Band Member Profiles

by Tom Graddon

(Tom Graddon is a native of the United Kingdom, where he obtained an undergraduate and masters degree in Law from Aberystwyth University. Tom has written previously on criminal and constitutional law and works primarily in police station advocacy and mediation. His interest in Jonestown surrounds the community’s musical contributions and influences. He can be contacted at

Vocals were most frequently performed by Marthea Hicks and Deanna Wilkinson. Garry ‘Poncho’ Johnson would frequently perform where a male lead was necessary and others would also perform, possibly according to a fluid management of the band or a rotation system overseen by the ACAOs. An unknown male performs Maze’s Golden Time of Day (1978) on Q438, and on Q723’s Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (Joe Tex, 1977) an unknown female performs the vocals, although it is likely based on comparisons with other tracks that the vocalist here is Ollie Smith.

Below is a list of those who were or are believed to have been involved in the Express:

Name Date of Birth Entry into Guyana
GARRY ‘PONCHO’ JOHNSON 10/05/1955 06/12/1976
OLLIE SMITH 06/11/1959 23/02/1978
MARTHEA HICKS 22/05/1935 07/01/1978
SHIRLEY HICKS 14/03/1943 23/09/1977
LORETTA CORDELL 08/11/1937 04/08/1977
DIANNA WILKINSON 19/10/1950 19/02/1978
(PIERRE) BRIAN BOUQUET 20/07/1953 11/03/1978
ROBERT E DAVIS 27/04/1936 07/01/1978
LEW ERIC JONES 23/11/1956 29/03/1977
THOMAS (TOMMY)  JOHNSON 08/11/1956 11/01/1975
PETER HOLMES 31/07/1932 27/03/1978
DON SCHEID 22/07/1961 28/04/1977
JEROME RHEA JR 30/03/1952 15/03/1978
KENNARD WILHITE 25/08/1952 15/03/1978
OLIVER MORGAN JR 05/09/1949 15/03/1978
CLIFFORD GIEG u/k (aged 18 in 1978) 28/04/1977
WILLIE MALONE 14/11/1963 29/05/1977
BERTHA COOK 12/12/1912 10/08/1977

Deanna Wilkinson
Deanna Wilkinson was born in Cook County, Illinois on 19th October 1950. Lacking parental guidance and security in her childhood, she turned to drugs and prostitution early before finding purpose in the Peoples Temple, saying at one stage that Jonestown was “the only place that I have found that freedom and opportunity to become somebody in my life.”[1]

She arrived in Guyana on 19th February 1978 and was assigned to Edith Roller’s cottage. This is evidenced from the entry in the Roller diaries for 28th February, the date that Deanna arrived at Jonestown from Georgetown, when she states that she “had known through Diane that Diana (sic) Wilkinson was going to be in our cottage.”

Having only been in Georgetown for a few days prior to her transfer to Jonestown, it is evident that Deanna made a name for herself in Guyana’s capital. On 25th February at a Peoples’ Rally, Jones reported to the group that she had “made a big hit singing in churches, and also in a nightclub.”[2] Her passion for music was evidently one that she exercised often, and which would provide Jonestown with a valuable public-relations boost in their host country.

Once in Jonestown, Deanna is named by Edith Roller as a performer on five separate occasions between February and May 1978. On 15th May 1978 Deanna made a complaint about the band to Jones during a Peoples’ Rally. She says that band members had been dancing and talking with local Guyanese after performances in Georgetown.

From Ms Roller’s diary entry for that date it appears that Deanna was frustrated that the band would peel off after performances to dance with locals, and she argues that they should go directly to their dressing rooms. There was also some discussion over whether the band ought to play US popular music or reggae. Due to the latter being associated with cannabis, it appeared that Deanna was arguing that, despite reggae’s’ perhaps more traditional ‘afro’ roots, the negative connotations of drug use would not be helpful if the same association came to be made with the band, and therefore the Peoples Temple itself.

As well as performing regularly for the Express, Deanna also appeared on the Temple’s 1973 album He’s Able. Not only did she sing, she played the piano alongside Loretta Cordell who had been playing for the Temple in California for some years.

Deanna was also romantically involved with Loretta, who took her surname on some of Jonestown’s records. It is certainly the case that both Loretta and Deanna travelled with Jones from Indiana to California together. Deanna had previously been in a relationship with Barbara Simon, another Temple member who also moved to Guyana to live in Jonestown. Whether her relationship with Simon was prior to or coterminous with her relationship with Loretta is unknown. Edith Roller records in her journal that Loretta and Deanna moved into Loretta’s cottage together on 6th March 1978.

