Notes on Jones years in Indianapolis

BB-18-Z-75 – Z-81

Free Kitchen

The ” Free Kitchen” or restaurant opened on February 24, 1960. On the very first day 18 people were fed; the second day 100 were fed. During the first month alone an average of 2800 meals were served. Mrs. Archie Ijames, one of the workers at the free kitchen said that as time went on the people form lines 3 and four people wide. Children who had not even so much as a diaper given warm milk and food. Probably the only food that they had had in days. The People’s Temple restaurant under the direction of Pastor Jim Jones that hundreds of needy children in Indianapolis, Indiana at 975 N. Delaware Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.

[Accompanying photo]

[Notes from which above account was written]

Free Rest:

Clothing, grocery, commissary. People could get any kind of food they wanted.

Welfare sent people there because PT would get them jobs.

Other “Free Rest” would make people pray for an hour, work before they’d get a meal. – These groups resented PC free kitchen because they didn’t.

People were lined up at 7:30 AM to lunch –

All kinds of people –

Would sometimes be almost frozen to death.

Free Rest. Located in the basement of church – people in church – well-dressed etc. – would complain because smell of cooking foods would drift upwards – threatened to quit the church if didn’t stop feeding the people. Said it “was a house of God & they didn’t want it stinking from cabbage.”

[photos of “Rev. James Jones on opening day at the Restaurant” and “Mrs. Libbie Timmons on opening day, she helped out at restaurant 3 months, moved to Ohio”]

[top half of page of memories of Rev. Archie Ijames covered by file folder]

He don’t want to talk about the restaurant. We were now at 7:30 PM, we waited until 12:30 AM. I told him I would wait as long as he wanted. Suddenly he began to ask questions. I told him I wanted him to help me in rest. Finly [Finally] he promised to come 1 hr a day 5 days a week. The first day he stayed about 2 hrs, each day a little longer then I knew everything would work out all right.

[photos of “Mrs. Marceline Jones on opening day at the restaurant”; “Mrs. Rheavianna Beam on opening day work at restaurant for 1 hour, took off for 1 hour to care for new baby girl”; “Mrs. Chaenice Mutschman, Mrs. Evans on opening day. Ladies cook for the restaurant first 8 months”]

[photos of “Russell and Cinda Harris”; “Mrs. Denis Smithey Harris children he brought”]

The People’s Temple pre-restaurant on March 20, 1960. Parents of children are Robert and Shirley Harris. They refused to take children home, they said they didn’t want to live together or make a home for their children. They first left Cinda 8 mo. old. Next day they brought Russell to me and gave them to me and Rev. Ijames told us to take good care of them. I was unable to take care for the children since I was expecting a new one. Some friends of ours came from Huntington, Indiana. They fell in love with the children. The children lived [with] them. They took them with them to stay I don’t know where. Mrs. Harris lives – Mrs. Harris was sent to Central.

July 25, 1961, Welfare awarded the children to Rev. & Mrs. Dave Smittley, Huntington, Box 344, Indiana.

[3 pages of pictures taken at free restaurant]



BB-18-Z-101 – Z-104

JJ 7/17/73


Executive Director of Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights

29 years old –

At that time PT at 10th & Delaware in Indianapolis (founded six years before).

No salary from ministerial work.

Church – 2 nursing homes – extensive free meals, grocery & clothing service

Graduated from Butler Univ.

In first 2 weeks as director, Jim integrated 3 local restaurants. To offset owners’ fears than because of integration, they would lose customers, Jim got dozens of friends & church members to eat at those restaurants.


Obscene phone calls, hate letters, threats.

Several people who publicly suggested integration receive threatening or racist letters w/ J. name forged.

  1. refused to get unlisted #”because I might be cut off from someone who would need me.”

Physical abuse: tires slashed – Woman spat on Marcy as she carried J.J.Jr. [Jim Jones Jr.] to doctor’s office.

Stones constantly thrown through windows so often the church could no longer ensure building against glass breakage.

Dynamite found in churches coal pile.

Swastikas painted on door.

Chased down railroad tracks – tore clothes off.

Shot at him, stoned him.

Women had to be escorted to work by dog or by men & dog both, because it got so bad.

