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.

July 9, 1906: Killing of Judge Emory May Effect Mitchell




Seattle Daily Times 7/9/1906 p3

Killing of Emory May Effect Mitchell

Attorney Will Morris Has Bailiffs Instructed to Take Every Precaution to Keep Jury in Ignorance of Crime.

Judge Frater Expresses Regret That it Is Impracticable to Adjourn Court, and Defense Hastens Proceedings.


Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 7/9/1906

Mitchell Jury Is Kept In The Dark

Men To Decide Holy Roller Case Ignorant Of Emory Murder

Trial Of Slayer Of Creffield To End Soon

Physician Testifies That Defendant Was Insane At The Time He Killer “Apostle”--But One Witness Remains For Defense To Examine.


Former Judge George Meade Emory’s death at the hands of young Chester Thompson has interjected itself into the trial of George Mitchell, charged with murder in the first degree for the killing of Franz Edmund Creffield on the morning of May 7.


Evidently fearing that a knowledge of the latter crime might have a certain moral influence on the jury should that body become possessed of it, Attorney Will H. Morris, for the defense, at the opening of court this morning, took the matter up with Judge Frater before the jury was brought in. Mr. Morris called attention to the distressing death of Judge Emory and stated to the court that inasmuch as the courthouse flag was flying at half-mast in honor of the dead jurist, he desired the bailiffs to be instructed to take the jury to the hotel by a route which would preclude its observing the flag and to otherwise use extreme precautions to prevent any knowledge of the shooting coming to the ears of the men who will determine the fate of the defendant in the present trial.


Judge Frater in reply stated that he greatly regretted the impracticability of adjourning the court in his department out of respect to former Judge Emory, but that he felt that the jury was entitled to all consideration and in view of the long confinement and inconvenience which it had been put to he felt that it would be an injustice to prolong the trial even one day more than was absolutely necessary. Judge Frater instructed the bailiffs to comply with the request of Mr. Morris as regarded the jury.




Mr. Morris then stated that in order to so hasten matters as to make it possible to adjourn court on the day of the Emory funeral the defense would waive the right to place a number of witnesses on the stand, and that with the exception of Dr. John Wotherspoon and Dr. Wright, called as insanity experts, he would excuse the balance of his witnesses.


The jury was then brought in and Dr. Wotherspoon called to the stand. In answer to a number of hypothetical questions, put by Attorney Shipley, and covering evidence adduced at the trial, the witness stated that in his opinion any man so affected was insane. This expression of opinion was not arrived at without much effort on the part of the defense as many of the questions were objected to by the prosecution and in some cases sustained by the court. Mr. Shipley was persistent, however, and by changing the wording of his questions succeeded in getting the greater part of the desired evidence before the jury.


A severe cross-examination conducted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Miller failed to shake the testimony of the witness in any material respect. This cross-examination was not completed at the hour of the noon recess and was taken up at the afternoon session of court. The examination of Dr. Miles was commenced this afternoon and it is probable that the arguments will be commenced tomorrow, or possible at a late hour this afternoon.




Interest in the trial still keeps up so far as the spectators are concerned and the courtroom was comfortably filled this morning. The defendant is still the object of attention on the part of women and the pretty young woman who had taken a particular interest in Mitchell was in court again after an absence of two days. She left the courtroom a few minutes before adjournment, but when Mitchell was taken down stairs by Deputy Sheriff Bert Thompson, she met him at the landing and after a word or two handed him a large bunch of sweet peas, which were accepted with a warm smile.


While it is not known positively who this admirer of the defendant is, her name is believed to be Corbett. While the defendant by his actions indicates that he is appreciative of the good wishes of all those who have so evidenced their feelings, it is patent to the officers of the court that it is this girl in the picture hat who has aroused his interest and that he missed her presence in court during the two days that she failed to put in an appearance has been quite evident.


Since the completion of taking testimony from those witnesses who related the events leading up to the killing, Mitchell had displayed little interest in the proceedings and has acted as though bored by the long drawn out efforts to prove him insane.



Seattle Star 7/9/1906 p1

Mitchell Jury Is Kept In Ignorance

Men Who Are Trying Creffield’s Slayer Are Not Told Of The Killing Of Judge Emory.


The death of Judge Emory was referred to at the opening of this morning’s session of the Mitchell murder trial.


Attorney Morris, for the defense, made touching reference to the tragic incident and in connection there with asked that the judge instruct the bailiff in charge of the jury to keep form the jurors all knowledge of the killing and to take them to and from the court room in some way so that their attention would not be called to the flag flying at half mast above the court house.


Judge Frater in a few words regretted that he could not adjourn his court. He felt that the interests of the defendant would be prejudiced by doing so, and that it would also be unfair to the jurors.


Mr. Miller, for the state, referred to the killing as a most pathetic unfortunate occurrence, almost crushing in its nature, but felt that the court was acting wisely in continuing the trial.


The only witness of the morning was Dr. John Wotherspoon, called by the defense as an insanity expert. Dr. Wotherspoon was on the stand all morning and a part of the afternoon.


After the examination of Dr. Wotherspoon, Dr. Miles was called, and before the adjournment today the defense will have rested.



