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.

November 19, 1906: Reviews Findings in Examination of Brain


Edmund & Maud Creffield GravesSeattle Post Intelligencer 11/19/1906 p5

Gives Opinion on Creffield Autopsy

Dr. J. H. Snively, Alienist, Reviews Findings in Examination of Brain.


Dr. J. H. Snively, a member of the commission which examined Mrs. Maud Creffield as to her sanity, in reviewing the results of the autopsy said last evening:

Sometimes in cases of insanity there occur adhesions between the membrane of the brain and certain parts of the brain itself. These have often been found as a cause of mental aberration, as have also pressure symptoms and degeneration of brain matter. These latter conditions are not apparent to the naked eye and must be found through the microscope. And so far as I am aware no such minute examination was conducted in the instance of this autopsy.


“In this particular case it was noted that there were adhesions between the durameter and the brain over the parietal lobe, and also adhesions in the middle fissures. Not only that, but there was also an area of congestion over the floor of the fourth ventricle in the medulla oblongata. This congestion might be the result of uraemic poisoning or other toxic conditions due to taking poisons in the stomach. The only things we can say that have any relation to insanity are the adhesions of the membranes to the brain, and these were found in the examination of Mrs. Creffield’s brain, as were also the congestions.


“Degeneration in her case would not easily be found, for the disease could only be in its early stages and undoubtedly difficult to detect.”



Seattle Post Intelligencer 11/19/1906 p16

O. V. Hurt Arrives From Corvallis

Father of Mrs. Ida M. Creffield Here to Arrange for the Funeral.


O. V. Hurt, father of Mrs. Ida Maud Creffield, arrived in Seattle yesterday from his home at Corvallis. He went at once to the Bonney-Watson morgue to view the remains of his dead daughter. He was accompanied by his 18-year-old daughter.


No arrangements for the funeral of the dead woman have been made further than to decide that the body will be buried in Seattle. The funeral services will probably be held either this afternoon or tomorrow. Mr. Hurt said at the funeral parlors that it had been the express wish of his daughter that her body be buried in Seattle if she did not live to go back to her home in Oregon. The father is very positive that his daughter died a natural death and did not take poison. “The mistakes she made were innocent ones,” he said.


Coroner Carroll has not yet received a report on the chemical analysis of the contents of Mrs. Creffield’s stomach, and the examination will not be completed until this evening.


O. V. Hurt announced yesterday that the funeral services for Mrs. Creffield would be strictly private and expressed himself as being very thankful that the morbidly curious public was not allowed to see the body.



Seattle Daily Times 11/19/1906 p7

Esther Mitchell Breaks Down at Funeral

Slayer of Brother Weeps Bitterly as She Stands at Bier of Her Companion-in-Crime, Maud Creffield.

Girl Exhibits Her First Real Grief.

Simple Services Held Over Woman Who Died Suddenly in County Jail While Awaiting Trial for Murder.


For the first time since the unexpected death of her bosom friend and companion-in-crime, Esther Mitchell this morning broke down and wept like a child at the bier of Maud Creffield, widow of the leader of the notorious Holy Rollers and the woman who planned the killing of George Mitchell, who sent Joshua Creffield to his grave.


A simple though impressive funeral service was held at the Bonney-Watson Company chapel for Mrs. Creffield today. It was at the end of this service when the handful of friends and relatives of the dead woman were asked to take their final leave that Esther Mitchell stepped in front of the neat, but inexpensive casket containing the body of Mrs. Creffield, and bowing over the glass enclosure, looked pitifully for a moment on the dead face and wept loudly.


This girl, who at the instigation and request of Maud Creffield, shot and killed her brother George Mitchell, said nothing. she gazed steadfastly at the casket a moment and then burst into tears crying loudly, but never uttering an audible word. Here eyes were for awhile so steadily fixed on the corpse that they seemed to be glued there. After a time she was led away to a carriage in waiting and returned to the county jail.



Seattle Star 11/19/1906 p3

Mrs. Creffield Laid to Rest


Funeral services for the late Mrs. Maud Creffield were held this morning at 11 o’clock at the undertaking rooms of Bonney Watson. By the wishes of her father O. V. Hurt, who arrived in Seattle yesterday from Corvallis, the services were strictly private. Burial was made in Seattle in accordance with the express wish of Mrs. Creffield near the grave of her husband.


The coroner’s report on the autopsy held over the body of Mrs. Creffield has not yet been sent in. coroner Carroll is awaiting the result of the chemical analysis of the stomach.


Esther Mitchell, the girl-murderess of George Mitchell, her brother, was given permission by order from Judge Frater of the superior court, to attend the funeral of Mrs. Maud Creffield, the woman whose hypnotic power over her it is alleged, drove her to her crime. The girl left the county jail shortly before 11 o’clock in the custody of Police Matron Kelly and Deputy Sheriff John C. Liner (illegible). Miss Mitchell spent the greater part of this morning in tears, and refused to be comforted.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 11/22/1906 p4

Holy Roller Leader Buried Beside Wife

Body of Franz Edmund Creffield Exhumed in Lake View Cemetery.


