O. Henry (pseudonym for William Sydney Porter) was born on September 11, 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina. O. Henry became famous for his many short stories (some 600 in all), which include: "The Last of the Troubadours," "The Gift of the Magi," and "The Ransom of Red Chief."
Read more about his life and works with this brief chronology...
1862 O. Henry was born at "Worth Place", a plantation in Guilford County near Greensboro, North Carolina.
1865 His mother, Mrs. Algernon Sidney Porter (Mary Virginia Swaim), died from consumption. O. Henry moved to his grandmother's house with his father.
1867 O. Henry attended the the private elementary school of his aunt, Evelina Porter ("Miss Lina").
1876 He graduated his aunt's school with highest honors, and enrolled in Linsey Street High School, located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
1879 O. Henry went to work as a bookkeeper at his Uncle Clark's store, W. C. Porter and Company Drug Store.
1881 He became a licensed pharmacist in North Carolina.
1882 O. Henry moved to La Salle County, Texas, where he worked as sheep herder and ranch hand for Lee and Richard Hall.
1884 He moved to Austin, Texas, where he worked as a pharmacist at the Morley Brothers Drug Store.
1887 O. Henry worked as a draftsman at the Texas Land Office. That year, he also married Athol Estes, stepdaughter of Mr. P. G. Roach.
1889 His daughter, Margaret Worth Porter, was born.
1890 O. Henry's grandmother, Ruth Worth Porter, died.
1891 He began working at First National Bank of Austin.
1894 O. Henry began publishing "The Rolling Stone." He was accused of embezzling funds, which led to his resignation from the bank.
1895 He moved to Houston, Texas, and began writing the "Some Postscripts" column for the "Houston Post."
1896 O. Henry was arrested on charges of embezzlement. He was released on bond with a trial date of July 7. However, he skipped town on July 6th, traveling first to New Orleans and then to Honduras.
1897 He returned to face the embezzlement charges in Austin, Texas, when he learned that his wife, Athol, was dying. His wife died on July 25, and she was buried in the Oakwood Cemetary.
1898 O. Henry continued to write articles while he waited for his appeal. His appeal was rejected, and he was found guilty of embezzlement. On April 25, he was imprisoned at the Ohio State Penitentiary. He put his time in prison to good use, publishing "The Miracle of Lava Canyon" in September of that year (his publisher was S. S. McClure Company).
1904 "Cabbages and Kings," a collection of stories, was published. The book became a bestseller.
1907 He married Sarah Lindsey Coleman, who had been his childhood sweetheart, in Ashville, North Carolina. "Heart of the West," a collection of stories, was published.
1907 "The Voice of the City," a collection of stories, was published.
1909 "Options" and "Roads of Destiny" were published.
1910 "Whirligigs" and "Strictly Business" were published. O. Henry died a poor man on June 5, 1910. Alcoholism and ill health are believed to have been factors in his death. Funeral services were held at a church in New York City, and he was buried in Ashville, North Carolina.