The son of Miriam Marks and Benjamin Nones, Henry Benjamin Nones was born and raised in Philadelphia, among a brood of thirteen Nones children. His father had fought with the Patriots in the Revolutionary War, serving under the Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington and achieving the rank of major. Although Benjamin never made a great success financially, he was politically active and believer in Jeffersonian republicanism, and his political and military commitments were passed on to his children. Henry’s brother Joseph served in the Navy and worked as private secretary to Henry Clay at the negotiations of the Treaty of Ghent; his brother Abraham enjoyed a distinguished diplomatic career. Benjamin served for years in the United States Revenue Marine, the precursor to the Coast Guard. HE achieved the rank of captain and fought the Mexican American War. He married Anna Nones, and they had none children. His work meant they often had to move, living for periods in New York, Virginia, Maine and Delaware.