Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hyacinth Thrash.

November 24, 1978, UPI - Beaver County (Pa.) Times, page A-10, Terror: Survivors recall havoc of Jonestown,
November 24, 1978, St. Petersburg Times - AP, page A-6, Survivor tells of awakening to find a haven of death, by Peter Arnett, AP Special Correspondent,
November 24, 1978, Milwaukee Sentinel – AP, page A-25, Woman Slept Through Guyana Suicides,
November 28, 1978, Reading Eagle - AP, Survivors Due in U.S.,
November 30, 1978, AP - Washington Post, Elderly Cultists leave Guyana, by George Esper,
November 30, 1978, AP - Nashua Telegraph, page 3, Jonestown Survivors In U.S., by Denise M. Holt, AP Writer,
November 30, 1978, AP - Observer-Reporter [Washington, PA] page D-5, Massacre Survivors Scared, Some Ill,
November 30, 1978, AP - The Lakeland Ledger, page 7C, Elderly Survivors Back From Jonestown,
December 1, 1978, AP – Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Page 4-A, More Guyana Survivors Reported, N.Y. Times News Service,
December 1, 1978, UPI- Plattsburgh Press-Republican, page 15, 76-year-old cultist slept through ordeal,
December 1, 1978, UPI – Sarasota Herald-Tribune, page 10-A, Cult Survivor Returns, But Has Little To Say, by Douglas Dowie,
December 1, 1978, UPI- The Daily Collegian, page 13, Suicide survivors meet families,
April 15, 1979, Beaver County (Pa.) Times, Jonestown survivor remembers, by Dennis McCarthy, Copley News Service,
November 17, 1979, The Montreal Gazette, page 24, Life After Jim Jones, Survivors build a new life from chaos of the past, by Ronald Yates,
August 2, 1982, Indianapolis News, p 1, c 3., Hyacinth Thrash, survivor of Jonestown massacre, recalls,
July 7, 1985, Indianapolis Star, Sec. B p 1, c 5., Hyacinth Thrash, only survivor who remained in camp of People's Temple mass suicide in Guyana, tells her story,
November 18, 1988, Chicago Tribune, Survivor: A Decade After Jonestown Horrified The World, An 86-year-old Woman Struggles Each Day With Her Memories, by Wes Smith, [Blog]
November 18, 1988, New York Times, Ghost of Jonestown Haunts Survivor, November 19, 1988, The Indianapolis Recorder, A day of horror; Could it happen again: 912 dead at Jonestown, by Hedy Y. Reeves and Eunice Trotter, [Blog]
November 22, 1995, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, page 6-B, Obituary, Catherine Hyacinth Wallace Thrash,
September 2002, Indianapolis Monthly, pages 146-47,
November 18, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle, JONESTOWN / 25 Years Later / How spiritual journey ended in destruction / Jim Jones led his flock to death in jungle, by Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer,
November 19, 1988, The Indianapolis Recorder, A day of horror; Could it happen again: 912 dead at Jonestown, by Hedy Y. Reeves and Eunice Trotter,
June 2, 2005, World Socialist Web Site, Fatal stumble in the jungle, by Richard Adams,
November 12, 2008, CNN News, Survivors of the Jonestown tragedy,
November 15, 2008, The Herald Bulletin, Jonestown: Left alone to wait, by Rodney Richey, Herald Bulletin Staff Writer,

The Onliest One Alive: A Reconsideration of the First Survivor Account , by Sylvia Marciniak,

A Hyacinth by any of her other names smells just as sweet.

Mrs. Edwards-Wallace-Thrash can turn a folksy Ebonics off and on as fast as a jailbird when the warden enters the yard, and she knows how to give off good moue (a small grimace; or a pout, from the Old French moe, as if you're about to smell something unpleasant.)

Can she get up out of her wheelchair and Walk! Praise Jesus! when it's her turn as a medical shill--- pulling rancid chicken-livers out of her ass. Here she works the runway, where the cameras are, for a closeup, although she's far too weak to make comments and help out the madly curious world.

