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 15, 1906: Mrs. Creffield’s Trial Set for Next Month




Seattle Daily Times 9/15/1906

Sets Creffield Case for Trial in October


Oregon Daily Journal (Portland) 9/16/1906 p14

Mrs. Creffield’s Trial Set for Next Month


Judge Frater, Upon Motion of Prosecuting Attorney, Fixes Date When Woman Shall Face Jury.


Judge Frater this morning set the case of Mrs. Maud Hurt Creffield, charged jointly with Esther Mitchell with murder in the first degree, for trial on October 12. Although the insanity commission that is now examining into the woman’s alleged insanity has not completed its labors, Prosecuting Attorney Mackintosh wished the case to be set down for trial.


Esther Mitchell’s trial has already been set for September 24. The prosecuting attorney will demand that the women be tried, even should the commission find them to be insane.



Seattle Star 9/15/1906 p1

Trial Set for Mrs. Creffield


Mrs. Maud Creffield, who is to be tried separately from Esther Mitchell, but charged jointly with the killing of George Mitchell, is to be on trial October 12 before Judge Frater, providing the medical commission now making the examination of the women does not find her insane.


The commission is in session this afternoon, but is being conducted behind closed doors.





Seattle Post Intelligencer 9/15/1906 p5

Secret Sessions in Mitchell Case


Corvallis Gazette 9/18/1906 p1

Secret Sessions in Mitchell Case


Commission Inquires Concerning Practices of Holy Rollers. Prosecutor is Examined. Physicians Who May Testify in Murder Trial Later Are Questioned.


The hearing of the insanity commission in the Creffield-Mitchell examination was yesterday held behind closed doors for the most part and not even the attorneys interested in the proceedings were admitted. O. V. Hurt, the father of Mrs. Creffield, and his son, Frank Hurt, were examined for some time. The result was shown later in the trial of the case, when questions were asked other witnesses.


During the afternoon a second closed door session was held, when Dr. John B. Loughary was examined. In the evening the physicians once more held their session alone, for another physician, Dr. Nicholson, was examined.




The most important witness during the morning was John F. Miller, deputy prosecuting attorney. He related without interruption the conversations that he has had since coming in contact with the two women in his official position, bringing out the love they show for each other and the inattention which Esther Mitchell is declared to have said her brothers gave her.


He had learned, he said, the Esther had shot her brother partly on account of the killing of Creffield and partly on account of the statements made by George Mitchell after his arrest for the murder of the Holy Roller leader when he gave his reasons for the act. He said the girl had told him that George Mitchell was an immoral man, her brother Fred was addicted to the use of liquor and that she had never been able to get on with her father and stepmother, and so did not care to live with them.


The women, continued Mr. Miller, had always been reticent about their creed. They seemed to believe in a life after death. He declared his disbelief in the assertions that there were immoral practices concerned in the religion. He admitted that the letter written by Esther Mitchell at the time she was in the home in Portland might bespeak a diseased mind. [(Corvallis Gazette) He declared his disbelief in the immoral procedures alleged to have been indulged in by the followers of Creffield, but said that if such practices were carried on they were certainly unusual and irrational.]




During the morning Mr. Hurt and his son were examined carefully. Their testimony concerned the alleged practices indulged in by the Holy Rollers. According to their declarations these were even more vicious and immoral than the former reports have made them. [(Corvallis Gazette) According to the witnesses the exercises were far more vile than would be gathered even from the reports that have gone out.] Mr. Hurt, Sr., said it was one of the beliefs of the church that Creffield was to be martyred and would be shot, and further that one of the members would be called to avenge his death. He also made the statement that there have been several cases of insanity in his family.


During the morning session Chief of Police Wappenstein was called with a number of his officers. Chief Wappenstein verified the statement made by Mrs. Creffield after the shooting of George Mitchell, as published in the Post-Intelligencer, and also that made by Esther Mitchell at the same time. The statements were further verified by Detective Frank Kennedy, who had taken them in short hand. George Brown, Capt. Sullivan and J. L. Barck, other members of the city force, were also examined. The admitted that the case stands out prominently among other criminal cases that have come under their attention because of the coolness of the women. The only indication of either of them having been nervous was related by Officer Brown, who arrested Mrs. Creffield on Broadway. He declared that while bringing her to the station she was continually looking about her. Later she told him she feared she might be killed by some of Mitchell’s relatives.




