Thirty-six-year-old Hattie D. Gale Persinger (b.1865, Nebraska) and her nine year old
son Hewitt Persinger (b.1893) lost their lives in
1903 at the Iroquois Theater. Hattie's nephew, John
William Harrison, identified Hewitt's body and
Hattie was identified by her clothing.
Their bodies were cremated and the ashes returned to
was a student at the Alcott School. Another
Iroquois victim was also a student there,
Hattie may have been the former Mary H. Gale, daughter of
George F. Gale, a physician, and Vestra R. Gale. If
so, she had a sister named Clara and a brother
named Fred....or, Hattie may have been the daughter of school
teacher Nathan H. Gale and Elsa A. Dawson Gale, with
a sister named Alice Gale.
They were the wife and child of Franklin Moses
Persinger (1858-1925) of
Shelby County, Ohio, married in
1884. Franklin was
a tailor doing business as Persinger & Co. in the
Phelan building in San Francisco. The climate in San
Francisco had disagreed with Hattie so she and their
three children, Irma E. Persinger (b.1884), Gladys
Gale Persinger (1883-1953) and Hewitt moved to
Chicago where they lived at 50 Florence Ave.
Franklin's older brother, Holland Raper Persinger
(1852-1925), and his mother, Mary Mariah Irvin
Persinger (1817-1905), lived with Hattie and her
daughters, as did Hattie's nephew and niece, John
William Harrison (b. 1861, Virginia) and Clara E.
Harrison (b.1863, Indiana).
In the 1900 census John and Clara were identified as
Hattie's nephew and niece but as married to one
another since 1898. Clara worked in a railway
office. By 1910 John and Clara Harrison were living
in New Trier, Illinois and had a son named Clyde
Harrison (b.1901). John worked as an insurance
adjuster for street car claims.
Hattie was from Vermont, as were her parents. Her
daughters, Gladys and Irma, were born in Nebraska
and her son, Hewitt, in San Francisco. Hattie and
Frank married in Nebraska Oct, 1882.
At the time of the Iroquois Theater
fire, Hattie's daughters, Gladys and Irma, were in
school. By 1910, in their mid twenties, they were
living in Brooklyn, California with their father.
Irma worked as a clerk at American Express and
Gladys kept house. The girls and their father were
registered republicans, living at 1350 Pine St. Ten
years later, at age thirty-five, Irma was living on her own.
In the years
after the fire
Thirteen years after the fire Frank was still in the
tailoring business in San Francisco and his brother
Holland had joined him. Holland was working as an
editor for a travel magazine. At various times in
his life Holland published a magazine and worked as
an editor for several newspapers and magazines in
Illinois, Iowa and California.
At age thirty, Gladys was still keeping house for her
father, on Page St. in San Francisco, but in 1927,
at age thirty-seven, she married
fifty-year-old Phillip G. May
from Germany (b.1876), a first time marriage for
both. Phillips was a retired machinist. They rented
a home in the early years of the marriage but by the
time of their deaths had purchased property in
Saratoga or Monte Sereno, California, thereby
qualifying to purchase burial plots in the Madronia
Cemetery in Saratoga, CA. When Gladys died in 1853
she had been living in Santa Clara, CA and was
buried as Gladys G. May. Phillip joined her in 1955.
Discrepancies and addendum
Most of Frank Persinger's family was born in the
Xenia, Ohio area. There were seven children in
addition to Franklin and Holland: William Irvin
Persinger (1835-1927), Newton Reid Persinger
(1838-1925), Rachelle Annette "Nellie" Kious
Persinger (b.1842), Amos Clark Persinger (b. 1840),
Clarissa J. Persinger Fisher (b.1846), John Milton Persinger (b. 1849) and George Cloys Persinger (b.1855). Their father, a Virginian was named John
Milton Persinger (1810-1897). John and Mary are
buried in Buck Creek/Little Hollywood Cemetery in
Tippecanoe County, Indiana.