She had snootfuls of relatives greeting her arrival on the West Coast, she but knows when to give herself over to her white overseers, as here, where she serves as a humble contrast to the Glengarry plaid of a three-piece suit (that lady looks more like a lesbian prosecutor than a social worker.)

November 22, 1995, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, page 6-B, Obituary, Catherine Hyacinth Wallace Thrash,


Elderly Jonestown Survivor
Elderly survivors of the Jonestown mass suicide return to San Francisco, saying nothing out of fear.
Stock Photo ID: U1946962
Date Photographed: November 30, 1978
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Credit: © Bettmann/CORBIS

Unnamed by CORBIS, but named by NBC News

MARIANNE CAMPBELL IS ESCORTED BY WELFARE WORKERS FROM TERMINAL?________________________________________________________________________________
  • Owner: NBC News
  • Clip Name: 5112574069_s02
  • Date: 11/29/78
  • Production Unit: TDY
  • Media Type: AS
  • Media ID: T781130
  • Ardome ID: 1100100616453282422
  • Hit Time: 00:07:07
  • Duration: 00:01:30;00
  • Location: San Francisco; Los Angeles;California
  • Era: 1970s
  • Personalities: Davis, Grover; Brooks, Madeline; Campbell, Marianne; Thrash, Hyacinth
  • Comments: Acc #: 41432; Edited; Reviewer: AJB; Created By: DHS;
  • Long Description:

seven jonestown survivors arrive in us - NBC Universal Archives‎

The Onliest One Alive, Surviving Jonestown, by Catherine Hyacinth Thrash as told to Marian K. Towne, [self-published: 1995]

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown, by Julia Scheeres

p. 246, Hyacinth Thrash received $4,351: Thrash, The onliest One Alive, 134.
p. 246, Jackie Speier received $360,000: Moore, A Sympathetic History, 354.
p. 247, she used the money to bury her sister: Thrash, The onliest One Alive, 123.
p. 247 she heard Zip call her name: Thrash, The onliest One Alive, 128
p. 247 he took advantage of unschooled blacks: Thrash, The onliest One Alive, 132
p. 247 she sang gospel music aloud to lift her spirits: Thrash, The onliest One Alive, 132
p. 247 she attended the services of a healing evangelist: Thrash, The onliest One Alive, 131

November 17, 2008, Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University reflects 30 years after Jonestown massacre, by Ben Phelps,
Infamous Jim Jones, who ordered a mass suicide in 1978, was a former student on Bloomington, Indianapolis campuses,
An IDS article from Oct. 5, 1989, explains a movie made about a Jonestown survivor Hyacinth Thrash.
"His strong preaching style, along with forms of blackmail, gave Jones control over people's lives," Thrash said in the movie. "He took everything. Our money, our homes, our minds and eventually our lives."

Thrash/Edwards Family Tree - Jonestown‎

Zip for the Zipper


September 2002, Indianapolis Monthly pages 146-47,


Hearing the Voice of Jonestown, by Mary M. Maaga, page 6,

November 18, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle, Jonestown / 25 Years Later / How spiritual journey ended in destruction / Jim Jones led his flock to death in jungle, by Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer,

Hyacinth Thrash (right), shown in 1983, was the only person found alive in Jonestown. Others members had fled into the jungles. (Photo by Robert Coalson, courtesy of Marian Towne)

Grover Cleveland Davis
Birth: 1900, USA
Death: 1979, USA
He survived the events on November 18, 1978 in Jonestown, Guyana by sleeping through the entire event. He and Hyacinth Thrash were the only two survivors who slept through the whole tragedy. He was 79 years old at the time of the event.
Created by: Natalia Danesi
Record added: Nov 10, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31277499
Grover Cleveland Davis, Temple survivor (January 17, 1993, in Bellevue, Washington)

