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 24, 1906: Trial Will Cost Taxpayers Ten Thousand Dollars


Seattle Sunday Times 6/24/1906 p12

Mitchell Trial Tomorrow

Man Who Killed Holy Roller Creffield Because He Ruined His Sisters, Will Face Jury on Murder Charge. Trial Will Take at Least a Month and Cost Taxpayers Ten Thousand Dollars--May Be Difficult to Get a Jury.


George Mitchell, who shot and killed Franz Edmund Creffield of Holy Roller notoriety on May 7 in Seattle, will be put on trial before Judge Frater in the superior court tomorrow morning on information charging murder in the first degree. Everything is ready for one of the longest and most sensational murder trials ever heard in King County. Both the defense and prosecution are ready and there will be no dilatory tactics employed.


Weeks have been spent by both sides in preparation and both are confident of success. Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh declares manslaughter is the least verdict that a jury can return considering the evidence. Will H. Morris, the accused man’s counsel, asserts that the jury will acquit his client without leaving the jury box. The defense will be temporary insanity. The defense will argue that Mitchell brooded over the wrong done his sister until his mind became unbalanced and that while he was in this condition he fired the shot that ended the immoral career of the Holy Roller.


The trial will take at least a month according to the attorneys. So general has been the sentiment in Mitchell’s favor that it is expected great difficulty will be experienced in securing a jury. The regular June panel will be examined first. Then the special venire of sixty jurors drawn especially for this trial will be called into the jury box. If a jury is secured within a week the lawyers in the case declare rapid progress will have been made.


Before the trial is concluded it will cost the taxpayers in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars.


The prosecution is relying much on the testimony of Ester Mitchell, the minor sister of the accused man. She has refused to see her brother and is a willing witness for the prosecution. George Mitchell declares that she was the victim of Creffield’s fiendish lust, which he gratified under the hypocritical cloak of fanatical religious rites. The girl has assured the prosecution that she will testify that Creffield did her no wrong.


John Manning, district attorney of Multnomah County, who sent Creffield to the penitentiary for two years for debauching Mitchell’s married sister, will testify for the defense. A large number of witnesses have been subpoenaed from Oregon.


The prosecution has devoted several days’ work preparing a legal fight to be made for exclusion of evidence showing Creffield’s religious experiences. The arguments alone will probably occupy several days.



Sunday Oregonian (Portland) 6/24/1906

Witnesses for Mitchell

Slayer of Holy Roller Creffield Will Have Score. They are Expected to Testify to the Nefarious Practices of the Man Slain.


A whole train load of witnesses for the defense will got to Seattle from Oregon for the forthcoming trial of George Mitchell, who killed Joshua Creffield, the Holy Roller chieftain. A score of witnesses have been subpoenaed and are prepared to leave as soon as advised by the attorneys for young Mitchell that their presence is needed. The list of witnesses is now in the hands of John Manning, who will secure service on the subpoenas. Mr. Manning is included in the list.


The testimony of the witnesses will bear upon the reputation of Crefield. Mr. Manning and those who helped send him to the penitentiary for his nefarious practices will be asked to repeat on the witness stand what they know of Creffield. It is clear from this witness list, that the defense will confine itself to justifying the shooting of Creffield on the grounds that he was a menace to society and that he had done irreparable wrong to sisters of the slayer. The list follows:


These witnesses will probably leave during next week or as soon as instructed by the defendant’s attorneys. The trial is set for July 26 and it is believed the first few days will be required for the selection of a jury.



Sunday Oregonian (Portland) 6/24/1906 p5

Trial is Monday

The Story of Creffield’s Life to Be Told. Witnesses Are Said to Be Traveling [illegible] from Oregon to Seattle to Attend the Trial.


[The left hand side of the column is cut off, making the article hard to read, but it seems to be the usual stuff.] >

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