John Merrick is an eccentric multi-millionaire. Among other philanthropic projects, he is the support and guardian of his three teenage nieces, Louise Merrick, Patsy Doyle, and Elizabeth De Graf.


Now an elderly man, John Merrick is short, somewhat rotund, and unprepossessing in appearance; his smooth-shaven wrinkled face sometimes bears a shrewd expression. He sometimes "dresses down" in worn old clothes, and can be mistaken for a hobo or transient.


John Merrick was the eldest of the five Merrick siblings. He began his career as a common tinsmith, and traveled West to make his fortune; he soon lost contact with his brother and sisters. Over years and decades he became a major success, accumulating a fortune of eighty million dollars in the tin-plating industry.

Late in life he returned to the East to look into his family, to see if any of his relatives survived. He disguised his wealth with a common appearance. Merrick discovered a new generation of his family, in the persons of his three nieces; he became devoted to their welfare, as they did to him. (Aunt Jane's Nieces)

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