The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg


Mark Twain

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg can help.

The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg Characters

Edward Richards

Edward Richards is the cashier at Hadleyburg’s local bank. Edward is one of the town’s well-respected nineteen citizens, though—like the other Nineteeners—he is dishonest and easily corruptible. His wife, Mary Richards, is the one… (read full character analysis)

Mary Richards

Mary Richards is Edward Richards’s wife. She belongs to one of Hadleyburg’s nineteen well-respected families. Like the others Nineteeners, though, Mary is dishonest and fails to uphold her ethical integrity when the stranger comes… (read full character analysis)

The Stranger (Howard Stephenson)

The stranger is a “bitter” and “revengeful” man who is deeply offended by something while passing through the town of Hadleyburg. Incensed about the way he has been treated, the stranger brainstorms ways to take… (read full character analysis)

Reverend Burgess

Reverend Burgess is a reverend in Hadleyburg who, for reasons Twain doesn’t disclose, has been disgraced by the townspeople. Edward Richards reveals to Mary early in the story that Burgess has a soft spot for… (read full character analysis)

Barclay Goodson

Barclay Goodson is the only man in Hadleyburg with a true sense of morality and kindness. When the stranger appears in town and says that somebody once lent him twenty dollars, the townspeople immediately assume… (read full character analysis)
Get the entire The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg LitChart as a printable PDF.
The man that corrupted hadleyburg.pdf.medium

Deacon Billson

One of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners. When Reverend Burgess reads the notes submitted by the Nineteeners (who submit these pieces of paper in order to win the sack of gold), Billson’s is the first one to… (read full character analysis)

Lawyer Wilson

One of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners. When Reverend Burgess calls Billson’s name during the town hall meeting, Wilson mishears him, so he also stands up to accept the sack of gold. Confusion ensues as Wilson… (read full character analysis)

The Tanner

A loud and vocal man who attends the town hall meeting and criticizes the Nineteeners for their dishonesty. The Tanner secretly wishes that he were one of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners, so he is delighted at the… (read full character analysis)

Mr. Cox

One of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners. Mr. Cox is the “editor-proprietor” of the local newspaper. When Edward Richards rushes out into the night to spread word of the stranger’s mysterious sack of gold, he finds… (read full character analysis)

Nancy Hewitt

A young woman who was engaged to marry Barclay Goodson. Just before their union, though, Nancy died. When the stranger privately writes to Edward Richards and tricks him into thinking Barclay Goodson would have… (read full character analysis)

“Dr.” Harkness

One of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners, and one of the two richest men in town. Harkness is running a political race against the other wealthiest man, Pinkerton. When the stranger wins the sack of lead coins… (read full character analysis)


One of Hadleyburg’s Nineteeners, and one of the two richest men in town. Running for a political seat against Harkness, Pinkerton loses the election because Harkness—the other richest man in town—buys the infamous lead… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Jack Halliday
A resident of Hadleyburg, who stands in for the viewpoint of the rest of the town. He both thinks that the Nineteeners are somewhat silly, and believes in the general virtue of the town.