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 6, 1906: Mitchell Boys in Drunken Row


Evening Telegram (Portland) 8/6/1906 p8

Mitchell Boys in Drunken Row

Brothers of Creffield’s Slayer Raised Rough House in North End.

Gave Police Fictitious Names When Taken to the City Jail.

Identity Revealed by Friend Who Took Part in the Disturbance.


Four men were arrested for creating a disturbance at Fifth and Burnside streets last night by Patrolmen Mallett and Humphrey. They gave the names of Ben Russell and Jim Smith. Failing to appear in the Police Court this morning, their bonds were declared forfeited by Judge Cameron.


To their complete surprise, the police learned this afternoon that “Ben Russell” is Perry Mitchell, and “Charles Russell” is Fred Mitchell, brothers of George Mitchell, who was shot and killed by his sister Esther in Seattle because he killed Edmund Creffield, the Holy Roller apostle.


The discovery of the identity of the Mitchell brothers came about in an unusual way. Nobody at police headquarters knew them when they were taken to the station, and their identity might have been forever hidden so far as police records are concerned had it not been for the appearance of a friend, who wanted to know what had befallen them.


When the friend arrived at the station he walked up to Desk Sergeant Anderson and Station Officer Price and asked them what had become of Fred and Perry Mitchell. Anderson looked at the arrest sheet and said that no such persons had been arrested.


“Oh yes, they were,” was the emphatic answer. “They were arrested in the North End last night for being drunk and disorderly.”


Inquiry was made as to who arrested them and the place. This led to the discovery that the Mitchell brothers had given fictitious names in order to conceal their identity.


“I was there when the arrests were made,” said the friend with a grin, “but managed to get out of the way myself. I saw them nabbed by the officers, however I supposed they would have sense enough to give other names.


The two brothers were in Seattle during the trial of George Mitchell on the charge of murdering Creffield. Fred Mitchell accompanied George Mitchell to the depot and was a witness to the murder of his brother by their sister, Esther. He caught his sister in his arms as she was about to fall after sending a bullet into the back of her brother’s head.


He came to this city with Perry Mitchell when the body of his brother was taken home for internment. Since that time, the two have been in Portland.



Evening Telegram (Portland) 8/7/1906 p9

Mitchell Denies Report of Fight


Fred Mitchell, a brother of George Mitchell, who was shot and killed by his sister, Esther, at Seattle, takes exception to the information furnished at police headquarters that he and his brother, Perry, engaged in a drunken row in the North End.


“There was no ‘rough house,’” he said. “We were all arrested, but Perry was released early the next morning for the reason that he was not intoxicated. It is true that my cousin and a friend and I had been drinking, but there was no row. Two of us were taking another man home and Perry was merely walking along with us. The two policemen, Mallett and Humphrey, would not listen to our assertion that we were only a block and a half from the room of the man who was drunk.



Newberg Graphic 8/9/1906 p8

Mitchell Boys Arrested

Brothers of George and Esther Found With Drunken Party.


Fred and Perry Mitchell, brothers of George and Esther Mitchell, the leading figures in the late Holy Roller murders at Seattle, were on Saturday night arrested for drunkenness in Portland and locked up in the police station over night. The Mitchell boys signed under assumed names of R. Russel and Charles Russel, respectively. With them were two friends, who also gave the assumed names of Jim Smith and Ben Russell. Perry Mitchell, or Charles Russell, as the police supposed his name to be, was released without being held for trial, as he was not intoxicated, the charge against him being late hours. the others of the party were held under bail to appear before Judge Cameron. When court time came none of the party appeared, and their bail was declared forfeited. The identity of the Mitchell boys was only discovered by chance, a friend inquiring for them at the station.


It has been stated that the boys were in a drunken row. This the Mitchell boys deny. The party, excepting Perry Mitchell, had been drinking, they declare, and they and their comrades were on the best of terms when taken into custody by Officer Mallett.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 8/6/1906 p11

W. A. Holzheimer Will Defend Mrs. Creffield


When Mrs. Maud Creffield comes up for trial some time in October she will be defended by W. A. Holzheimer. Although the fact was not given out for publication, Mr. Holzheimer has known for three weeks that he was to prepare for the defense.


Yesterday he began active work on the case, and called upon Mrs. Creffield for the first time.


The matter of choosing an attorney was left largely to the judgment of Morris & Shipley, the firm who defended George Mitchell. Mr. Hurt conceived a strong friendship for Mr. Morris at the time of the trial and has tried to get them to handle the case of his daughter, but they have positively declined to have more than a friendly interest in the case.


Mr. Holzheimer is reticent regarding the methods he will pursue in the defense of Mrs. Creffield.


“How does the defense of insanity strike you?” Mr. Holzheimer was asked.


“Nobody will ever guess what the defense will be in this case till it comes up for trial,” was the smiling reply.

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