Sadly, a number of tracks performed by Deanna Wilkinson are lost to history including a recital of a track titled 1981 performed on March 14th and another titled Isn’t She Lovely originally released by Stevie Wonder in 1976 performed at the March 17th Peoples’ Rally. Her versions of Summertime (and the Living is Easy) and Guyana is So Beautiful, also performed on that date, do however exist although these versions are doubtless from other occasions.

Shirley and Marthea Hicks

Shirley Hicks and her sister Marthea were both members of the Express, although it was Marthea who more often took the spotlight. Both originally from Detroit, Michigan, Shirley was born on 22nd May 1935 and was 8 years older than her sister. They were both musicians and strong personalities in the Express.

Marthea’s musical ability was frequently lauded by those who heard her. On February 26th 1978 she is reported to have “made a big hit” at the PNC Convention at Port Kaituma. According to Edith Roller she was both singer and band director, presumably the latter being a joint role with her sister.[3]

Marthea is notable for her vocals on the more powerful tracks, such as Strong, Gifted and Black and I’ll Make the First Step, a rousing original composition about two people supporting each other on a journey:

I’ll make the first step
And you can make the next
We’ll join hands the farther we go

Shirley meanwhile was responsible for the arrangement of the band, and in the few film recordings that exist of the Express inperformance, she can be seen behind Deanna Wilkinson conducting the wind and percussion sections.

From January 28th, Shirley had taken a directorial role in the nascent Express, and is reported to have been in charge of some entertainment on that date. Further interaction with Ms Roller in her capacity as a teacher continues through the course of “1978, and Shirley seems to be a helpful authority figure that Edith comes to rely upon in certain situations to deal with unruly children. On 5th June Shirley acted as an observer in Edith’s class, and having noted some unacceptable behaviour, “spoke sharply to the students”.

Her leadership role was hardly therefore limited to the Express and Shirley was seemingly keen to take on responsibility. On May 30th 1978 she is suspected of writing a report on band “offences” while on tour around Georgetown and other places. Notably she writes-up her bandmates for having “accepted an alcoholic beverage at the home of a Guyana national who entertained them.”

Accepting the hospitality of one’s host would hardly, one would think, qualify as a crime of note, but it would seem that Shirley was a stickler not only for the rules but also for good behaviour whether out on tour or at home in Jonestown. This was therefore perhaps a liberty too far in Shirley’s view for the young band members, especially those such as Willie Malone who frequently found himself in trouble for one violation or another. Given his age, (15 in 1978), Shirley may have been simply concerned that he or other younger members of the Express may have been drinking alcohol while underage.

She also appears to have been a balancing force for the two other powerful personalities in the Express: her sister Marthea and Deanna Wilkinson. In the same 30th May report she writes of a rivalry and lack of cooperation between the two while performing in Georgetown and other towns in Guyana. It is noteworthy that such personality clashes took place, as both Marthea and Shirley were experienced musicians and should, perhaps, have been deferred to as authorities in the band.

Additionally, this anecdote also demonstrates that the band was also, to an extent, “on tour” around Guyana and their activities were not simply limited to Jonestown and Georgetown.

Garry ‘Poncho’ Johnson

Garry Dartez ‘Poncho’ Johnson is confirmed featuring as lead vocalist on the track Float On (Q174), originally released by The Floaters in 1977, when whilst ad-libbing, he sings

Float with Poncho!
Float on, float on

He is also attributed to the track The Greatest Love of All on Q174 when Marceline Jones states, “[t]hanks for that song, Poncho. It’s beautiful. It’s one of my favorite songs.”

Poncho appears to have taken an occasional role as master of ceremonies during Express performances. He can be heard at the end of Our Love (Q174) saying “one more time for Ollie Smith, ah yeah. Woo! Right on!” Again, on Q723, he invites the audience to applaud “one more time for miss unforgettable, Marthea.”

He was born in Louisiana on 5th October 1959 and arrived in Jonestown on 16th December 1976. He is recorded as working on the daytime internal security team, and this is confirmed in the journals of Edith Roller who reported on 30th April 1978 that he sometimes takes extra food from the kitchen, believing he is entitled to as a member of security:

“She [Kay Rosas] told me the young men in security take special privileges, getting extra food, at night from the kitchen.  Poncho (Garry) Johnson is the worst and he has a weight problem.  I suspect this may be true.”

