George M. Oakley and his wife
survived the Iroquois Theater party – which is
contrary to some newspapers in the first week after
the fire that confused the name Oakley with the
Oakey family of three that died.
Of that much, I am sure, but
it gets murky thereafter. I know George
previously lived in Iowa but failed to learn where
he lived in 1903. The remark in the 1904
Marion Pilot about them being former Marion
residents sent me searching Chicago city
directories, in vain. I think they instead
moved away from Marion and were living elsewhere in
A single man named George M.
Oakley (1871-1951) lived in Marion, Iowa in 1900
with his older sister, Ada Oakley Gill, and her
husband, Charles E. Gill. In March of 1903, in
Cedar Rapids, he married Minnie Grieshober
(1883-1953). The pair went on to have a half dozen
children but in December of 1903 possibly his bride
Minnie was lithe enough, and George young enough,
for him to carry her through the mayhem at the
Iroquois Theater as described.
Curiously, at only
twenty-six years of age, doing "odd jobs" and
carpentry for a living, George owned their home in
Marion on 12th street. Home ownership was not
at all common in the early 1900s and it is unlikely
he had time enough to save enough to buy property.
An inheritance perhaps.