O. Henry (1862-1910) was originally born William Sydney Porter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
As a young man, he moved to Austin, Texas where he worked as a bank teller. He moved again to Houston, Texas in 1895 and became a newspaper columnist
In 1896, however, he was called back to Austin, where he was charged with embezzling money from the bank where he had worked. Not wanting to go to prison for his crime, O. Henry fled to Honduras, and stayed there for six months before returning to the United States.
Upon his return, the court tried him and put him in an Ohio prison for three years. While in prison, he began writing short stories and it is there that he took the pen name O. Henry for his writings.
After his release from prison in 1901, he moved to New York, which is the setting for many of his stories. He is the author of over 250 stories and is most famous for his use of surprise or 'twist' endings. Notice the twists and surprises in the endings to "The Last Leaf", "The Green Door", and perhaps his most famous story, "The Gift of the Magi".