Born in New York, Carryl became a second-generation successful businessman; and a stockbroker, who for 34 years starting in 1874 held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1869 he married Mary Wetmore. Their elder child was the poet and humorist Guy Wetmore Carryl. In 1882 Charles E. Carryl published his first work: Stock Exchange Primer.
His poem "The Walloping Window Blind" has been put to music and (with the addition of a chorus) used as the text for the verses of a song variously named "Capital Ship", "Blow, Ye Winds, Heigh-Ho", and "The Walloping Window-Blind". It was called "Capital Ship" by Bounding Main on their 2005 album Lost at Sea.