Poncho was also seemingly the recipient of extra food as Edith Roller reports that Mary Rodgers, another resident who had received four doughnuts, had given “two to Poncho and another to a friend.”[4]

The Roller diary also points to an incident which precipitated Poncho’s journey to Jonestown on Jones’ orders, on 1st December 1976 when he is reported to have struck a female. As punishment:

“Jim orders him not to raise ever his voice, raise $200 and fight.  His mom, Mary Johnson, says before she got a job, these children had it too damn easy.  Jim says how he reacts to this tonight will determine your fate.  At one point during the fight his mom got into it.  Several fighters sent against Poncho.  Gave him a trouncing.  Poncho said he was compensating for his homosexuality.”

Loretta Cordell

Loretta Cordell was born on the 11th August 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana and was 41 in November 1978. Married to Harold Cordell, her personal life was complicated by her bisexuality, evidenced by the same-sex relationship she struck up with Deanna Wilkinson, with whom she lived for a period during her time in Jonestown.

Loretta had joined the church when it had still been based in Indiana, and she and her family had followed Jones to Redwood Valley, California. In that time she had five children: two boys, Christopher and Jimmy Joe; and three girls, Cindy, Candy and Mabel Joy.

Between moving to California and her eventual transition to Guyana, Loretta’s marriage to Harold Cordell was fraught. According to Denise Davenport, a close family friend of the Cordells, “By 1969, Loretta and Harold were having some serious marital difficulties, with arguments lasting for days. They would end only when Loretta left the house and stayed away for three to four days at a time…”[5]

In conversation with Davenport, Loretta herself offered up some explanation for her marital problems. Davenport states that “around 1972, during one of our few real conversations, Loretta confided in me that she did not think that men really understood the needs and desires of women, or at least that Harold never really understood her. She said that she had always felt that there was something missing [in her relationship].”[6]

As mentioned above, Loretta was romantically involved with Deanna Wilkinson, the principal vocalist for the Express. They bunked together in Jonestown and shared time at rehearsal as well as time on stage. It is alleged by one source that this relationship was struck up well in advance of Loretta’s transition to Jonestown. It is very likely therefore that Loretta’s marital friction was borne out of her own crisis of sexual identity. It is of note however that despite their marital problems and her apparent bisexuality, Loretta remained married to Harold Cordell, even upon their emigration to Guyana in 1977.

She is best known within the Temple as the keyboardist at meetings of the Church on Wednesdays in the San Francisco Temple, as well as having made a significant contribution to the album He’s Able.

Her occupation is listed by the PT variously as an accountant, bookkeeper and typist, and in the US had also worked as a piano teacher, but on arrival in Guyana she played a pivotal role in the Jonestown Express.

(Pierre) Brian Bouquet

Brian was the son of a Burlingame school-teacher and was born on 20th July 1953 in Ford Ord, California. He was 25 in November 1978.

In his younger years he attended both Mills and Sierra High Schools, during which time he spent some short time inside a youth correctional facility. After high school, his motivation toward social justice and to fight against racism brought him into the Peoples Temple’s sphere of influence.

He played the saxophone both before and after joining the Temple. According to a personal friend, “Brian got into playing the sax late at night in punk meets John Coltrane style. It was pretty amazing stuff because he did it in this large hallway stairs that created great echo.”[7]

An enthusiastic sax player, Brian arrived in Guyana on 11th March 1978 and is listed as working both in construction and as a musician in the Temple’s occupation records. Additional to this, on 21st March 1978, during a People’s Rally, Edith Roller states that due to Mike Lund, another Jonestown resident, having a perceived attitude problem in relation to his work as a crop-sprayer, his role on the spraying team was taken from him and given to Brian. It is unclear whether this duty to the spraying team predated his taking up work as a woodshop carpenter, as recorded on the Jonestown schedule of roles recovered from the settlement in 1978.

Brian’s only other mention in the diaries of Edith Roller is on 7th June 1978 when she mentions that Brian and another, Robert Paul, were raised in discussion of the Womens’ Meeting for not going to an Open House for the presentation of work by the children of Jonestown. According to records held by Alternative Considerations, while in Jonestown Brian was involved romantically with a woman called Claudia Jo Norris. No record exists of his having fathered any children with Claudia, but this entry seems to indicate that they did indeed have at least one child.

Mike Cartmell, who prior to his split from the Temple in February 1977 also played saxophone for the Temple band in California and on the album He’s Able, recognised his own Selmer Mark Six in Brian’s possession in a photograph taken in Jonestown of the band in performance.