Evening Telegram (Portland) 7/9/1906 p11

Murder Kept from Mitchell Jurors

Judge Instructs that Killing of Judge Emory Must Not Reach Members.


SEATTLE,       Wash., July 9.--When the Mitchell trial opened this morning Attorney Will H. Morris asked Judge Frater to instruct the bailiffs to take extraordinary precautions that the jury might not learn of the murder of ex-judge Emory by Chester Thompson.


Judge Frater pointed out the fact that the Courthouse flag was flying at half-mast, and the bailiffs were instructed to take the jury to and from the boarding-house by a route on which the members could not get a view of the flag. The court did not want the jurors inquiring why it was flying at half-mast. The bailiffs were also instructed to see that no knowledge of the murder got to the jury for fear it might influence them.


The defense stated that as a result of the Emory killing it would only call two more witnesses, both medical experts. It declared however, that it had many other witnesses to call. Dr. Wotherspoon, a local doctor, was the only witness today. He testified in answer to hypothetical questions that a person put in Mitchell’s position would probably be insane.


The rigorous cross-examination on the part of the state failed to shake the witness. One more witness will be called by the defense, and then after a short time spent in rebuttal testimony and possibly a day given over to arguments, the case will be given to the jury. A verdict is looked for by Thursday evening.



Morning Oregonian (Portland) 7/10/1906 p1

Admit Jury Acquit Mitchell

State’s Attorneys Now Confess Defeat.

No Testimony In Rebuttal

Attempts To Break Down Defense Considered Useless.

Facts Cannot Be Denied

O. V. Hurt’s Exposure Of Holy Roller Creffield’s Hideous Crimes Turned Scale In Avenger’s Favor--Trial Will End Today.


SEATTLE, Wash., July 9.--(Special.)--George Mitchell’s fate will be left with the jury tomorrow night. The defense in the Creffield murder case rested this afternoon, after a day spent in the examination of insanity experts, and the state took a night off to consider whether any expert medical testimony in rebuttal should be offered. All the interested attorneys told Judge Frater just before adjournment that they expected to make but short addresses, and each in turn suggested that the case could be submitted to the jury tomorrow evening. Judge Frater is tonight preparing his instructions to the jury.


After their conference tonight, Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John F. Miller decided not to offer any testimony in rebuttal. Mr. Mackintosh will begin the argument for the state early in the morning. He will be followed by the attorneys for the defense, and then Mr. Miller will close.


The state expects an acquittal. This can be said authoritatively, and it can be added that the prosecution has believed its case was lost ever since the testimony of O. V. Hurt was given to the jury.




“Had the defense rested when the old man from Corvallis finished telling the jury of the debasing practices of the Holy Rollers, the case would have been decided by the jury without leaving the box.” This is the way a member of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office summed up the situation tonight, adding, “We have been beaten for a week.”


Rebuttal offers nothing to the state. The prosecution cannot offset the damaging testimony as to the Holy Roller Practices and the general discrediting of “Joshua” Creffield by the “I-told-George-Mitchell” witnesses for the defense. All the state could do, were such testimony available, would be to prove that George Mitchell did not know of the Holy Roller orgies. The state tried hard to get such testimony on cross-examination.


There is absolutely no way of proving that George Mitchell’s mind was not inflamed by the stories of Creffield’s act. It would be impossible to get in evidence contradicting the practices of the Corvallis sect.




One insanity expert the defense consulted, but did not produce. That was Dr. Loughary, formerly superintendent of the Steilacoom asylum for the insane. The only question in the minds of the prosecuting attorneys when they left the courtroom tonight was whether Loughary ought to be called for the state in rebuttal on the insanity plea. After all, however, the state does not think much of insanity testimony.


In the closing arguments the state will attempt to dissuade the Jurors from the opinion that Creffield’s killing was justifiable. Neither of the states attorneys believes there is much of an insanity plea to overcome. They think the insanity plea is merely offered as an excuse to the jury for a verdict of acquittal. That this excuse will be accepted by the jury is fully believed by the prosecution. When the arguments begin tomorrow, the state’s representatives will talk feeling they are leading a forlorn hope.


A desperate effort may be made tomorrow by the prosecution to get some inkling of the murder of Judge George Emory before the jury. Some chance remark, some slight intimation or else a bald reference to the tragedy may be given. It is a subterfuge and a trick, and one likely to result in punishment for contempt of court, but the attorneys representing the state may attempt to influence the jury by letting the arbiters of Mitchell’s fate know that another man has been shot down in Seattle by a youth who will plead insanity.




Today’s was a dry and dull hearing, enlivened by just two questions asked on cross-examination by John F. Miller, Deputy County Attorney. Dr. W. T. Miles was testifying for the defense, and had answered innumerable hypothetical questions, when Mr. Miller asked, on cross examination:

The founder of the Mormon church claimed that he had received a revelation from God, and that he had been directed by this divine inspiration. Was that an insane delusion?”


“If he actually believed it,” Dr. Miles answered, “it was.”


Again Mr. Miller declared that there were some people who believed that prayer is answered and ills are cured by prayer. He asked whether the physician regarded such a belief as an insane delusion.