Find a Grave
Catherine Hyacinth "Hyacinth" EdwardsThrash,

Shelby County
Alabama, USA

Nov. 21, 1995
Marion County
Indiana, USA

She was one of the early converts who followed Rev. James Warren Jones to California and then on to Guyana. She survived Jonestown on November 18, 1978 by first hiding under her bed. She and her sister joined Peoples Temple in Indianapolis in 1957, but in the months leading up to November 18, 1978, she saw troubling changes in Jones and his church. What had begun in Indiana as an enlightened, racially integrated Christian ministry in the 1950s had turned into an armed camp of fear, brutality and paranoia deep in the South American jungle. She was living in a cottage she shared in Jonestown with three other older women. One of her roommates told her that something had happened at the Port Kaituma airstrip, where the congressman from California was taking off with some temple defectors. She hid under the bed and didn't wake up until the next morning. "When I got outside," she said in an interview before she died, "it was like a ghost town. I didn't see or hear anybody. I went over to another senior citizen building where my friend Birdy lived. When I got to the door, I saw Birdy sitting in the chair, draped in a sheet. I could tell it was Birdy by her shoes. I say, 'Birdy, Birdy, what's wrong?' " "But she didn't move . . .I looked down the row of beds, and all the people were either sitting up or laying in bed. They were all covered with sheets." "I said, 'Oh, God, they came and they killed them all, and I's the onliest one alive! Why didn't they take me, too?' "I started screaming. I thought maybe I was dead, too. I pinched myself. Was I alive? I couldn't believe it. I just stood there." She was not the only one alive. Grover Cleveland Davis also survived. A few Peoples Temple members had fled into the jungle and escaped the murder-suicide ritual, but she was the only survivor who was there when Guyana troops came to Jonestown more than a day later. She eventually returned to Indianapolis, where she died in 1995 at the age of 93. Before her death, she told her story to a local writer, Marian Towne, in hours of taped interviews. To her dying day, she credited Jones with curing her of breast cancer in the late 1950s. She spent her final years in the Mount Zion Nursing Home.

Memorial services held in the house of representatives and senate of the United States, together with remarks presented in eulogy of Leo J. Ryan, late a representative from California. Ninety-sixth congress, first session. [Hardcover] 1979

Jonestown - GuyanaWiki‎

Hyacinth Thrash, 76, hid under her bed when nurses were going through her dormitory with cups of poison. Odell Rhodes, 36, a Jonestown teacher and ...

Charles Harrity/AP

November 28, 1978, Reading Eagle - AP, Survivors Due in U.S.,


November 30, 1978, AP - Washington Post, Elderly Cultists leave Guyana, by George Esper,


December 1, 1978, AP – Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Page 4-A, More Guyana Survivors Reported, N.Y. Times News Service,

The Central Intelligence Agency relayed the first word to Washington that there had been a mass suicide. In the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, survivors reached the Guyanese Army-Police post at Matthews Ridge, a few miles from the camp with the story of the deaths.
This is wrong. The eleven people who fled through the jungle were pretending to go on a picnic, a la - before lunch. See: November 12, 2008, CNN News, Survivors of the Jonestown tragedy,
See: for the absurdity of there being no radio communication between Port Kaituma and Georgetown. Port Kaituma had its own constabulary if not military presence. (In the 1960's it had a school with 800 students.)

November 30, 1978, The Spokesman-Review - AP, page 2, Seven cult survivors return,


The Jonestown Death Tape (FBI No. Q 042) (November 18, 1978)

December 1, 1978, UPI- The Daily Collegian, page 13, Suicide survivors meet families,

November 18, 1988, Chicago Tribune, Survivor: A Decade After Jonestown Horrified The World, An 86-year-old Woman Struggles Each Day With Her Memories, by Wes Smith,

Lately, it has been on her mind a lot, she said, persistent, frightening images that bedevil an elderly woman in a wheelchair in a church-owned nursing home in Indianapolis.

Flashes of jungle and death. Her sister prone on the ground outside a pavilion. Hundreds of other bodies, infants, children, teenagers, men and women. Hypodermic needles in the jungle grass.

"I try not to think about nothin'," she said. "Here lately it has been on my mind quite a bit, and I try my best not to think about it. It`s water over the bridge . . . nothing I can do about it. . . ."

Hyacinth Thrash was born in 1902 and grew up in Alabama. She and her sister Zipporah, or "Zip," moved North looking for a better life when they came of age. They went to Indianapolis and settled into the tiny niche of opportunity then available for uneducated black women.

