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 17, 1906: Mrs. Creffield on Stand


Seattle Star 9/17/1906 p1

Mrs. Creffield on Stand

Makes a Complete Statement of Her Movements and Religious Tendencies.


The commission examining into the sanity of Mrs. Maud Creffield and Esther Mitchell, accused jointly of the killing of George Mitchell, resumed examinations this morning. Mrs. Creffield has been examined more closely today than at any time since the commission has been in session. Saturday night the two women were examined privately in the jail and today Mrs. Creffield is being questioned as to her religious beliefs and of her early childhood days.


Maud Creffield said she had always been of a very religious turn of mind. at the age of 8 she was an active worker in the Methodist church. When 14 she joined the Salvation Army, giving as her reason that she believed it would allow her a wider field in which to work.




Mrs. Creffield met Franz E. Creffield while in the Salvation Army. Later he spoke to her in private of his receiving the new divine, and that he was to be a spirit from God. He left the Army and began preaching his new belief. After hearing Creffield preach, she left the army and joined Creffield in January1904, and they were married.


The new church was then founded. There was to be no founder, as they claimed God was the head, but Creffield was the visible head, Mrs. Creffield the spiritual mother, and Esther Mitchell the spiritual God.


Will H. Morris was also examined a few moments this morning relative to the woman’s actions while he was acting as counsel for George Mitchell, Esther’s brother. The examination is continuing this afternoon.



Seattle Daily Times 9/17/1906 p4

Insanity Inquest Unfinished

Medical Commission Examines Mrs. Creffield at Length on Her Religious Experiences in Salvation Army.


Mrs. Maud Creffield was subjected this morning in the superior court to an extended examination as to her religious experiences and opinions by the medical commission appointed by Judge Frater to inquire into her alleged inanity. Mrs. Creffield declared that while a member of the Salvation Army her relations with the other members were pleasant. With the higher officers, however, she asserted she was not friendly, as they took offense at her criticisms of the methods by which the army collected subscriptions.


She said she also had trouble in the army by expressing her opinion that the army was teaching the Bible in a narrow manner. In July 1902, she heard the late Creffield preach in Portland and she was so impressed with his teachings that she left the army and joined him in “The Church.”


Will H. Morris, the local attorney, testified to conversations he had with Esther Mitchell. The girl’s indifference to what might be the result of her brother’s trial for murder and her refusal to aid the defense in any way were the salient facts brought out by the lawyers testimony.

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