Photos Courtesy of California Historical Society, MSP 3800

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Last Name
Given Names
Ida May
Better known as
Date of Birth
Age at Death
Place of Birth
McGehee, Arkansas*
Family Tree
Birth Mother
Birth Father
Non-Temple Relatives
Body Identification Number
Burial Location
Remains claimed by next of kin; burial location unknown
Source of Death Information
House Foreign Affairs Committee report; FBI document 89-4286-1302 (prepared 12/78)
Entry into Guyana
Residence (US)
Los Angeles, California 90006
Residence (JT)
Not Known
Occupation in U.S./Skills, Talents & Interests
farmer, seamstress (PT occupation record)
Occupation in Jonestown (Temple Records)
Jonestown Roles (FBI Records)
Government Income
Some records say birthplace is Oklahoma; passport birthplace abovePT occupation list says middle name is "Mae"; passport name above
“Ida May Nichols, yet another single, devoid (as far as we know) of relatives, is the perfect cipher for a segment of our congregation I thought of as "the church ladies." Behind the veil of African-American religious traditions, Jim hid his revolutionary messages, only to infuse them as he would once in the trusted presence of rapt supporters. We (young and old) who inwardly spurned all religious affectations waited for our dose of political "dope" and enjoyed the organ, the pulse, the passion, the performance. We enjoyed their enjoyment, as long as there was a crumb of justification for our loyalty, unaware of how neatly we ourselves were subsumed into lockstep with hearing whatever, "because they needed it." A shoehorn used to good effect, in our organizational bubble. In Guyana, this mental device would eventually blind the most loyal (who fancied themselves "most aware") to the real message of Jim's loudspeaker-borne 24/7 fulminations against those "who wanted to leave" which leaped without pause to "supporting those who want to kill us and our precious children." Such words are heard liberally on transcriptions of Jones' "newscasts," punctuating his articles on world affairs. Of one of them, it was written, "Jim on radio reported the family has asked for an arrest order for Ida May Nichols, judge has issued it." [Edith Roller Journals, 4/6/78] Oh, to find that family now, and find out more about Ida, what and who she left behind when she was taken to Guyana in the "emergency evacuation" of August 1977. Until then, I assume she was just another one of our sweet seniors who wanted to go to church. But like the rings of Saturn, our positions & his orders guaranteed perfect synchronicity in her being trafficked and taken from life before her time. I am so sorry, Ida May, for all I did to enable and enforce the illusion that claimed you. May you always be remembered, and may your page be someday filled.” - Kathryn Barbour