Minnie Pearl Plant Mills
Married in 1898, Pearl and Ward Mills had not yet
started a family when Pearl died at the Iroquois.
Both were teachers in Chicago public schools, Pearl
at the James Wadsworth school and Ward at the Armour
Institute of Technology and the South Division High
School. Ward taught geology and natural sciences.
Minnie Pearl Plant Mills (b. 1872) was thirty-two
years old at her death. She graduated from the
Muskegon, Michigan high school and was still taking
classes at the University of Chicago. Iowa native
Ward Magoon Mills (1865-) received his Bachelor of
Science from the University of Chicago in 1901.
Pearl was the daughter of Henry E. Plant and Jennie
Clark Plant of Crockery, Michigan. She was buried in
Nunicia, Michigan at the Nunica cemetery. In
1893, at age twenty one, Pearl and one of her
sisters packed supplies and guns then set out from
Muskegon, Michigan to walk to the Worlds Fair in
Chicago, a 200-mile journey.
Ward Mill’s twenty year old sister Isabella Mills
(b.1883) also died at the Iroquois. Isabella lived
with her parents, Henry S. Mills (1837-) and
Elizabeth G. Mills (1839-), and older sister, Dora
H. Mills (1882). Henry was a native of Ohio and
Elizabeth of Scotland. Henry was a book publisher
who immigrated to America in 1851. Elizabeth Mills
gave birth to eight children but by 1900 only four
survived, making Isabella the fifth child she lost.
Also in the party, and a fellow teacher with Pearl
Mills at the Wadsworth school, was twenty-five year
old Mary Julia Brewster (b. 1878), who went by her
middle name. Julia lived at 116 E. 31st street
with her father and stepmother,
Leonard Hilton Brewster (1852-1915) and
Sarah Emma Swan Brewster (1867-), and younger sister, Violet Garfield
Violet were the daughters of Leonard and his first
wife, Mary Lavina Tapscott
(1859-1883). Mary died
when Violet and
Julia were three and five years old.
Leonard remarried but it was a
short lived marriage and a decade before the fire he
married Sarah. Violet married two months
before the Iroquois Theater fire.
Leonard identified Julia's body.
James Wadsworth school
The James Wadsworth school where Pearl Mills and
Mary Brewster were teachers was located on Lexington
Avenue near 64th Street in Chicago’s 6th district.
After the fire
Ward Mills married Kate Charlton in 1905 and took a
teaching job in Marquette, Michigan. By 1911
the pair had moved to Los Angels and his wife was
granted a divorce, citing desertion. She asserted he
told her to go home to her mother after becoming
involved with another woman, a prosperous realtor.
In 1920 Ward was still teaching school and reported
his status as married but his wife did not live with
him. I didn’t find evidence of another marriage.
Julia Brewster's father moved
back to Battle Creek and her sister and husband
(Robert T. Alexander) moved to Nebraska.