It was not much, but the Thrash sisters knew how to live on not much. They worked as maids, elevator operators, seamstresses. They grew and canned their own foods and made their own clothes.

They looked to God for the daily inspiration to continue, but there were not a lot of churches in Indianapolis back then that welcomed blacks. At one time, the town had welcomed the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1957 they found a church on television in a local broadcast by a local minister, Rev. Jim Jones, from Lynn, Ind. His church was called the People's Temple. He was a white man backed by a black choir.

Jones often spoke of "we blacks" and claimed falsely that he was of mixed parentage. He and his wife, Marceline, had adopted children of mixed race, including Asians and blacks. He conducted services in a former synagogue and sold monkeys as pets door to door to raise money for his ministry.

And he appealed to people such as the Thrash sisters, poor but willing to give.

"He was trying to do things that the Bible said was right," Hyacinth Thrash recalled.

"He was a nice man going all out for blacks, helping them in different ways and trying to integrate things that wasn`t integrated."

When a local barber refused to serve a black man while cutting Jones' hair, the minister got up and walked out with half a haircut, Thrash said.

When a local restaurant refused to serve a black man at the counter, Jones took his plate out to the curb and sat with the man.

And when a local hospital treated blacks only in its basement, Jones moved his hospital bed down to the basement with them.

"He made them move all the people up," Thrash said. "He helped us all get good jobs, and he tried to get all the churches around to unite."

Jones' desegregation efforts won him the loyalty and support of many Indianapolis blacks, among them the Thrash sisters. He also acquired political power and clout in the early 1960s as chairman of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission, appointed to heal old racial wounds.

He healed his followers, too, Hyacinth Thrash said. A young girl received a new kidney through his prayers, she said.

She benefited, too, from his powers, she said. In 1963, when the doctors told Thrash that she had breast cancer, Jones had his congregation of about 1,000 pray for her on a Sunday night, "and it was gone by Wednesday.

"The doctors said it was a miraculous thing. They asked me where it went, and I said, 'Do you believe in divine healing?' They laughed. But they didn't say anything else about it."

Although he had a strong following among those whose rights he championed, Jones also inspired enemies. After threats of bombings at churches he visited, he moved to open fields.

Indianapolis eventually became too hostile for Jones, at least in his mind, so in 1965 he told his followers that he would move to the coastal city of Redwood Valley, Calif., in Mendocino County about 90 miles north of San Francisco. Jones claimed to have a hiding place safe from racists and nuclear war there.

Thrash's sister Zip and about 70 other families from the Indianapolis congregation quickly followed. Hyacinth, a skeptic at heart, held back leaving the home she had labored to own.

"But I finally went because my sister kept after me to go. Redwood Valley was a beautiful place," she said. "We bought our own ranch house and almost had our own little town."

By this time, the Thrash sisters had turned over all of their finances and possessions to their minister and also had agreed to tithe their Social Security checks and other assets to his church, Hyacinth said.

"Everything he asked for, we gave him," she said. "Sometimes you do things that you never think you would do."

Jones built a redwood chapel in Redwood Valley that was paid for by his followers' donations and by their wages earned in the surrounding orchards. As his influence spread in the area, he acquired political power. He became chairman of the Mendocino County grand jury in 1966 by judicial appointment.

He also founded churches in San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1971. He focused on San Francisco, where he resumed his desegregation efforts and again established political muscle by charming liberal politicians with his 80 percent black congregation.

Membership in his church reached 20,000 in California by the early '70s, and his church had 13 buses used to transport large groups on short notice to demonstrations or political rallies that Jones supported.

After helping George Moscone, who later would be murdered in City Hall, win the mayoral election by a slim margin, Jones was rewarded with the job of heading the San Francisco city housing authority.

In 1977 Jones came under attack in magazine and newspaper articles detailing his ever-increasing financial empire and alleged beatings of church members. Among those holdings were 27,000 acres in the jungle of Guyana.

"He said he wanted to go and work with the Guyanese," Thrash said. "He said they had just gotten their freedom from Great Britain, and he wanted to help them for a few years and then come back and build a big care home for all of us.

