The Wills of Jim Jones and Marceline Jones
 
 

In early August 1977, Jim Jones and Marceline Jones redrafted their wills. The language in the documents is virtually identical, but they are handwritten by each of the two.

 

The will of James Warren Jones reads:

 

This is my will. I revoke all prior wills and codicils made by me. I am married to Marceline Mae Jones and I have the following children: Timothy Glen Jones [also known as Timothy Tupper]; Stephan G. Jones; Jim W. Jones Jr; Lew Eric Jones; John Moss Jones; Agnes Pauline Jones; & Suzanne O. Jones. To my son John Moss Jones, provided that he survives my death by six months, I give 10% (ten) percent of my estate. To those of my wife and children (except for Agnes Pauline Jones and Suzanne O. Jones [Cartmell] [brackets in original]), who survive my death by six months, I give equal portions of the remainder of my estate. I have intentionally omitted to make any provision for my daughters Suzanne and Agnes. In the event that none of the above for whom I made provision survive my death by six months, then I give my estate to the Communist Party USA. I appoint my attorney Charles Garry as my executor to serve without bond.

 

Signed on this Saturday the 6th day of August in the year 1977.

 

The will of Marceline Mae Jones reads:

 

This is my will. I revoke all prior wills and codicils made by me. I am married to James Warren Jones and I have the following children: Timothy Glen Jones; Stephan G. Jones; Jim W. Jones Jr; Lew Eric Jones; John Moss Jones; Agnes Pauline Jones; & Suzanne O. Jones. To my son John Moss Jones, provided that he survives my death by six months, I give 10% (ten) percent of my estate. To those of my husband and children (except for Agnes Pauline Jones and Suzanne O. Jones [Cartmell] [brackets in original]), who survive my death by six months, I give equal portions of the remainder of my estate. I have intentionally omitted to make any provision for my daughters Suzanne and Agnes. In the event that none of the above for whom I made provision survive my death by six months, then I give my estate to the Communist Party USA. I appoint my attorney Charles Garry as my executor to serve without bond.

 

Signed on this Monday the 8th day of August in the year 1977 in San Francisco, Calif..

 

The dates of the wills are significant. A week before, New West Magazine had published “Inside Peoples Temple,” an article by Marshall Kilduff and Phil Tracy based principally upon interviews with disaffected former members. Peoples Temple had known that the article – which was critical of both the Temple and Jim Jones – was in the works, and had attempted to stop or at least delay its publication. Within a few days, the mass migration to Guyana began in earnest, and Jim Jones himself left the United States, never to return. Signing his will was one of his final acts before departing for Jonestown.

 

Both wills disinherit Jim and Marceline’s two adopted daughters. The reasons for purposefully omitting Suzanne Jones are clear. Adopted as a six-year-old girl from Korea in 1959, she had married Mike Cartmell, left the Temple, and – like her husband – was eventually considered an enemy of the Temple. She was not spoken of often in Jonestown, but when her name did come up, it was with anger and a sense of betrayal.

 

The decision to leave out Agnes Jones is more problematic. Adopted at age 11 in 1954, Agnes was the oldest of the Jones children. She had expressed discontent with the church on numerous occasions – leaving and rejoining several times as an adult – and her parents might have felt they could not trust her. Nevertheless, on the dates these wills were signed, Agnes’ husband and four children, ranging in age from 16 to 6, were already in Jonestown, and Agnes herself left the U.S. for Guyana less than a week later. All six members of the family died on November 18.

 

            Will of James Warren Jones, RYMUR 89-4286-B-1-K-2, pp. a-b

Will of Marceline Mae Jones, RYMUR 89-4286-B-1-K-5, pp. a-b

 

 
Back to Primary Sources Back to the Top Back to San Francisco and Los Angeles, California – 1972-1977



 
Spacer
Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple
Leaf
Leaf
Spacer