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.

September 1, 1906: Four Charged with First Degree Now in County Jail


Seattle Daily Times 9/1/1906 p1

Criminal Court to be Busy

Number of Persons to be Tried for Felony Larger Than Ever Before--Several Protracted Trials for Fall Term.

Four Persons Charged with Murder in First Degree Now Confined in County Jail Awaiting Hearing by a Jury.


To dispose of the criminal cases on the trial calendar of the superior court within any reasonable period of time it will be necessary for two if not three of the superior court judges to devote their entire time to presiding over criminal trials. The term of the criminal court opens on September 4 will be the busiest ever held in King County. Never before have so many cases been on the calendar. In addition to the large number of cases several of them will result in protracted trials.


Four persons charged with murder are at the present time confined in the county jail awaiting trial. This is the largest number of persons ever housed with the grated cells of the jail awaiting trial for murder in the first degree. Three of these trials will be hard fought ones and will take much time.




These prisoners are Chester Thompson, Esther Mitchell, Maud Hurt Creffield and Mike Matteuse. The first three murder trials will be hard fought and will take at least three weeks each in the opinion of Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh. The Matteuse case is a simple one as the facts surrounding it are susceptible of easy proof.


Three of the slayers will set up insanity as a defense. Chester Thompson, the slayer of Judge G. Meade Emory, will be the first one of the persons charged with murder that will have to face a jury. Insanity will be his defense. The youthful slayer is under the daily observation of medical men who will try to convince a jury that he was mentally irresponsible when he killed on of Seattle’s leading and most popular lawyers. Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh believes that the trial of Thompson will take close to a month.


The trials of Mrs. Creffield and Esther Mitchell will each take at least three weeks. Their defense to the charge of murder for the killing of George Mitchell will be insanity. Each of the women has demanded separate trials, and one of them will be tried in October and the other in November. Difficulty is expected in the selection of a jury and the number of witnesses will make the trial a long and tedious one.




Mike Matteuse, who killed Mrs. Joseph Firpo during a house part at Ravensdale on August 18, will be the last of the prisoners charged with murder to face a jury. His case will occupy only a few days. The trial of William Cochrane, the wealthy rancher of the White River Valley, for the assault with intent to murder, growing out of the shooting and wounding of Thomas J. Sharkey, cannot be finished in less than ten days. The trial will be a spirited one and the wealthy defendant will not spare any effort to escape conviction.


Besides the prominent cases there are some thirty-five men to be tried for other felonies. although none of these cases will be protracted, taken together they will take months of the court’s time.



Seattle Star 9/8/1906 p1

Will be Tried Next Month.” 8 September 1906. p1.


Mrs. Creffield, charged with complicity in the murder of George Mitchell, will be tried early in October. This information was given out this morning. Attorney Baxter who is to act as her counsel, visited Mrs. Creffield this morning.



Daily Oregon Statesman (Salem) 9/9/1906 p10


New Church--Rev. A. S. Worrell of Louisville, Ky., will preach in the new church, corner of Fifteenth and Mill streets, at 11 o’clock a.m., and possibly at 8 p.m. We cordially invite Mt. Worrell’s many friends in the city to attend. W. N. McCandish, pastor.

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