Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

John Russell Coryell

                                                                                        John Russell Coryell
                                                                                              1851 - 1924

John Coryell was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and moved at an early age to New York City.  There, he met and married Abby Hedge, a native of Augusta, Maine, and they had four sons.  Coryell was a prolific writer of serial stories for the popular “dime novels” of the time, and created the Nick Carter detective series, which first appeared in New York Weekly in 1886. 

Coryell’s first stories to be published were about 1883 in St. Nicholas Magazine, with titles such as “The Midget sheep,” “Snow-Shoes and No Shoes” and “A Submarine Fire-Eater.”   Coryell was last published around 1923, when he was 77 years old, with the story “What Chance Has a Mere Husband Against a Poodle?” in Metropolitan Magazine.  At least once, his work was serialized.  The story “Sold to the Devil” was presented in the last four 1922 monthly issues of Midnight.

The family removed to Mount Vernon, Maine between 1910 and 1911, where Coryell continued writing his stories.  The farm was located on what is now the North Road, near the intersection with Church Road, where his descendants still maintain the homestead.  The first son, Harold, died early.  Second son, Roland, became an osteopath in New York City, and the youngest two sons followed in the tradition of their father.  Hubert was a prolific writer of children’s stories, as well as an educator in the State of Hawaii.  Last son, Russell, like his father, wrote stories for the dime novels.                                      


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