The body of Franz Edmund Creffield, better known to that peculiar sect of worshipers known as the “Holy Rollers” as “Joshua,” was yesterday exhumed in Lake View cemetery and his remains laid beside those of his wife, Ida Maud Creffield, who committed suicide in the county jail last Friday night.


It was her wish that when she died the body of her husband be laid beside her own and that wish was carried out.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 11/20/1906 p10

Funeral Held to Late Mrs. Creffield

Esther Mitchell Breaks Down at the Bier of Her Dead Companion.


But a few relatives of Mrs. Ida Maud Creffield sat in the chapel of Bonney-Watson Company yesterday, when Rev. W. J. Wilson preached the short funeral sermon over her remains. The curious public was excluded, and the members of the family who loved the widow of the Holy Roller leader despite her association with the self-styled “Joshua,” mourned at her bier.


Esther Mitchell, who is held in the county jail charged with the murder of George Mitchell, the slayer of Creffield, was allowed to attend the funeral. she was escorted to the chapel by a deputy sheriff.


She broke down and wept bitterly when she looked upon the face of the woman who had been her companion through all the dark days following the Holy Roller tragedies. She gazed at the cold, set, features for a minute, then sank to her knees and tears rolled down her pale, drawn cheeks. She was then led away to the waiting carriage and taken back to her cell.


The body was buried in Lake View cemetery. Two lots have been purchased, and the body of the Holy Roller leader will soon rest beside that of his wife.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 11/20/1906 p10

Decided Change in Esther Mitchell

Since Companion's Death, Girl is Nervous, Dejected and Tearful.


Since the death of Mrs. Maud Creffield a decided change has become noticeable in the girl, Esther Mitchell, held in the county jail for the murder of her brother last July. While she was, up to the time her companion was taken away, stoical, calm and collected at all times, she is now in an entirely different mood.


She occupies a cell near the jailer’s quarters and remains in her couch during the hours of the day and night. Few visitors are seen, and for these she has no welcome. For a time she even refused to seen anyone, but her immediate friends and relatives, but admitted a Post-Intelligencer reporter yesterday. She had little to say, however, and showed plainly that she feels the loss of the friend who has been with her through all of their mutual troubles.


Upon her return to her cell yesterday, after attending the funeral of Mrs. Creffield, the girl took to her bed again. She is extremely nervous and starts up with wide-open eyes when anyone enters her cell. She was dejected and on the verge of tears during the entire day. Esther refuses to talk of her case and shows no interest in the question of her deportation or trial which is now being considered by the Supreme Court.


Police Matron Kelly spends considerable time with the girl, and Esther declares she appreciates this greatly. During the nights one of the women inmates of the jail is placed in the cell with her, partly as a means of prevention in case the girl should be tempted to suicide and partly for the company it will afford her in her nervous condition.



Seattle Post Intelligencer 11/20/1906 p14

Special Notices--Deaths and Funerals

CREFELD--Funeral services for Ida Maud Crefeld were held at the parlors of Bonney-Watson Co. yesterday at 11 a. m. Interment at Lake View cemetery.



Corvallis Gazette 11/23/1906 p1

Her Funeral

Mrs. Maud Creffield at Rest--The Services Were Private.


The funeral of the late Maud Hurt-Creffield was held in Seattle Monday. The services were attended by none save members of the family who were in the city. Mrs. Creffield was 25 years of age and resided for many years in Corvallis. The Oregonian gives the following concerning the funeral:

For the first time since the unexpected death of Mrs. Creffield, Esther Mitchell this morning broke down and wept like a child at the bier of the widow of the leader of the notorious Holy Rollers. The funeral was held at the Bonney Watson Company’s chapel for Mrs. Creffield. It was at the end of this service, when a handful of friends and relatives of the dead woman were asked to take their final leave, that Esther Mitchell stepped to the casket and bowing wept.


Behind Esther Mitchell were O. V. Hurt, father of Maud Creffield, Mae Hurt, her sister, Frank Hurt, her brother, and Mrs. Frank Hurt. In another part of the room were Attorneys W. H. Morris and s. M. Shipley, who represented George Mitchell at his trial for the killing of Joshua Creffield, and Attorney Holzheimer, attorney for Esther Mitchell. There was no music and few flowers.


“Coroner Carroll has not yet received a report of the chemical analysis of the contents of Mrs. Creffield’s stomach, and the examination will not be completed until this evening. Hurt announced that the funeral services for Mrs. Creffield would be strictly private, and expressed himself as being very thankful that the morbidly curious public were not allowed to see the body.

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