Robert (Bob) Edwin Davis

Robert Davis was born in Pasco, Washington on 27th April 1936 and was 42 years old in November 1978. Pasco is a broadly centrist, left-leaning community that was not a so-called “sundown town”[8] but in the 1950s and 60s was still possessed of strong segregationist and racist tendencies. This backdrop of racial inequality would serve as an ideal setting for developing integrationist and liberal attitudes and Bob appears to have fallen into those views, attracting him to the Temple.

Having graduated from Washington State University with a degree in music, he seems a more than appropriate fit for the Express.The band did not, so far as the author is aware, have music and did not write their arrangements, but instead would play covers of tracks by-ear. In this, Bob Davis would have been a very useful contributor alongside Shirley Hicks, having as he did a grounding in musical theory and practice.

As with the other members, Robert was also engaged with work outside of the Express. He is listed in the Jonestown Roles Schedule as working as a woodshop carpenter alongside Brian Bouquet. Bob played the saxophone, as did Brian, and so they would have had ample time to speak about musical performances and styles.

Bob is recorded to have had a child, Brian Davis, and according to Jonestown records struck up a relationship with Marthea Hicks. When this relationship began is unclear as he stated to Edith Roller in March of 1978 that “he was a person who had always sought a companion.”[9] The implication therein being that he did not have a companion at the time of his making that statement. It is also of note that at least from August 15th 1978 Marthea was romantically involved with Chris Lund, as Edith Roller notes that the pair move in together to the loft of her cottage.[10]

Bob had only been in Guyana since the 7th January 1978, a relative newcomer with the others during the later exodus of temple members in the face of press controversy in California. Despite this, he appears by early March to have adapted to jungle life, and had taken to learning some of the rainforest biology, commenting to Edith Roller on one occasion that “a characteristic of the bush is that different kinds of trees grow all together.”

On the back of population pressure in Jonestown as a result of the exodus, Bob had taken up an offer made by Jones that any person who constructs their own house may live in it, and set to work constructing his own dwelling near the row of cottages occupied by Edith Roller. This house was to be shared by another, unnamed couple.

Bob played frequently with the Express, and can be seen on a number of recordings and in photographs in the wind section, conducted by Shirley Hicks.

Thomas (Tommy) Johnson

Tommy Johnson was born in Austin, Texas on 8th November 1956 and was 22 in November 1978. He arrived on 11th January 1975, and was 19 years old when he arrived. His mother, Clara, was also a Temple member who perished in Jonestown along with his three sisters, 16 year old Gwendolyn, 18 year old Janice who was also married to Stanley Clayton, and 19 year old Willa.

Little information survives in relation to Tommy Johnson. He is recorded in Edith Roller’s journal as having on 4th February 1978 secured a quantity of coffee trees at no cost, which were to be transferred to Jonestown in an effort to diversify their crops.

The next reference Roller makes to Tommy is on 12th August 1978, when she records Jones ruminating during a People’s Rally on the decision he made to send him to Jonestown in the first place, almost three years prior.

Tommy was the electric guitarist for the Express and features on most, if not all, of the tracks recorded in Jonestown, underlining his significance to the band. Outside of his responsibilities to the Express, he is recorded as working at the drop-in store in Kumaka, a village near to Guyana’s northern coast and approximately 90km from Port Kaituma. It is feasible that Tommy would ride to Kumaka on the Cudjoe, which would have provided time for musical discussion with Clifford Gieg, the boat’s pilot who also served as one of the Express’ percussionists along with Lew Jones.

Peter Holmes Jr.

Born on 31st July 1932 in Memphis, Tennessee, Peter Holmes Junior was 46 years old in November 1978. It is believed that his role in the Express was trumpeter.

Like his bandmates, Peter worked during his time outside of the Express. He is recorded as working in three roles in the herbal kitchen, pathology lab and Counselling Team C. These positions put Peter into a position of some relative authority.

Counselling Team C fell under the purview of the Judiciary Committee, which was overseen by Ava Jones. This fell beyond the control of the Assistant Chief Administrative Officers, although Ava Jones filled the equivalent role in relation to counselling.

There was some interconnection between the counselling teams and the rest of the Judiciary Committee. When a person was ‘written up’ by another resident for offences like “stealing, fighting, talking negative about Dad, Mom, [the] cause, destroy[ing] property”, they would be referred to the counselling teams who would have the power to refer that offender to the Learning Crew or, where the seriousness of the infraction warranted it, to the People’s Rally.

