O. Henry was born William Sydney Porter in Greenboro, North Carolina. His father, Algernon Sidney Porter, was a physician. When William was three, his mother died, and he was raised by his parental grandmother and paternal aunt. William was an avid reader, but at the age of fifteen he left school, and then worked in a drug store and on a Texas ranch. He continued to Houston, where he had a number of jobs, including that of bank clerk. After moving in 1882 to Texas, he worked on a ranch in LaSalle County for two years. In 1887, he married Athol Estes Roach; they had one daughter and one son (who died shortly after birth).
In 1894, Porter started a humorous weekly The Rolling Stone. When the weekly failed, he joined the Houston Post as a reporter and columnist. In 1894, cash was found to have gone missing from the First National Bank in Austin, where Porter had worked as a bank teller. When he was called back to Austin to stand trial, Porter fled to Honduras. While holed up in a Tegucigalpa hotel for several months, he wrote Cabbages and Kings, in which he coined the term "banana republic" to describe the country, subsequently used to describe almost any small, unstable tropical nation in Latin America. +/-