"I knew I would retire soon, and we thought that was nice," she said.

"We was brainwashed, too. We just all followed him out there. You know how people get excited and things. . . ."

Hyae it at all."

When she and her sister arrived in Georgetown around midnight, the rain was falling like they had never seen it come down in Alabama, Indianapolis or California. Zip cried.

They were taken from Georgetown to Jonestown by river boat, a journey of 11 hours, and then a 2-hour ride in the bed of a dump truck through the jungle. Their journey ended at the doorstep of a thatched house elevated on blocks. It leaked.

The jungle seemed to grow up through the clouds, clamping a lid on their lives. The sister prayed and praised the Lord. It was not their way to complain.

A cottage was built for the sisters and two other elderly women, one of whom had suffered a stroke.

They raised hogs and chickens that were butchered and sold or fed to others. Sweet potatoes, bananas and other fruits grew around them in abundance, but they rarely were given anything so substantial to eat. Meals were brought to the four women, who were generally isolated. They were not allowed in the mess hall with the others. White rice and gravy for breakfast was their best meal.

Hyacinth began to suspect that Jones was trying to starve the old folks, she said.

One of the women who visited them from the camp, and washed Hyacinth's hair for her, told the women she had seen something disturbing one day and made them promise not to tell anyone if she told them. They promised.

"'I saw a big thing of cyanide,' she said," Hyacinth recalled.

Hyacinth suggested that maybe it was meant to poison the rats that attacked the camp from the jungle.

"She said maybe so," Thrash said. "One time after that, I told the same woman that I was gonna have to get some new rubber tips for my walker, and she said, 'You may not need them.'"

"I said, 'Why not? I'm not gonna get healed.'"

"And she didn't say any more."

On another ominous occasion, one evening after they had enjoyed a stew, Jones told them that they had just eaten a mercenary who had come to attack them but had been shot.

The women were unsure if it was a joke.

Their cottage was on a hill overlooking Jones' living quarters, and the women came to realize that Jones and his inner circle were eating fresh-baked goods and big meals. Their leader also had a fan and air conditioner that were greatly coveted by his suffering congregation, she recalled. Her skin peeled from the heat.

They could also see that their "Father," as he called himself, was attended to by nurses who sometimes wore only bikini tops and bottoms. Hyacinth became disgusted at their minister's preoccupation with sex.

"I realized after about half a year that things had gone haywire," she said. "I quit going to church meetings because they was just sex meetings. I quit going, and he didn't even send for me.

"I got sick of him talking about sex. They had nights when they had the homosexuals talk about their sex and then the lesbians talk about their sex. I thought 'Boy, oh, boy.'

"Anybody would get fed up with that, but there wasn't any way we could leave."

Their minister of 20 years, the man they had given everything and followed across the world, had given up on God, she said.

When the toilet paper ran out, Jones told the women to use pages from the Bible. Hyacinth Thrash refused to follow such blasphemy.

Jones began preaching about threats from the outside and suicide. He conducted a "Kool-Aid drill," she said, that made the old women in the cottage laugh.

The day U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan of San Francisco came, Hyacinth saw his plane overhead but did not go down with the others to meet him. Zip and the other two women did. Zip came back and said the congressman seemed satisfied that no one wanted to leave, until one woman stepped forward and stirred up a "hornet's nest."

The congressman said any who wanted to leave could go with him on the plane. He said he would come back for those who could not get on the plane now, Zip told her sister.

As Zip r to the point that Hyacinth had quit confiding her fears, for fear that Zip would squeal to Jones.

Hyacinth stayed behind. "I wouldn't go. I said I wasn't going and I meant it. I was through with him that night. If someone had knocked me in the head . . . I wasn't afraid," she said.

When she heard shots, Hyacinth hid beneath her bed. She later would learn that the congressman and four others had been killed when Jones' followers opened fire at the airport as members tried to leave with Ryan.

"They were calling for one woman I knew, and I thought she had probably run away. I got scared and went underneath the bed until it all ceased. I didn't hear but one shot. I thought they were trying to scare her to come. . . ."