In this context therefore, Peter Holmes Jr was a loyal Jones devotee; his role in the counselling team would have been dependent upon a greater degree of trust placed in him by the senior leadership. Despite this, it was Deanna Wilkinson and Shirley Hicks who both wrote up members of the band for infractions.

Donald Eugene Scheid Jr (aka Don Casanova)

Don Scheid was born on 22nd July 1961 and was 17 in November 1978. He is recorded as a microphone technician for the Express, and is perhaps most directly responsible for the existence of the performance recordings in the first place.

According to the Jonestown Roles Schedule, while also studying as a senior high school student, Don also maintained some duties on the radio, and is listed as responsible for  Q.S.O’s, which is International Radio Q Code for amateur radio contact.[11] He was therefore manning the radio, communicating with Temple stations in the U.S. by both making contact and replies when transmissions were received.

Additionally, Don was also the co-supervisor of the electronics shop and worked in the small shops department with responsibility for intercoms and speakers. This is of little surprise given that his occupation outside of the Temple (at least insofar as the Temple reported such information accurately) was that of telephone system technician. Don would therefore have been more than technically proficient to use the recording equipment available in Jonestown.

Don’s knowledge of electronics and telephony would have cemented his usefulness in Jonestown from his arrival on 28th April 1977, which explains the relative authority he enjoyed even at such a young age of 17.

This therefore raises the question as to why the quality of the recordings was so frequently poor. Scheid would have had the technical aptitude and knowledge to understand the basic principles of electronic recording, which is why the errors on those recordings are so surprising.

On a number of tracks the music sounds echoed — a problem which arises where the sound originating from a source bounces off a surface before being received by the microphone. On others, the volume drifts from too-high to too-low, as if the microphone were being panned across the stage. This would make some sense if the performances were being recorded for film, as the cameraman would want to move the camera to capture other elements of the scene, perhaps to the audience and back again, and in so doing would point the mic away from the sound source, but there is no evidence that this was the case.

There is evidence of a person, likely Scheid, giving lessons to others in how to use the technology on tape Q442 and it is probable that the poorer quality recordings were made by another person trained in the use of the technology but not to such a proficiency or with the same understanding that Scheid possessed.

Jerome Rhea Jr

Jerome was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 30th March 1952 and was 26 in November 1978. In the Express he played bass guitar and beyond that he also worked at the saw mill. He arrived in Guyana on 15th March 1978

In California he struck up a relationship with later Jonestown resident Patricia ‘Pat’ Ann Holley, with whom he had a daughter called Asha Rhea, who was born in San Francisco on 27th January 1977. Aged only 11 months, in December of 1977, Asha was taken to live in Jonestown with her mother while Jerome remained in the United States for a further four months, until he eventually joined them.

Kennard Wilhite

A Californian born on 25th August 1952, Kennard played rhythm guitar for the Express following his arrival into Guyana on 15th March, and was aged 26 in November of 1978.

Outside of the band, he worked as an insecticide sprayer, as well as undertaking general labour tasks for the Agricultural Department.

He was in a relationship at least since 1974 with Cheryl Wilhite (nee Gray), originally from Oakland California and 23 in November 1978. Between them they had two children, Janila and Kennard Junior (LaShea), who was born in Jonestown on 4th February 1978. The birth is referenced in Edith Roller’s journal when Kennard permits Jones to hold his child on the day of his birth.

Lew Eric Jones

Lew was one of three korean children Jim and Marceline Jones adopted as part of their effort to create a ‘rainbow family’. In an effort to present himself as a fully integrationist minister, Jim stated that “integration is a more personal thing with me now. It’s a question of my son’s future.”[12]

His date of birth is recorded as 23rd November 1956 and he was 21 in November 1978. He married his partner Mary Theresa Carter (informally known as Terry) and fathered a child, Chaeoke. All three sadly lost their lives in Jonestown.

For his part in the Express, Lew played the drums for the band. Outside of performances he worked in the bakery, and was on the internal security team for night shifts which presumably would have had some impact on his ability to perform regularly with the Express during Sunday night entertainment.

Oliver Morgan Jr.

Oliver Morgan Jr was born on 5th September 1949 in Los Angeles, California and arrived in Jonestown on 15th March 1978. He played horn for the Express, and outside of the band worked in both the Electrical Team and in the cassava mill.

He maintained a relationship with Lydia Morgan (nee Atkins), who travelled with him to Jonestown, where his former partner Betty Daniel was also resident with her two children, one of whom was Oliver’s son Marcus, who had been born prior to Betty joining the Temple in December 1970.

