Henry was born on January 1, 1885, in Reading, Pennsylvania to unknown parents. He left school after completing the 6th grade. He moved to South Carolina in his 20s, and found work as a House Painter. He served as a Private, and later Sergeant, during World War I. He signed up on May 29, 1917. He spent a year fighting in France, before the war ended on November 11, 1918. He was honorably discharged on June 19, 1919. He married Ella O'Brien in the early 1920s. They had at least 4 sons and 3 daughters, including Robert in 1928. He returned to his previous job as a House Painter in Charleston. He died on January 29, 1944 - exactly 4 weeks after his 59th birthday. His wife outlived him by 46 years.