(Editor’s note: This timeline accompanies the article Women’s Roles in Peoples Temple and Jonestown, both of which were originally published on the World Religions and Spirituality website. They are republished with permission.
1954: Jim Jones founded Community Unity Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1956: Peoples Temple, first incorporated in 1955 as Wings of Deliverance, opened in Indianapolis.
1960: People Temple officially became affiliated with the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church) denomination.
1962–1962: Jim Jones and family lived in Brazil.
1965 (July): Jones, his family, and more than eighty members of his interracial congregation moved to Redwood Valley, California.
1968: Carolyn Moore Layton moved with her husband Larry Layton to Redwood Valley.
1969: An extramarital relationship between Carolyn Layton and Jim Jones was disclosed to Moore family members.
1970: Grace Grech married Tim Stoen, Temple attorney and advisor to Jim Jones.
1971 (April): Tim Stoen asked Jim Jones to father a child by Stoen’s wife Grace Grech Stoen.
1971 (August): Deborah Layton, sister-in-law to Carolyn Layton and Ann Moore, joined Peoples Temple.
1972 (January 25): Grace Stoen gave birth to John Victor Stoen.
1972 (June): Ann (Annie) Moore, Carolyn Layton’s sister, joined Peoples Temple.
1972: Peoples Temple purchased church buildings in Los Angeles (September) and San Francisco (December).
1973 (?): Maria Katsaris joined Peoples Temple.
1974: Peoples Temple pioneers began clearing land in the Northwest District of Guyana, South America to develop the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project.
1975 (January 31): Carolyn Layton gave birth to Jim Jon (Kimo) Prokes, who was fathered by Jim Jones.
1975 (December): Al and Jeannie Mills, Peoples Temple defectors, founded the Human Freedom Center.
1976 (February): Peoples Temple signed a lease with the Government of Guyana “to cultivate and beneficially occupy at least one-fifth” of 3,852 acres located in the Northwest District of Guyana.
1976 (July 4): Grace Grech Stoen defected from Peoples Temple with Walter Jones (no relation to Jim Jones’ family), leaving her son John Victor Stoen in the care of Maria Katsaris.
1977 (June): Tim Stoen left Peoples Temple.
1977 (Summer): Approximately 1,000 Peoples Temple members moved to Jonestown in a three-month period.
1977 (Summer): Tim Stoen and Al and Jeannie Mills organized the “Concerned Relatives,” an activist group of apostates and family members that urged government agencies and media outlets to investigate Peoples Temple.
1977 (August): New West Magazine published an exposé of life inside Peoples Temple based upon apostate accounts.
1977 (August 11): Grace Stoen filed for custody of John Victor Stoen, in divorce proceedings initiated against her husband Timothy Stoen.
1977 (September): A “six-day-siege” staged by Jim Jones and accomplices occurred in Jonestown during which residents believed they were under attack when an attorney for Grace and Tim Stoen attempted to serve a California custody order on Jim Jones in Jonestown.
1978 (April 11): “Accusation of Human Rights Violations” was filed by Concerned Relatives organization against Jim Jones. Included was ex-member Yulanda Crawford’s account of life in Jonestown.
1978 (May 13): Deborah Layton defected from Jonestown.
1978 (October): Teresa (Teri) Buford defected from Jonestown.
1978 (November 17): California Congressman Leo J. Ryan, members of the Concerned Relatives, and members of the media visited Jonestown.
1978 (November 18): Ryan, three journalists (Robert Brown, Don Harris, and Greg Robinson) and one Peoples Temple member (Patricia Parks) were killed by young men from Jonestown in an ambush of gunfire at the Port Kaituma airstrip, six miles from Jonestown, as they were attempting to board aircraft headed for Georgetown. After the assault at the airstrip more than 900 residents, following the orders of Jones, ingested poison in the Jonestown pavilion. At least one woman, Christine Miller, argued with Jim Jones about killing the children. Others, including Leslie Wagner-Wilson, escaped the deaths by pretending to go on a picnic or, in the case of elderly Hyacinth Thrash, was asleep and went unnoticed. Marceline Jones died of poison, while Jim Jones died of a gunshot wound to the head. Ann Moore also died of a gunshot wound to the head. Carolyn Layton and Maria Katsaris died by taking poison. In Georgetown, Guyana, Temple member Sharon Amos killed her three children and herself.