Futrelle, who was born in Pike County, Georgia, worked for the Atlanta Journal, where he began their sports section; the New York Herald; the Boston Post; and the Boston American, where, in 1905, his Thinking Machine character first appeared in a serialized version of The Problem of Cell 13 . In 1895, he married fellow writer Lily May Peel, with whom he had two children, Virginia and Jacques John Jr.
He was sent to the Pike County school, but was also taught at home by his father who taught him French among other things. The legend goes that the family was of French Huguenot descent but the name was in fact Futrell, and therefore English. According to his grandson Robert, he was born John Futrell. Here is a link which references a Futrell-Heath marriage. He adopted the name Jacques Futrelle as a literary pseudonym.
In 1895 he married Lily May Peel who was also a writer and with whom he would have two children, Virginia and John Jr (who later called himself Jacques.) The family first lived in Scituate, Massachusetts (where he had a house built, called i‘Stepping Stones ’ which overlooked the harbour). Although the family frequenltly moved, Futrelle kept r‘Stepping Stones>’ where he spent most of his time until his death. Futrelle, who was always interested in science and technology, was the first person to own a automobile in Scituate.
Futrellel’s fascination with technology probably accounts for his interest in the RMS Titanic, which he boarded on April 10th, after celebrating with friends in London what was to be his last birthday. The party ended late, but Jacques Futrelle and Lily May managed to reach Southampton on time to board the ship. His wife later regretted the fact that Futrelle never drank to excess since, had he been drunk that night, the couple would never have managed to reach the RMS Titanic in time for boarding.