James B. Hendryx – Cowboy, Prospector, Gambler, Writer, Rancher


Today, 9th December, is the birthday of James B. Hendryx, who was the author of the Halfaday Creek series of stories (starring Corporal Downey of the Mounties and Black John Smith) as well as the Connie Morgan series for boys. I highly recommend the Halfaday Creek stories, some of which can be read online at PulpGen. They are comic stories of justice among criminals.

His life was pretty interesting, too. I came across these biographies of him online, and thought i’d share them with you.
Biography for James B. Hendryx @ IMDB (by John F. Barlow)
Biographical article at HalfadayCreek.com, an online site dedicated to James B. Hendryx
Another biographical article at HalfadayCreek.com

A recent article on James B. Hendryx from the Leelanau Enterprise (the newspaper of the town Hendryx stayed in)

In addition, here’s an answer from him to the question: Why do you live in Michigan? I think it gives a picture of the kind of character he was.

Why do I live in Northern Michigan? Well – why not? After knocking about through many of the states of the Union, and a good bit of Canada, I have come to the conclusion that Northern Michigan offers fewer drawbacks, and a greater number of advantages than any locality which has been my fortune, or misfortune, to have visited.

The entire South may be considered undesirable as a place of permanent residence, for the same reason that Hades would be undesirable as a place of permanent residence. The Central States, forming as they do, the core of the Union, may be treated as a core, and tossed aside. Which leaves only the northern tier for serious consideration. New England may be dismissed with the simple statement that I do not choose to live in New England. New York, teeming with editors, is to be avoided; as is Pennsylvania on account of the poor fishing. Senator Walsh and his investigating committee ruined the hunting in Ohio when they drove all the game the state had to offer into deep cover.

The stench from the Indiana political sewer renders that state unfit for the raising of wholesome children. With Chicago in the north, and Herrin in the south Illinois is no more conducive to longevity or the peaceful productivity of fiction than any other active battlefield would be. Minnesota would be a good old state – but I lived in it for over twenty years. North Dakota has the Non-Partisan league. And when winter comes to Montana, believe me, it is a place to be avoided, even by brass monkeys! Washington, Oregon and Idaho offer excellent hunting and fishing, but the outlay during nearly six months of the year, in rubber boots and umbrellas, is a serious drain on the wallet.

California is a place to visit – not to live in, continued residence producing that peculiar form of insanity which causes one to boast of three hundred and sixty-seven days of sunshine per annum – no matter how much it rains. I note that I forgot Wisconsin – but since Mr. Volstead kicked the fame out under from Milwaukee, one could hardly be expected to live in Wisconsin from choice.

Therefore, having good fishing and hunting within easy access, good schools for the children, good folks to associate with, a climate that is delightful the year round, and a firm conviction that the rest of the United States is unfit for human habitation, I live in Northern Michigan. 

Links to a sampler of his stories (All stories in the Halfaday Creek/Corporal Downey series, and courtesy PulpGen):

Black John thinks fast
Corporal Downey cracks a case
Corporal Downey calls the tune
Black John Invokes the Gods
Dry Rot
The Man With the Glass Eye
Finger Prints
A Man Hires a Guide

1 comment

  1. Thanks for the links to the online biographies. They give an excellent portrait of Hendryx. I've read many a story by him, mainly in SHORT STORIES. A fine adventure writer who made a very good living working for the pulps.

    I believe Altus Press will be reprinting much of his fiction.

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