but she is not exactly sure as to the details of the resurrection.


No guard has been places at Creffield’s grave, and the authorities have taken no steps to provide for the unusual event which they seem to believe has been announced for a somewhat premature date. Creffield’s body was buried, clad only in a white shroud, at the request of his wife, who believed that to be fitting garment for his return to the world from which Mitchell’s bullet had temporarily removed him, but those not so intimately connected with the belief of the Holy Rollers, and who have not fallen so directly under the spell are inclined to believe that the shroud will be somewhat soiled by the passing of the years before it can be put to the use for which it was intended.


Young Mitchell, in the county jail, is not much concerned over the proposed return of the man he found it necessary for him to kill. He only smiles quietly when the subject is mentioned. He is not inclined to joke about it because he realized that this is a human life which he took and he realizes that the prosecuting attorney is determined that he shall be punished for it, if it is possible for him to so persuade a jury.


He thoroughly appreciates the seriousness of his position, but has not shown the slightest sign of fear. He has not even inquired of his attorneys or others what they thought of his chances.




In the courtroom yesterday morning, when he was arraigned and Judge Frater felt bound to oppose his application for bail upon technical grounds, he would have been almost the last man in the throng to be picked out as the one who sat there facing a charge of murder in the first degree. His attitude was manly, quiet and unperturbed.


The only sign of weakness he has shown in the whole transaction was at the moment he unexpectedly met Creffield face to face on First Avenue. It was so sudden, this meeting, that he drew back, and it was not until he realized that the man was getting away from him that he recovered himself and fired. Since then he has been cooler than the men about him.


Will H. Morris, his attorney, is disappointed at the action for bail, but is far from discouraged. He says it is only an indication that a hard fight will probably be required to free his client from the clutch of laws which make no provision for sentiment or the drastic necessities caused by the very existence of such men as this “Joshua.”


Mitchell will be arraigned to plead next Saturday morning, and that will be the next step in the case. Just what will be done at that time has not been fully determined. As long as bail cannot be secured, every effort will be made to expedite the trial of the case in order that the young man may regain the freedom which but few believe any jury will deny him.





Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 5/13/1906 p1

Widow of Holy Roller Is Insane From Waiting to See the Dead Arise


Corvallis Times 5/15/1906

Widow of Holy Roller Is Insane From Waiting to See the Dead Arise

Mrs. Creffield Grovels on Floor Begging to Go to Cemetery--Becomes a Maniac.


(Special Dispatch to The Journal)

Seattle, Wash., May 12.--Groveling on the floor of the police matron’s home and begging hysterically that she be allowed to spend the night in the Lakeview cemetery to witness the resurrection of her husband, Franz Edmund Creffield, the late Apostle Joshua of holy Roller notoriety, Mrs. Creffield, widow of the murdered man, has become insane. Today she pleaded with Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh to allow her to be taken to the cemetery under guard, so she could see her husband rise from the dead tomorrow morning, as she believes he will. The request was denied.


Then the woman begged the police matron to take her there. When this was refused she became hysterical and up to a late hour tonight had refused to be quieted or take any rest or food. Her cries are like those of a wild animal. She declares that if she is not in the cemetery to greet her husband when he arises her soul is lost. The woman is firm in her declaration that “Joshua” will arise from the dead tomorrow morning.



When he was buried she did no shed a tear or show the slightest sign of sorrow. She maintained her composure, firm in the belief that although her husband was buried Wednesday, Sunday would see him alive again. It is feared the woman’s mind will be permanently lost. It may be necessary in the morning in an effort to quiet her to take her to the cemetery to show her that the grave has not been disturbed. She declares that if she is not present at the resurrection she will be punished for her infidelity.


The mental breakdown of the woman today is in strange contrast with her demeanor since her husband’s death. Except for the first few minutes as her husband’s prostrate form lay in the drug store outside of which he was shot she has showed no grief. Even then she cried: “He cannot die. He must not die. He never did George Mitchell any harm.” The doctor’s declaration that he was dead did not shake her belief that her husband was immortal.


At the morgue and at the cemetery she shoed no sign of sorrow, telling the police matron that her husband would arise Sunday.




The police matron, who is used to insanity in all its forms, declares that Mrs. Creffield’s condition is the saddest sight she has ever seen. The woman has not become violent, but it is feared she might. She is simply hysterical. If she becomes at all violent she will be taken to the county jail, where her husband’s slayer is confined awaiting trial. The fact that Mrs. Creffield has been in the insane asylum in Oregon in the midst of the frantic demonstrations of the Holy Rollers makes the officers believe that her condition may become permanent.


The woman is under orders of the prosecuting attorney and will be held by the police matron as a witness at the trial of George Mitchell unless she becomes insane. A close guard will be kept over her all night for fear she may harm herself or others.




