Thirteen-year-old 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- ).
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
Vinton attended the Field elementary school
7019 North Ashland Blvd, the same school attended by another
Taylor, another Morse Avenue
resident. The 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
) 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 Furnishings,"
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.
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.