She was weary, so she came out from hiding and climbed in her bed, which was behind the cottage door. She slept until 7 the next morning.

"I guess they started killing about 7 in the night," she said.

She rose in the morning and used her cane to get down to the pavilion in search of her sister.

"The first people I saw were Guyanese boys at the pavilion. They were combing the jungle. I walked with my cane between the two boys. I don't know how I felt or what I thought. I was just blank.

"I walked around there pinching myself to see whether I was walking around alive or dead.

"I seen my sister right away. She was lying outside the pavilion with the others. I saw needles everywhere. I didn't go inside the pavilion, but I seen them on the ground there.

"It's something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime."

She has collected her memories in an as-told-to book with writer Marian K. Towne, but no publisher has taken an interest in it, she said. She has given up on it.

She would just as soon rid her mind of it altogether. But that has proved difficult.

The angels camped around her to deliver her from the fate that befell Jones and more than 900 others who committed suicide or were forced to drink or be injected with cyanide-laced fruit juice at the People's Temple in Jonestown 10 years ago, Hyacinth Thrash said.

"I used to always say, and I say now, that God is a good God, and if you follow God like you should, he won't let you get into anything like that. He will let you have some warning.

"The devil is so busy, he can get you doing wrong when you think you are if he is right or wrong, and God does.

"I don't think I would ever go wrong again."

November 19, 1988, The Indianapolis Recorder, A day of horror; Could it happen again: 912 dead at Jonestown, by Hedy Y. Reeves and Eunice Trotter,

Jim Jones called it an act of revolutionary suicide for 912 People's Temple members---most of them African-American and many of them from Indianapolis---to kill themselves in the jungles of Guyana, South America 10 years ago this week.

Hyacinth Thrash called it an act of God that she slept through the mass deaths and survived to tell the world that it could happen again.

When she awoke the morning after, she found that hundreds had drank a cyanide-laced drink or were shot. Bodies of men, women and children, bloated from the searing heat, were stacked one on the other. That day, Nov. 18, 1978, would go down in history with Jones compared to Adolph Hitler.

Now in an Indianapolis nursing home, 86-year-old Mrs. Thrash reflected back on those years of her life when she was a member of People's Temple, which was founded in Indianapolis in the 1950s.

"You heard about how he used to help black people. He was a good man," she told The Indianapolis Recorder. And according to many, Jones did start out doing good by providing healthcare treatment and feeding programs for the poor.

African-American people were so convinced that Jones was a "white soul brother" who fought for African-Americans, they bestowed upon him numerous awards and accolades. African-American publishers gave htm the National Newspaper Publishers Association's first Freedom of the Press Award. In 1961, Jones was named executive director of the Indianapolis Human Rights Commission. He was appointed by then-Mayor Charles Boswell. on the recommendations of Superior Court Judge Mercer Mance, who chaired the commission's personnel committee.

"White folks hated him," said Mrs. Thrash, remembering the times when Jones took his congregation to white churches to integrate them. It was an era when racial tensions in Indianapolis ran high. Jones attempted to break down racial barriers and segregation. "He wanted to do something big."

Mrs. Thrash remembers one incident when Jones was a patient at Methodist Hospital and refused to remain on an all-white ward. He went to the hospital's basement and climbed into a bed on the ward for "colored" people, desegregating that ward.

Jones went to a restaurant with an African-American man. The: restaurant refused to serve Jones' colleague, so they ate their meals on the sidewalk, outside of the restaurant.

It was this seemingly deep commitment to winning rights for African-Americans in Indianapolis that attracted Hyacinth Thrash and her sister, Zipporah Edwards, to his fold.

Mrs. Thrash had been a member of another church whose minister died. A new minister was hired. But the new minister made so many demands on the congregation that Mrs. Thrash left the church. "That man wanted too much," she said.

Her sister had already joined People's Temple and encouraged her


Continued From Page 1A

to do the same. It wasn't hard, considering that Mrs. Thrash and her sister were raised in Alabama, remembering the stories of African- American people being despised and lynched.