For a time the police matron attempted to convince her that her belief in her husband’s resurrection was ridiculous and that there was no use of her going to the cemetery to witness his resurrection from death. Mrs. Creffield, however, would not pay any heed to the matron’s arguments. She declared she knew as did all Creffield’s followers, that he could not die; that he was Christ and that it was foreordained that the Sunday after his burial he would rise again and show himself to the world that he was really Christ.


Since the murder Mrs. Creffield has received letters from some of the faithful in Oregon assuring her that her husband would again rise from the dead. The names of the correspondents were withheld from all the newspapers at the request of the police matron.




Tomorrow in several churches sermons will be preached on the Creffield slaying. Rev. Myron W. Haynes, who gained much notoriety in Chicago before he came to Seattle by his fight with relatives when his name was dropped from the list entitling him with other ministers to reduced rates, has announced that he will denounce Mitchell from the pulpit of his fashionable church as a cold-blooded murderer. Haynes has already congratulated Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh on his determination to vigorously prosecute Mitchell. Haynes will beg his congregation to drop its sympathy for Mitchell and take sides with the prosecution. He is the only clergyman who will probably denounce Mitchell. The others will take sides with the young slayer, or at least pass over it hurriedly and point out the iniquity of Creffield’s life. Haynes has brought upon himself much unpopularity by denouncing Mitchell. Public opinion here is strong in the slayer’s favor.




The letter from District Attorney Manning did much to make unanimous the public sentiment that Mitchell should be liberated even without a trial. The declaration of Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh that he would prosecute Mitchell as he would any other murderer is looked upon as an unfortunate incident. If Mitchell had been allowed bail today a number of prominent citizens were willing to furnish security upwards of $30,000.


In light of the fact that other judges have allowed murderers bail, it has led the public to look with disfavor on Judge Frater’s refusal to allow Mitchell bail. It is certain that Mitchell if tried will be acquitted by the jury. No man, although many have tried, has ever been convicted here for murdering a seducer of his wife or daughter. Mitchell’s case is much stronger than that of the men already liberated for shooting down libertines.


The press of Seattle has taken his side and created a public sentiment in his favor that none of these other men had. Money will be supplied for Mitchell’s defense by many Seattle men if it cannot be raised in any other way.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 5/13/1906 p5

Court Denies Bail To Geo. Mitchell

Letter Announces That Sisters of Prisoner Confessed Creffield’s Guilt.


After listening to the pleas of the attorneys for George Mitchell for an hour yesterday give a recital of the history of the affairs leading up to the killing of Franz Edmund Creffield in their endeavor to induce the court to admit the prisoner to bail, Judge Frater denied the motion on the grounds that the law will not admit of the action.


Preceding the arguments of the attorney for the prisoner and the short statement of facts by Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh the young man was arraigned and the information read to him. His attorneys then asked for a continuation and Mitchell will plead on May 19.


In making his statement to the court in support of the motion for bail, Attorney Will H. Morris dwelt not on the law bearing on the matter, but rather asked the court to consider the motion from a humane standpoint. Mr. Mackintosh merely recited the law governing the admission to bail of prisoners charged with a capital offense and the court gave he ruling.


During the course of his arguments Attorney Morris stated that Mitchell is in receipt of a letter from F. T. Gardener, superintendent of the Boys’ and Girls Aid society of Oregon, in which that official of the institution declares that the sister of the young man confessed the criminal relations which Creffield had with them and further that he has received the information from fathers that they hesitated to prosecute the man because of the notoriety that would result.

Superintendent Gardner offers to give testimony in the case for the defense and in closing expressed a hope that the young man will be exonerated. The letter was received by Mitchell yesterday morning thru the sheriff’s office.



Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 5/13/1906 p9

Mitchell Is Denied Release on Bail

(Special Dispatch to the Journal)

(The usual)


Lincoln County Times (Waldport) 5/18/1906 p1

More About Creffield


Waldport, Or., May 13,1906

The Toledo Reporter says: “In the killing of Creffield society has been rid of a dangerous character;” “the world abhors a villain” (such was Creffield); “it despises a coward.” It then goes on to say George Mitchell is a murderer and should be hanged for the killing of Creffield. The Reporter drops back to the days of dueling when the civilized world abhors such means of revenge today, and the laws of our country forbid such. The Reporter is just about one hundred years behind civilization. It says “men are blood hungry and blood crazy.” Such was Creffield; but was it men’s blood he wanted? No, it was the blood of young, innocent girls that this devil in human form craved; and his record shows that his devilish purpose was accomplished. How would the editor of the Reporter feel in this matter if his wife or daughter were placed under the hypnotic influence of such as Creffield? The laws of our land cannot reach such fanatics, only for a short term. Then is for the father, brother or husband to avenge the wrong done.


Creffield met his just deserts and should have had that meted out to him long ago. George Mitchell did what any good American citizen should have done--not risk his own life to such a depraved brute as Creffield. Instead of suffering any penalty, he should be acquitted and given a gold medal by the people of Oregon. JUSTICE

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