Forty-eight year old school teacher, Melissa
“Millie” J. Crocker, a forty-two-year-old family friend,
Belle Pierce, and Belle’s only child, ten-year-old Gretchun / Gretchen Pierce, died at the Iroquois
Theater fire on December 30, 1903.
Canadian-born Millie Crocker (b.1852) immigrated to
America with her family when she was a year old. In
1903 she was teaching at Chicago’s Oakland school
and living with a younger sister and her family –
Florence Crocker Cook (1870-), George Cook (1863)
and their two young children. A successful hardware
dealer, George owned his home on Lake Street and
employed a servant. He was the person who identified
Isabel and Florence’s widowed mother,
Isabel Crocker (1828-), also lived with the Cook family.
Isabel, an 1840 Scottish immigrant, bore
thirteen children, of which eight survived in 1900.
She and her husband seem to have moved to Canada for a
time in the early 1850s.
Millie’s funeral was held at George’s home at 3830
Lake Avenue and burial was in Princeton, Illinois.
Another of Millie’s sisters lived just a couple
blocks away. Miriam Crocker B. Carter (1868-),
married to Raymond B. Carter (1867-). Over the 1903
holiday Raymond Carter’s sister and niece came to
visit from their home in Plainwell, Michigan. They
were Della Carter Pierce (b. 1861) and Gretchun
Pierce (b. 1893), wife and daughter of Dr. Lyston
Hull Druett Pierce (1861-1930). Nothing is known
about the funerals or burial location for Della and
Gretchun. Lyston remarried in 1905, had another
child and moved to Pensacola, Florida.
The Oakland elementary school was located at 40th
street and Cottage Grove Ave. Three of the
Dwight, Donald and Helen Hull, were also
Iroquois Theater fire victims.