Threw Molotov cocktails at house – hit the dog. He went out there… (Add details)

Killed animals – skinned cats alive – beat his dogs

Threw garbage, crap etc. through windows.

Ground glass in food.


1) When got out of car – stabbed him in shoulder

2) “X” on chest.

Work for integration:

Indian[apolis] Methodist Hosp[ital]

Wouldn’t sit down or rest in terrible pain until hospital integrated. Walk up & down halls, demanding they move beds. – Was integrated within 24 hours.

Boycott restaurant: heard made blacks come in through back door. JJ hit the ceiling – finally forced to integrate – church held a “sit-in dinner.”



BB-18-Z-108 – Z-109



Established orphanage – bought children first shoes – orphans ate out of garbage pails – a caste system, out on the street at 7 [years old] as beggars, mostly. Jim got children decent food, make sure all were well fed. Made clothes & provided all necessities.

[Illegible abbreviation] orphanage started: Jim had [illegible word], felt he had to go to top of a certain hill nearby. When there w/ some others (Who?) & found 6 young children standing around their dead mother. Oldest child was 9 years old. All they owned was one rooster under a box. Crying & shivering. These were the 1st children in the orphanage.

1st mo.: 1300 children died on streets from epidemic of gastroenteritis & shishkamosis (a parasite which intersect feet & kills)

No sanitation.


BB-18-Z-110 – Z-112

Adoption – Mary Tschetter

When I attended PT Apostolic Church on Delaware Street in Indianapolis, JJ made it possible for us to adopt a Korean orphan who has been a precious member in our family for many years since that time.

Kim Uneida [Kim Yoon Ai] was one of several Korean children who were adopted in 1960.

A fund was established by members of the congregation to pay the costs of transporting the children here and the legal fees arising. When in a family wanted to adopt a child, the church would place the child in their home, using this fund. The program was financed by church dinners, collections and revenues from a church operated cleaning agency.

Jim Jones set the example for this “lesson in religion” two years before when he and his wife adopted Eun Ok Kyung (Suzanne) and Pac Chi Oak (Lew Eric).

[Remaining pages are notes upon which this narrative is based]


BB-18-Z-113 – Z-116

[Editorial note: Abbreviated words in this document have been spelled out.]

Nursing Homes,

2137 Alabama St., Ind, Ind.

College Ave.–

Hospital will refer most helpless cases to him because he would always take them.

Would take people without money and give first-class care.

People in other nursing homes p.o. by this.

Totally integrated.

Beautiful meals – all they could eat –

fresh fruits & vegetables – best of meats – steak.

Everything cooked fresh.

Linen completely changed – at least once a day. Complete bed bath every day.

Patients clothes kept ironed.

RN on every shift

6 aides for 24 people

Aides – best paid in the city. $2 per hour at a time when others were getting $0.75 – $1.00

would help aides out – interested in employees. One time I personally paid costs of divorce for one aide who had been brutalized by her husband. Went to court for her to testify. Helped pay their bills etc.

No one ever knew the paying patients from the nonpaying patients. Everyone treated exactly the same.

Individual care – treated patients like part of family – aides encouraged to talk with patients, play chess, etc.

all kinds of activities for patients

birthday, Christmas – gifts, cakes, parties

flower gardens –

everything kept spotless.

Didn’t take the easy way out – most expensive foods, etc.

Other nursing home directors asked him: “How can you afford to do this?”

Jim said, “Well, we’re not making a profit. We’re here to serve people, not to serve ourselves.”

Would arrange for old men and women who were friends to be together: sensitive to older people as people.

Indiana: Nursing homes

(JimLuMar Co.)

Esther Muller [Mueller]:

“One incident that stands out in my mind was when Jim was in Los Angeles, and he called me in Indiana at the (church) nursing home where I was preparing the meals. He said that his plane was about to leave, but told me that he had had an intuition (insight?) and that I should take a tray of food with me when I went upstairs. I made a tray of food, & took it upstairs, not knowing what the need was, but knowing that he had a reason for this because his “intuitions” had never been wrong. When I went upstairs, I found a little old woman sitting on the floor crying because she had stilled her food on the floor and she thought she would get anymore. You should’ve seen her face light up with pleasure & gratitude when I gave her the tray…”

13 years lived in ghetto.