Dr. Bories was called. He had attended Creffield after the man had been shot down by Mitchell, and Mrs. Creffield was present with the body when he arrived. He declared she showed no sign of sorrow, but that when he pronounced the man dead, she said he was not dead but would rise again in a few hours. E. O. Kelsey, a reporter, was called later in the day and he recited his experiences with the two women after the shooting of Mitchell.


It was stated on Thursday night that Mrs. O. V. Hurt had arrived from Corvallis in response to the telegram sent her, but yesterday it materialized that the shock of the announcement of the examination proved to be more than she could endure, and she collapsed. If she is brought here now it will be necessary for attendants to accompany her, for she is very low.


The physicians declared yesterday that they may not be able to finish their work before the fist of next week.





Seattle Post Intelligencer 9/16/1906 p7

Insanity Hearing May Close Monday


Corvallis Gazette 9/18/1906 p1

Insanity Hearing May Close Monday

Examination of Mrs. Creffield and Esther Mitchell by Commission Next Move.


The hearing of Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Maud Creffield, which is being conducted in the superior court by a commission to determine the question of the sanity of the women, will probably be concluded on Monday. It is not likely that the physicians will be ready to make their report to the court until later in the week. One of the members said yesterday that the testimony will be in by Monday night, and that the commission will then go over the transcribed copy of the proceedings and determine the mental condition of the women.


Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Miller stated some days ago that he desired to introduce evidence in rebuttal when the physicians had finished their examinations, and it is expected that other of the attorneys interested may also wish to take the same step. According to statements of the members of the commission this will be allowed if requested.


At the session of the board yesterday, Jailers Thomas Smith and Larsen, of the county jail, were called. They told of the conduct of the two women since their incarceration, and both declared their belief in the sanity of the prisoners. They said, however, that both Esther Mitchell and Mrs. Creffield acted unlike any other prisoners they had ever had to deal with. Police Officer Mason, of the city force, was also examined. He made the arrest of Esther Mitchell after the shooting of her brother. His testimony was along the same lines as that given by other officers of the force, and nothing new was developed.


Following the adjournment of the board the examiners paid a visit to the two women in their quarters in the county jail. There they found the little cell as clean as it can be kept, with white linen on the cot, clean towels and handkerchiefs and other necessary articles hung about the place. For a long time the physicians talked with the women, letting the conversation drift from one topic to another, frequently asking questions of a personal nature. The visit was made especially for the purpose of learning the general habits and condition of the women and the manner in which they cared for themselves in their temporary home.


On Monday the commission will examine the women, and it is intended to devote the entire day to this part of the program. One of the prisoners will be heard during the morning session and the other during the afternoon, and they will not be allowed to see or converse with each other during the day, or until the examination of both is concluded. Unless it is found necessary to call Mrs. O. V. Hurt from her home to be examined, the hearing will end so far as the commission is concerned, on Monday evening, or at the conclusion of the examination of the women.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 9/16/1906 p7

Creffield Murder Trial on Oct. 22

Cochran Assault Case and Marfaudilli Hearing Are Also Assigned.


If the commission now occupied in examining into the sanity of Mrs. Maud Hurt Creffield finds that the woman is not mentally unbalanced, she will be tried on a charge of murder in the first degree on October 22. The charge is the result of the shooting of George Mitchell by his sister, Esther, at the Union station, July 12. The woman is implicated in the crime through statements she made after the tragedy in which she declared she had intended to do the deed herself, but did not have the opportunity and so allowed the young girl to act. The date for the trial of Esther Mitchell has not yet been set.


The first of the more interesting cases that are to be heard during the fall term of the criminal court, is that of William Cochrane, a pioneer settler of the county, charged with assault with intent to kill Thomas J. Sharkey, a pioneer neighbor. This will be heard on October 1. The information charging Cochrane with the crime sets out that he shot Sharkey three time through the body, inflicting wounds from which the man came very near dying. Both of the parties are well known throughout the county, and each is now asking damages of the other for personal injuries. Cochrane alleges that Sharkey assaulted him with a pitchfork.


On October 8, the hearing of Julius Marfaudilli will be had. He is charged with murder in the second degree. The information states that he set a trap in a trunk in a lodging house in Seattle and that while his landlady, Mrs. Bailey, was attempting to lift the trunk lid the gun exploded, killing her. The defendant was brought into court to enter his plea to the charge preferred against him, but was not allowed to do so on account of a motion to make the information more plain which is now under advisement. He will plead on Tuesday, at which time the decision of the court will be made.




Charles Riley, found guilty a few days ago of robbery, was arraigned to receive sentence. A strong plea was made to the (the rest of the article was cut off)

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