Mrs. Thrash believed Jones had "power," not only to stop racism, but also to heal the sick and see things of the future. Jones predicted that there would be a race war and a nuclear holocaust.

It was this kind of talk that convinced Mrs. Thrash, who moved to Redwood Valley in Ukiah, Calif., with the church in 1965, to go on to Guyana.

"I thought it was going to be like a retirement home. You know. One big happy family." But it was more like a prison, with drugged guards carrying automatic weapons, dense jungles all around as far as you could see, hard labor and a crazed Jones, who by then was called "Dad."

Jones' first church was all-white, located on" the city's Southside. He later became ordained by the Disciples of Christ Church, locating his churches first at 15th and New Jersey and later to 10th and Delaware. He was known as a "niggerlover." With some prodding from Jones' associate ministers, about 145 Indianapolis residents left the city, escaping what he told them was an impending racial holocaust here. While all names of those who left with him may never be known, some of the families included the Archie Ijames family; Opal Worley and her daughters, Faith and Theresa; the Cordells, Jack Beam, the Wades, the Beikmans, the Addisons, Vicky Moore, Mickie Johnson, the Cobb family, Ann McCoy; Deanna Wilkerson Moten, Esther Mueller, Dorath Hindman and the Touchette family.

It is believed that 37 Hoosiers died and eight survived the killings and mass suicides in Guyana, triggered when Congressman Leo Ryan attempted to leave the settlement called Jonestown by locals after a fact-finding mission with People's Temple defectors.

Hundreds of persons remain unidentified, buried in a mass grave, it is believed Jones was shot in the head, although rumors persisted (even today) that Jones is alive, just waiting to strike back at his enemies.

After arriving in Guyana, Mrs. Thrash found the conditions "were terrible. That sun burned you up. We had plenty to eat. We planted two crops, but he sold some down the river...till the government stopped him."

"By then he had quit his wife and taken on one of his nurses. Said we were going to Russia..."

Mrs. Thrash said people were afraid to talk to one another, for fear that someone would tell Jones of something one had said.

"There were plenty of punishments, too. If anyone crossed Jim, they had to pay. One time a colored woman had talked about Jim to another lady and of course this lady went back and told him about it.

"Well, he made that woman strip nude and walk up and down the pavilion where he had meetings, in front of some 900 people. She was 59 or 60 years old."

Acting as enforcers were "doped up guards," said Mrs. Thrash.

"They were like mad dogs," protecting Jones anytime be was among his followers. They also guarded the settlement, keeping locals out and members in.

On the day Congressman Ryan arrived to investigate, Mrs. Thrash said she stayed in her cottage. I never did see Ryan. My sister went, but I didn't."

When some decided to leave the settlement with Jones, he became enraged. That was when he decided that the group would actually commit suicide, after having practiced suicide drills he called "White Nights" on several other occasions.

Guards were ordered to round up members. Mothers were ordered to give the fatal cyanide mixture to their babies. Those who refused were forced at gunpoint. Many were shot. Tapes confiscated by the government recorded Jones begging women not to alarm their babies and encouraging members to kiss and hug each other good-bye. There were sounds of screaming and crying.

"And I slept through the whole thing. Fifteen people died on both sides of my cottage. My door was wide open and I was asleep and slept through it all. God only knows why the guards didn't check my cottage," said Mrs. Thrash.

"After I woke up about 6 a.m. that fateful Sunday morning to get my breakfast, I didn't hear anyone, so I though, "Oh-oh. Jim must have kept the people out all night again," said Mrs. Thrash.

"Then I started seeing all the bloated and deformed dead bodies. It was a horrible sight, to see the people I knew dead," she says. I didn't want to look at all the dead babies and children, who, just the other day were laughing and playing with each other. I saw my sister laying along side another dead person...this made me angry and has filled my heart with bitterness and hatred."

Asked if it could happen again, Mrs. Thrash responded quickly that it could. "I think this kind of thing could happen again because cults are still present and somebody is always going to go with them," she said.

Her advice to African-Americans is to "see themselves as others see them...they ought to see themselves real well. They need getup and energy...If they know what I know, they'd be so close to the Lord it wouldn't be funny."


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