“If adhered to beyond the point of reason, it is, Dr. Mills insisted. Continuing, he explained that those holding such opinions were entitled to their beliefs, and so long as they did not carry them to the point of absurdity, the “divine” healers could not be classes as demented. Then Mr. Miller went at it in another way and recited the fact that a certain sect believes the Christ has not yet appeared, while another insists that he came in Jesus. The attorney asked Dr. Miles to pick the insane delusion, but the physician held there was none.




When the attorneys were done with Dr. Miles, Will H. Morris announced that the defense rested. Mr. Miller began a plea for time for consultation, when Judge Frater interjected an inquiry as to whether the case could be closed tomorrow. Both sides agreed it could.


Extraordinary precautions are being taken by the court to prevent the news of Judge Emory’s assassination from reaching the jury that is trying Mitchell. Mitchell’s counsel today abandoned their plans for the examination of all remaining witnesses, save those who could testify regarding Mitchell’s probable insanity, and hurried through with these.


All other departments of the Superior Court adjourned out of respect to Judge Emory at an early hour. Before the Mitchell jury was called in, Judge Frater discussed an adjournment with the attorneys in the case, but finally held that it was essential that the hearing be completed and the jury freed from its confinement.




Judge Frater recognized the danger of the news of the Emory murder by minute instructions to the bailiffs in charge of the jury. He instructed them to take every precaution to prevent any news of the tragedy reaching the jurors. The Courthouse flag is flying at half-mast, and the court ordered the bailiffs to take the jury to and from their meals by a new route that will avoid any glimpse of the flag. Curiosity might result in the jury learning of the Emory murder, and the court declared that from this time on the jury men must be virtual prisoners. Will H. Morris, counsel for Mitchell, took the initiative in securing these instructions.


Dr. John Wotherspoon was the defense’s first insanity expert. Answering hypothetical questions, he declared a man in Mitchell’s condition would be insane. The defense had to fight hard to get its expert testimony, for the state objected repeatedly to the manner in which the questions were framed. Finally Attorney Shipley got a satisfactory statement that Deputy County Attorney Miller could not shake. Dr. Wright, another expert for the defense, substantiated Dr. Wotherspoon.




“The girl with the picture hat,” who has attended the Mitchell hearing faithfully, but who has been absent for the past few days, reappeared today. A few moments before the noon adjournment she slipped out of the courtroom and met Mitchell with Deputy Sheriff Bert Thompson on the stairs. She handed the prisoner a bunch of sweet peas, the disappeared. Mitchell has apparently missed the girl’s presence and her flowers, for he brightened considerably when he met her again today. Though she has tried to conceal her identity, the young woman’s name is said to be Corbett.


The crowd that has attended the trial thinned out slightly today, but there was the usual number of women present.



Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 7/9/1906

Modern Ark Drifts into Harbor, But Finds no Ararat

Home of Salvation Army Man Floats Away While Owner is Absent, but is Captured by Lower Bridge.


Not wishing to emulate the fool who buildeth his house upon the sands, and not being wealthy enough to produce a solid foundation within walking distance, J. A. Garner, the little man who smashes time on the big bass drum for the Salvation Army, buildeth an ark upon the water. The winds came and the rain fell upon the roof, but unlike the mansion erected upon the stands, it fell not; the June freshet carried away snags and monstrous fields of drift and tugged and tore violently at the ark, but, like the house plastered upon the rocks, it stood the racket.


In complimenting himself upon having buildeth wisely and well, however, the strong-armed bass drummer over-looked the human parasite , who, with a grudge in his heart and upon mischief bent, sneaks about at night playing wicked pranks at the expense of his fellow men.




This black-hearted sinner, whoever he may be, came along last night and, envious of the peaceful surroundings of the Garner houseboat, cut the moorings. The tide came and gentle zephyrs came, too, and the ark began to drift until it finally fell in grasp of the maelstrom of the Willamette.


At dawn this morning it was in the middle of the harbor between the Madison Street and Morrison street bridges and plebeians who came along by that way stopped and gazed upon it in amazement. Apparently without a hand to steer it the strange craft drifted toward the draw of the lower bridge and narrowly escaped being run down by the steamer Undine when she arrived from Astoria. The pilot of the stern-wheeler failed to discover the ark until he was almost upon it.


Luckily for Mr. Garner, old Willamette does not believe in rushing things with the thermometer hovering about the 100 mark and hence the capture of the ark this morning was not half as sensational as the stranding of the original house that Noah built. By alternating with right and left swings when pounding boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom out of the big drum, Mr. Garner has developed a strength of arms remarkable and it was an easy matter for him to tow the runaway home into a place of safety at the foot of Alder street.




Although instinctively good natured, Mr. Garner was much wrought up over the incident. “I came home last night at 10 o’clock only to find no home,” he said while busy securing the house at its temporary berth. “The house has been moored at the east end of the Morrison street bridge for some time, but some one cut the cable last night and sent it adrift. I spent half the night searching the beach, but finally had to give up the job and went to a friends house to sleep. It made me happy when I saw my house in the middle of the harbor this morning, for it contains everything I have.”

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