John Vinton Clayton (b. 1890)
was said to be a talented artist. He was also
plucky. He wanted to see Mr. Bluebeard
enough to go alone to the Iroquois Theater the
afternoon of December 30, 1903.
His body was later found at Rolston's funeral
home, identified by his uncle,
Fred W. Clayton (1859- ? ).
John went by his middle name,
Vinton, probably to distinguish between he and his
father, who was also named John. The Clayton
family lived at 535 Morse Avenue in
the Rogers Park area of
the Field elementary school
7019 North Ashland Blvd, the same school
attended by another Iroquois victim,
Field school, named for Chicago
journalist and poet, Eugene
Field, was built in 1890 to service
students kindergarten through grade eight.
One of 939 students in 1903, Vinton was
probably in the seventh grade.
was the only child of John Middleton
) and Thomassetta (or Thomaszetta) Virginia "Zetta"
Parisoe Clayton (1866-1955
), who had married in 1889.
The 1900 US Census reported
that John Clayton Sr worked in "Gents
meaning neckties, hats, etc. He remained in
retail sales throughout his life. As of 1903
he was successful enough to own his home
on Morse Avenue.
lists published two to
days after the fire included among the victims a
Charles Barlow Clayton
at 1722 Wabash, and he was buried
five days after the fire, but his
name was not included in the coroner's inquest list.
Perhaps he died but was not at the Iroquois Theater.
When her boy's death was
feared, Zetta called her sister in Urbana, Illinois,
Louise Shuck (1864-1952). Louise boarded a
train for Chicago the next morning. She was
married to Vinton W. Shuck, presumably the namesake
for Zetta's son. Louise had an eleven-year-old
son of her own, also her only child, so would have
keenly understood Zetta's grief. They were the
Indiana-born daughters of Louis ( ? -1901) and Laura
Price Parisoe ( ? -1938). Louis, a machinist,
was French Canadian and Laura was from Ohio.
The family resided in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area
in the 1880s but later moved to Danville, Illinois.
John M. Clayton Sr was one of
six children born to Gilbert and Catherine Miller
Clayton. In choosing a career in retail sales,
John followed in the path of his father.
John and Zetta moved to
Los Angeles in the late 1910s, where John worked as
a manager at a furniture store. By 1930 he was
a floor manager in a department store. Zetta's
sister, Louise, moved west too. Zetta outlived
both her husband and sister.