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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 9 December 1880Sauk Centre, Minnesota, USA
Date of Death 2 March 1963Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Birth NameJames Beardsley Hendryx

Mini Bio (1)

James Beardsley Hendryx was born on 9 December, 1880, at Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the son of Charles F. Hendryx (1847-1935) and Fanny Galt Taylor (1848-1930). His father, who owned and published the Sauk Centre Herald, was thought to be the last surviving member of the first graduating class at Cornell University. His mother was a grand-daughter of US President William Henry Harrison and a first cousin to President Benjamin Harrison.

As a boy Hendryx liked to hunt and fish, often with his good friend Claude Lewis (1878-1957). Claude, who later became a well-known surgeon, had a younger brother everybody called Red. Red would sometimes make a nuisance of himself by wanting to tag along with the two older boys. Red Sinclair, better known to us as Sinclair Lewis, went on to become Sauk Centre's most famous son. When once asked by Claude what was the difference between his writing and Sinclair's, Hendryx replied "The difference is that Red gets a dollar a word, and I get a penny a word."

Hendryx left the University of Minnesota after a year's attendance. Of his college experience Hendryx wrote "Attended public school for a vast number of years during which I learned to fish, hunt and trap, then entered the University of Minnesota where I absorbed so much of the curriculum that even yet fragments of it work to the surface and have to be carefully removed."

Before turning to writing fiction, Hendryx had worked as a newspaper reporter, hardware salesman, life insurance agent, purchasing agent for a leather tannery, helped run levels for a survey crew and bookkeeper for a sheep-shearing plant. His longest continuous job was at the tannery in Kentucky. "I stayed there 53 weeks," Hendryx once wrote, "and to this day that remains my record for holding a steady job." His career as a newspaper reporter on the Cincinnati American was cut short after he clandestinely inserted the headline "Jenkins Jerked to Jesus at Joilet" on a column he wrote about a hanging he was sent to witness. The editor (his father) thought it inappropriate and felt it better if he left.

Hendryx had also worked as a cowboy on cattle ranches in Montana and later Saskatchewan. While in Montana Hendryx became acquainted with the outlaw Kid Curry and his brother Lonny. Later he could not bring himself to join a posse intent on capturing the brothers. Around 1898 Hendryx and a friend trekked their way north to seek their fortunes in the Yukon Gold Rush. Soon he was back working as a cowboy on ranches in the western United States.

On 27 October, 1915, not long after his first novel, "The Promise", was published, Hendryx married Hermione Flagler (1888-1967) in Cincinnati, Ohio. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, she was the daughter of Edgar Henry Flagler and Jessie Hill. Over the next six years Hendryx and his wife would have three children, Hermione F. (1918), James Jr. (1919) and Betty H. (1921).

James B. Hendryx wrote around seventy novel and hundreds of short stories. His favorite settings were the Canadian and Alaskan wilderness. He repeatedly returned to plot lines concerning the Klondike Gold Rush. Best known of which are, the Black John Smith of Halfaday Creek series, published in 6 novels and 13 anthologies and his 8 Connie Morgan novels. By the 1920s Hendryx's writings were earning him around $45,000 annually, a fair sum for the day. In 3 May, 1956 Hendryx received national attention when he was chosen to appear on This Is Your Life (1952) with Ralph Edwards.

James Beardsley Hendryx died on 1 March, 1963, after an eight month stay at Munson Hospital in Traverse City, Michigan. He was survived by his wife and children. He had remained an avid fisherman and hunter for most of his life. For a number of years he operated a ranch in the Badlands of Wyoming and maintained a cabin near Thessalon, Ontario. It was said of Hendryx that he was as tough as his characters, yet with a great sense of humor, gentle manner and that he really experienced the things he wrote about.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: John F. Barlow

Spouse (1)

Hermione Flagler (1915 - 1963) (his death) (3 children)

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