Oliver’s family have put forward an account suggesting that Oliver went to Guyana in order to secure Marcus’ return. This is not so far-fetched a theory, as similar action was contemplated by Betty’s own husband Steve Daniel, who wrote that in 1978 he had made “preparations to get my boys home” after discovering some of the more questionable activities reported from Jonestown by defectors, and also hearing about the investigations ongoing in the press and by certain US government agencies into the financial arrangements of the Peoples Temple.[13] Unfortunately little other information in relation to Oliver existed.

Clifford Gieg

Clifford Gieg was 16 when he travelled to Guyana to help build a utopia in the jungle in 1976. One of the few survivors of November 1978, Clifford passed away in October 2017.

Clifford played percussion for the Express and was one of the performers on November 17th 1978 for Senator Leo Ryan’s visit.

An adept carpenter, Clifford helped to manufacture the accommodations in Jonestown before being seconded as pilot of the Cudjoe, which necessitated long trips downriver to Kumaka, Georgetown and other locales around Guyana. In addition to this role, he is also recorded as having worked in the graphics shop and sawmill, as well as undertaking his high school education.

After the events of November 1978, Clifford returned to the United States and became a master cabinetmaker in Boise, Idaho.

Willie Malone and Bertha Cook

Willie and Bertha appear on Jonestown records as having some involvement with the Express, but the nature of their roles is unclear. None of the surviving documentary evidence points to either playing an instrument or performing, and there are no definite recordings of them playing or singing either with the band or alone. This being said, it is believed that Jonestown’s Moms Mabley, who features on Q219 and Q365, was performed by Bertha Cook.

Willie, who was born in Los Angeles on 14th November 1963, arrived in Guyana on 29th May 1978 and was 15 in November of that year. He worked in the Public Utility team, and was also a student in the Jonestown high school.

Because Willie was a student in her high school class, numerous entries are made about him in Edith Roller’s diary. She both praises and chastises him in her entries. From the first reference on 11th February 1978 she says that he “went awry on the Learning Crew”.

Entries relating to his poor behaviour continue until mid-March, when finally on March 30th she says that he now “shows a good attitude.” This is a far cry from only seven days prior, when she reports that he told her “he didn’t like school.”

The predominant theme in relation to Willie is that he is disruptive, but not opposed to learning or co-operating. He is reported to have been in a “supervisory position”[14] in his work outside of school, but despite the authority he was given continued to act out through thefts, cursing and shouting, yet always found himself forgiven. At a People’s Rally on 15th August 1978 Jones advised Willie that “it used to be necessary to be a gangster when he [Willie] was on the streets. It’s not necessary here [in Jonestown].”

Bertha Pearl Cook was born on 12th December 1912 in Pirot, Alabama; a Deep South segregation heartland. By the time she arrived in Jonestown on 10th August 1977, she had lived through four wars and the assassinations of both President Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr — shockwaves of the massive civil rights upheaval that had been taking place in the United States since before she had been born and which would span all of her life.

Such experiences would have made the Peoples Temple that much more appealing to Bertha, and in the Promised Land of Jonestown she no doubt hoped that she could finally rest in dignity and equality.

In the end, Bertha was assigned to several roles in Jonestown, indicating either an active lifestyle and a desire to work hard or a life of exhaustive overwork. She was a server, worked in the kitchen, nursed the young children, did sewing and tailoring, and was a member of Counselling Team C with Peter Holmes Junior.


[1] Thompson, A, A Tribute to Jonestown’s Singer (2009)

[2] Edith Roller Journal — 25th February 1978

[3] Edith Roller Journal — August 19 1978

[4] Edith Roller Journals — August 15th 1978

[5] Davenport, D. Life with the Cordells (2013)

[6] Davenport.

[7] Gilderbloom, J. Brian Bouquet: A Biographical Sketch (2020)

[8] Communities which were hostile to black communities and which practiced segregation. The origin of the name being that black people were not welcome ‘after sundown’.

[9] Edith Roller Journals: 10th March 1978

[10] Edith Roller Journals: 15th April 1978

[11] The definition of Q.S.O. according to the International Telecommunication Union civil series is a shorthand to query “Can you communicate with X directly or via relay?”

[12] American Experience. 2007. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. US: PBS. Retrieved June 20, 2020

[13] Daniel, S. Honouring My Duty to My family (2013)

[14] Edith Roller Journal: 13th June 1978

Originally posted on February 17th, 2021.

Last modified on July 3rd, 2021.
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